Smoking Gun Essay Three Mile Island/Challenger Explosion

1018 Words Oct 7th, 2011 5 Pages
ENC 1102: Online Course
Smoking Gun Essay

Smoking Gun Memos within a company serve several purposes. They may be used to report meeting agendas, policies, internal reports, or short proposals. Memos may also be used as a tool to inform staff, management, or executives of important information. Two very good examples of this are the memos written regarding the 1978 Three Mile Island Disaster, and the 1985 Challenger Explosion. Both of these disasters were forewarned by employees and addressed by memos to superiors. Bert M. Dunn of Babcock and Wilcox Company wrote a memo to his management to inform them of a potential operator error occurring at the nuclear power plants that needed to be addressed. R. M. Boisjoly of Morton
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Through all of the technical information, one looses the sense of urgency when reading the memo. It does not seem that any points were strongly stressed in the letter. The author did state what action needed to taken, but there was not emphasis placed on the urgency. The memo written by Roger Boisjoly of Morton Thiokol, Inc. regarding the Challenger explosion had a very direct approach with a condescending tone. The author does an excellent job at grabbing the reader’s attention. The subject line states “SRM O-Ring Erosion/Potential Failure Criticality”. With a subject line written in that manner, it stresses the urgency of the memo. In the first paragraph, of the memo the author states that the memo is written to address the seriousness of the current O-ring erosion problem. Again, this is stressing the urgency of the memo and states his purpose for publishing the memo. In the body of the memo, Mr. Boisjoly takes on a more condescending, non-professional tone. He makes two statements that could be taken as if he was questioning authority. First, “The mistakenly accepted position on the joint problem was to fly without fear and failure and to run a series of design evaluations which would ultimately lead to a solution or at least a significant reduction of the erosion problem”. This statement seems as if he does not respect the authority of the company leaders, and the decision they

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