K-19: The Widowmaker

In my last post, I asked you if your IT organization was prepared for a disaster. What made me think of writing that post was because I watched a movie  a few weeks ago starring Harrison Ford (remember him in Star Wars?) and Liam Neesen (also in one of the later Star Wars episodes).

The movie was K-19: The Widowmaker based on actual events that took place in 1961. In the movie, the Russians wanted to launch their first nuclear  submarine and conduct a rocket launch test. The Captain of K-19 (Liam Neesen playing the part of Captain Mikhail Polenin) refused the aggressive time line being asked to execute the event due to his concern for the safety of his crew.

Harrison Ford plays the part of Captain Alexei Vostrikov, a loyal party member who is assigned the job and becomes Senior Captain of the K-19 submarine.

To make a long story short, the nuclear sub is launched and the rocket test is completed , , , but the interesting part I picked up in the movie that ties to IT management and my last Blog post, Are you prepared for a disaster,  is what takes place on their voyage to the rocket test destination.

The new Captain is a hard nosed and experienced sailor. He knows there are many things that can go wrong on a submarine, so he starts testing the crew for their ability to deal with adversity. Things like:

  • Fire drills
  • Missile drills
  • Flood drills

By doing this he puts tremendous stress on the crew and officers, , , but it also prepares them for what is to come, , , a disaster in the nuclear reactor that poses a potential nuclear explosion in the worst case or radiation exposure to the entire crew.

The end result is that the submarine crew loses several crew members in dealing with the radiation leak and many more die upon their return to base in the months to come. The senior officer is actually heralded for his bravery and the first nuclear submarine launch and rocket firing test, but he is also brought before court martial for the deaths of his sailors.

Had the crew not been forced to practice their mock-up disasters, it is quite possible the entire crew would have lost their lives. Captain Polenin (Harrison Ford) focused on insuring his crew could recover from a disaster they might encounter, , , these drills helped the crew be more prepared when the real disaster occurred.

Have you tested your crew for potential disaster and do you know how they will react? Better to find out now before the real event happens.

One response to “K-19: The Widowmaker

  1. Nice one ans is known as cisco.

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