Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov (1926-1998) was a Soviet navy officer. It was October 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis was likely to escalate into a full out nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union.
Many military vessels from both countries were stationed around Cuba. Arkhipov was a deputy commander on the Soviet submarine B-59, which was also there. A few American destroyers located the submarine and started dropping signal depth charges to force the B-59 to surface. The captain of the B-59 mistakenly took this as an act of war and wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo. Arkhipov protested so fiercefully that the launch was aborted and the submarine waited for orders from Moscow. This action might have very well averted World War 3.
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Photo Credits / Sources:
By Arkhipov Family [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons