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By Thom Patterson, CNN
updated 3:07 PM EST, Wed November 7, 2012

(CNN) -- For four years, Yvonne Morris worked at Missile Site 571-7. Literally, it was a real hell hole.

Deep underground in a high-security control room, she and her crew held the keys to an apocalyptic hammer -- a nuclear rocket that could flatten an entire city in just 30 minutes.

"I know I would have been able to launch, if ordered," said Morris, an ex-Air Force lieutenant. "But if we launched, then life as we know it was over."