Nuclear missile found in climbing wall

Julie Herrmann/Fun Star Reporter
April 2, 2013

UAF sophomore Adam Mccomb slams his ice axe into the ice wall without a clue of the nuclear missile buried beneath it. Adam Taylor/Fun Star

UAF sophomore Adam Mccomb slams his ice axe into the ice wall without a clue of the nuclear missile buried beneath it. Adam Taylor/Fun Star

A nuclear missile was found hidden beneath the outdoor climbing tower on Saturday.

Student Alexandra Kimota was practicing geocaching. In this activity, participants use GPS to find boxes containing a logbook and cheap trading items. New to geocaching, Kimota followed the coordinates wrong and ended up digging beneath the climbing tower. “Geocaching is generally a summer sport but the stuff in the boxes is so cool,” Kimota said. “There’s whistles and baseball cards and gum. I just had to start early this year.”

Kimota dug three feet down before striking what she thought was the corner of the buried geocaching box. But she couldn’t pull it out of the pit. She enlarged the hole but could not find all the edges of the box. “It was huge,” Kimota said.

Kimota reported it to the front desk staff at the SRC. The SRC Outdoor Facilities Manager, Sam Braband, investigated the box.

“We expected to dig this piece of metal out and then figure out how it got there,” Braband said.

Three years ago, UAF was planning to expand the outdoor activities available at UAF. The ice climbing tower was one of the projects in the works along with a mud pit and a specially designed Calvinball field.

But money for the projects was not available. Fifty percent of the money for the climbing tower was promised by Students for the Proliferation of Climbing Apparatus, a nation-wide student organization, but the other $50,000 was not available. “The government approached me,” Chancellor Brian Rogers said. A helicopter landed in front of the Butrovitch building in June 2011. “Three men dressed in black with sunglasses stepped out,” Rogers said. They offered Rogers the remaining $50,000 and additional funding for the other outdoor activity structures if he agreed to hide a small nuclear missile beneath the ice climbing wall. Rogers agreed.

“I believe these outdoor activity areas are more important than any other education on campus,” Rogers said. “The Calvinball field is especially important. No one thinks it’s as important as I do and I have not been able to get the money to pursue these projects. I accepted the money from the government in exchange for hiding the missile otherwise my dream for this campus would never be realized.”

Petra Cliffs Climbing Group, a company set up by the Department of Defense for secret construction projects, began constructing the tower in the summer of 2011.

“It was super secret,” said James Nortuen, a junior English student. “I remember walking by there once and there were all these beefy security types.” The Petra Cliffs’ security system included fingerprint identification and an iris scan before allowing anyone into the construction site.

The tower was completed in just three weeks. “I wondered why it went so fast,” Braband said. “Usually, construction takes forever here.” Once it was done, students climbed on the tower for almost two years. No one at UAF except Rogers knew about the missile until Kimota uncovered the box it was encased in.

Without knowing what it was, Braband ordered the box dug up. Rogers wasn’t notified until after groundskeepers had most of the box uncovered. It was 10 feet long and six feet wide.

“I didn’t know what to say to the Department of Defense,” Rogers said. “How was I supposed to know some random student digging around would find the missile?” Rogers called DOD officials and informed them that the box had been found. Helicopters and troops swarmed the area. A SWAT team provided security around the site. A crowd of students and Fairbanks residents began to form watching and taking pictures.

“It was so cool,” said Nicole Elissim, a freshman engineering student. “I went up to one of the guys with a gun and asked him if he’d help me out the next time UAF does Humans vs. Zombies. He didn’t say anything; he was so unfriendly.”

Less than four hours after arriving on campus, the SWAT team and military personnel began to leave the area, loading the box for removal. The contents were still a secret.

Troops lifted the box onto the back of a trailer but one of the soldiers slid on some ice and the box began to fall, according to Elissim. The box broke open in front of the crowd of 150 people exposing the missile. Cameras flashed. The missile was quickly picked up, loaded, concealed under tarps and driven away.

As news began to spread, the Pentagon released a statement early Sunday morning. “Our program for concealing weapons on college campuses has been discontinued. All weapons have been removed from their storage sites. No civilians have been adversely affected in any way by any of the weapons that were stored in this manner, we don’t think.”

This article is satire. It is not intended to be taken seriously.

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