COLD WAR MEMORIES
"SOMEBODY SET UP US THE BOMB!"
- THE VIDEO!!!
http://www.planettribes.com/allyourbase/story.shtml - THE HISTORY!!!
http://www.cafepress.com/basestuff - THE SHOPPING!!!
"DUCK AND COVER"
filmstrip starring Bert the Turtle, is probably more familiar to you guys
than me yet resonates in my mind. I even own a copy!
The term was
born out of the Cold War as were many Federal Agencies
that precedes the US Department of Homeland Security.
In 1961, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and its familiar yellow and black fallout shelter signs arrived on the scene.
You know, the three yellow triangles pointing towards the center posted outside of public buildings directing to their basements.
They eventually disappeared once the Cold War threat lessened and people became complacent then totally disappeared
by 1979 when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was established to take over.
Of course, the thought of a basement saving one in a nuclear blast is laughable today but serious in the 50s and 60s.
I remember seeing these signs all around including at the Stonewall Jackson Elementary School (long demolished)
I attended for a couple of grades in the mid '60s.
The siren tests too from the Shipyard and seeing many military trucks driving
down the streets coming from the Armory near NNHS which later became the site of architect offices
for Newport News Shipbuilding, and the knowledge of missile silos off of Jefferson Avenue.
It really gave you a feeling that you were in the middle of a military town and something was going on!
What are your Cold War memories in Newport News?
Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75) of VA - 10/02/04
bring out the stories for Eric! I'll keep searching
- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 10/02/04
|1965 Anchor - Henry Hoyle ('65) and Carol Firestone ('66) outside Nachman's|
(Kenneth Silver, Daily Press)
Friday, July 14, 2006
Walter Reed School in my youth, I can recall
drills that required all the students to leave the classrooms and
proceed to the basement of the building. We were timed as to how long it took the student body to make it to the basement,
which was considered a safer location in event of a nuclear attack. The all clear signal would be given, and we would make
our way back to the classrooms for more instruction in the "Three R's" (reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic).
Of course, we
had numerous drills that involved getting under the desk for cover in event
early warning was not given
in time for evacuation into the basement.
The Korean War
was going on at this time, and the Chinese had entered the war and the Soviets
supported the North Koreans.
The threat was real for within a 30 mile radius there were 18 military installations, and the world's largest private shipyard
building naval warships.
Most of us had
endured years of "Black Out Drills" during World War II. These were really
frightening for I was much younger,
and the threat was very real with German Submarines entering U.S. waters on the east coast of our Nation. I remember running
to the different rooms of our house to pull down the dark green windows shades to comply with the black out sirens warning
of danger. We never knew if it was a drill or the real thing, until the "All Clear" signal was sounded. To me the best defense was
to join the military, and do my part, and I enlisted in the USMC on my 17th Birthday. I wanted to stand up to this threat, and
the Marines seemed to be getting the job done in my youthful eyes. Later, the Cuban Missile Crisis manifested all of our fears
of a nuclear holocaust with Russian-made missiles only 80 miles away from our shores.
It was "Lock and Load Time" for the Marine Corps back then.
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 10/02/04
Thanks so much, Joe.
Your unique perspective and near total recall of practically everything always
delights and amazes me.
You're giving me quite an education, and I really appreciate it.
Now .... working at Surry
Nuclear Power Station .... we have the 21st century versions scattered
throughout a 10 mile radius
- Tom Norris (HHS - '73)
of VA - 10/02/04
I remember being in 7th grade at
Woodrow Wilson School and when we had bomb drills we had to go out
in the hallway and kneel down on the floor facing the wall and put our heads down and our hands over our necks.
The girls were always worried that the boys would see their underwear....more worries about that than the bomb!
- Jean Poole Burton ('64) of RI -
WILD GIGGLES!!! That's hysterical, Jean!
(I still don't remember any of this......)
During the Cuban
Missile Crisis, in October, 1963 (I think), I can remember coming to school
the day after the JFK ultimatum
q A lot of our friends were not at school that day. Their parents had packed and left the target area that we lived in.
A friend who had
contacts with Defense Intelligence told me the Newport News/Norfolk area was
the no. 3 target area for the
Perhaps someone can confirm or deny
this, because it always seemed plausible to me in view of the following
partial list of strategic
1. HQ of the Atlantic Fleet – Norfolk
2. Deep Creek Naval Air Station
3. Langley AFB – HQ Tactical Air Command
4. Fort Eustis – HQ Army Transportation Command
5. Yorktown Naval Weapons Supply Depot
6. Newport News Shipyard
7. Norfolk Naval Shipyard
8. Fort Monroe – HQ Continental Army Command
I was told that there were so many nuclear missiles targeted
- Craig Miller
('63) of FL - 10/05/04
Well, Craig, you
managed to awaken three half-memories in me with your note. I remember coming
to school that next day.
I just checked
these dates against my "historical perspective" high school albums and verified them. The Cuban Missile Crisis was fourteen days
in October of 1962. That was your senior year, and my sophomore year. I clearly remember walking into Mr. Burke's Geography class,
and encountering a large number of seriously disturbed students. I haven't quite remembered yet what Major Burke, so recently retired
from the Army, said to us to calm us down. I also remember my best friend, Rose Woodard ('65), being highly agitated and tearful, and she
couldn't understand why I wasn't upset as well. Then I remember going home and telling my mama about the near-panic conditions
whirling around school.
Now, my parents had me when they were both 39. My parents were the same age
as many of your grandparents.
She had lived
through two World Wars, and she was one calm cookie. She told me there was no reason to feel alarmed. She assured me
that the matter was out of our hands, and Heavenly Father was in charge of His world, and it was unlikely that he would allow evil men
to blow it up. She said there was no cause to worry, because if we WERE all blown up, we wouldn't have to worry about it anyway,
and that either way, worry would avail us nothing, so we might just as well go on about our lives. She calmed me right down,
and I never worried about it again. She was quite a woman.
Thanks for the memory, Craig!
- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 10/05/04
- Jo Ann Stewart ('64) of TX -
('63 of FL) has quite a memory regarding the military locations in Hampton
Roads. I recall being
a guest on Craig's boat and looking at some of the military ships in Hampton Roads. I believe what he refers to as
Deep Creek Naval Air Station was actually the Oceana Naval Air Station. There was also Little Creek Amphibious
Base, home to medium range ships and support vessels. In addition to Yorktown Naval Weapons Station a major
site in York County is Cheatham Annex, and the CIA training facility at Camp Peary. Norfolk Naval Base also
contained Norfolk Naval Air Station. There were two other shipyards heavily involved in government work, one
being Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and the other Horne Brothers located in Newport News next to the "big" shipyard
we all grew up with. Then the Coast Guard have one of their major training facilities at Yorktown.
No wonder we felt like sitting ducks.
- Dave Arnold ('65) of VA - 10/05/04
Uh, yeah, that would do it! Thanks, Dave!
- Tom Oxner ('65) of AR - 10/05/04
Yes, it was - but that's a great story! Thanks so much, Tom!
I remember hearing about the drills in school and the
nuclear fallout from a distance.
While you were in the halls practicing safety,
my family was living in Idaho Falls, Idaho only 60 minutes from the "site". The shipyard sent 250 Virginia families out there to build
a nuclear reactor in the desert. The Atomic Energy Commission provided the daily bus transportation out to the desert for our fathers
to work. During those three years, we never once practiced anything that you described. No one even talked about it.
Finally, weeks before the job was completed and turned over to Westinghouse and the Navy, visits were conducted for those over 12 years
of age. Again, being a child, I didn't get to see the site or it's replica until 35 years later. Other Class of '64 members were there: Lee Sutton,
Porter Blakemore ... I am sure some of our former Navy classmates were there also. It was a wonderful time and a beautiful part of the US.
When we returned to VA in 1959, it didn't take long before the fall-out signs were posted at our church - Noland Memorial Methodist.
- Linda Lane Lane ('64) of VA - 10/05/04
And that's another great story! Thanks, Linda!
Craig got it
right when he listed Norfolk Naval Shipyard, which is located on the eastern
branch of the Elizabeth River
This complex was almost destroyed while under attack, but not by the
BOMARC Missile Site, designed to defend the area, located off Jefferson Avenue and Harpersville Road.
Reserve Fleet, James River. Some of these old vessels were used in the Gulf War during 1990.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Langley Research Center (NASA, formerly known as NACA).
Station, Dam Neck, VA and Fort Story, VA adjacent to Virginia Beach, and
Camp Elmore in Norfolk.
Being in a
major target area during the nuclear standoff with the Soviets made everyone
a bit paranoid,
memories are certainly among the less fond memories,
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 10/07/04
As usual, Joe, the breadth of your knowledge and phenomenal memory astounds me!
To Craig Miller ('63) of FL:
Your list looks
pretty complete as plausible targets within the Peninsula area.
Don't forget the missile silos that ran (or could still
be there) along Jefferson Avenue behind the chain fence marked with Government Property signs.
forget that when dealing with "nuclear" disasters that the radius of a blast and
its fallout can reach many miles out.
Here in Richmond we have Fort Lee nearby, and in that area is another nuclear armament depot and who knows what else in-between here
and there or here and Washington? We too are in a precarious geographic position when you think about it.
Just in recent
years concerning terrorist has brought several tense moments.
I work in a high-rise building (actually twin towers)
one of our conference rooms overlooks the Federal Reserve Building, another 24-floor high-rise. It houses money for banks covering
from New Jersey to South Carolina and includes DC. That building was on the "strike list" at one point and you should see the perimeter
security now. Layer upon layers of both high tech and low tech barriers and alterations. What is weird was coming back to work after 9-11 and
seeing that building next door. The same architect that designed the World Trade Center also designed that building and both have some
similarities in looks... it was an unsettling feeling!
The missile crisis did
happen in 1962 and there was a 13 day stretch in October
in which several incidents nearly prompted a strike
within 24 hours but was turned off the last minute on October 28th. An excellent movie to watch concerning this is "Thirteen Days" (2000)
which stars Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp, Dylan Baker, and many others and is available on DVD.
- Eric Huffstutler (BHS - '75) of VA - 10/07/04
Thanks, Eric! You've raised some unsettling thoughts, but it's better to know than not to know.
- Ron Miller ('59) of NC - 10/11/04
This page reflects the memories of
the fears we experienced in our youth, and the danger was certainly there.
Because we used the Atomic Bomb on Japan twice, and General Douglas MacArthur
allegedly considered the possibility of using the Atomic Bomb on North Korea,
a Navy Admiral making an unauthorized promise to use the Atomic Bomb to assist the French in breaking the siege of Dien Ben Phu,
a senator debating the Vietnam war publicly suggesting the Atomic Bomb be used on North Vietnam,
did give the impression to the rest of the world that we were hawks that would readily use the bomb.
Certainly the Soviets did not trust the US during the arms race.
Perhaps that is why the closing lines of the movie "The Hunt for Red October" (1990) were especially comforting
when Sean Connery playing the part of the Skipper of the Soviet nuclear submarine
responded to a question as to what he wanted to do, as the boat entered the harbor,
he replied: "Take my grandson and go fishing (paraphrased)".
It seemed to express the sentiment of most Americans as well, and probably the majority of the Russians.
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 10/14/04
That's an interesting insight. Thanks again, Joe!
- Jo Ann Stewart ('64) of TX - 10/14/04
WOWZERS! I did not know that! Thanks, Jo
There were also several Nike
missile sites in the area.
One was located in Isle of Wight County just across the James River,
and has now been converted to Nike Park for recreation. There was a Nike site in Hampton on what is now Marcella Road.
When the new Sentara Careplex was constructed some of the old silos were uncovered.
- Dave Arnold ('65) of VA - 10/14/04
50's we played pinball machines -- there was no such thing as video games,
which I gather is what this stuff is based on!
- Ron Miller ('59) of NC - 10/14/04
GIGGLES! Thanks, Ron!
if anyone would pick up on this weird video theme, Ron!
When I realized that we would be making a page for these memories, it was the first thing that popped into my goofy mind.
I'm more familiar
with the internet spoofs which I've attached than of the original 1989 very lame
Japanese video game itself.
The translation was, of course, frighteningly horrendous, which is what made it so hysterically funny.
My #6 son, Dale, introduced me to the computer satire about three years ago.
(I suppose living with several techno-geeks as I did would improve one's chances of encountering such nonsense.)
Y'all already knew I have the emotional development of a three-year old, but my sense of humor is more that of a two-year old.
I literally laughed myself off the chair (no, sadly and ridiculously, that's not hyperbole, that's the actual truth of the matter).
Yesterday as I was
searching for the files to attach, we were simultaneously working on the
and the sound card had been temporarily disabled when I located the video.
It didn't matter. I landed on the floor again - with a serious ache in my side from laughing too hard.
It's as I've always said, growing up is vastly overrated.........
- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 10/14/04
WOWZERONI, Tim! What a
fantastic and succinct history lesson! Thanks so much!
Affiliate, Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg, FL had an exhibit
on display this week regarding
the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. There was an official poster of Bert the Turtle to greet you at the beginning,
and an old juke box playing the top 20 songs on the Hit Parade of those 18 Days of confrontation, and the magazines of that
month. Sports Illustrated had a photo of Fran Tarkenton lined up behind the Minnesota Viking Offensive Line, while "Big
Girls Don't Cry" was blaring from the juke box. The exhibit then got really serious, as it displayed equipment used by the
military to take the aerial photographs that confirmed the presence of the Russian missile sites in Cuba, U2 flight suits, photos
of USS Wasp (CVS-18) on station during the naval blockade, and photos of LT(jg) Peterson who was seriously injured while
landing his plane in darkened ship conditions to demonstrate this practice for senior officials of the CIA who were on board
the Wasp. Peterson was given clearance to land when a command "Green Deck" was given instead of the complete command
to describe the actual condition, "Green Deck for Helicopters." The helicopters were to fly a mission in darkened conditions
and were brought up on the flight deck to take off to demonstrate for the CIA personnel.
abbreviated version of the condition, lead the way for clearance to land for
Lt. Peterson who landed in the midst of the
helicopters waiting to be launched from the deck of the carrier.
of the exhibit featured furniture and appliances from the 1960s, including
transistor radios with special
markings to identify Conelrad stations where disaster instructions were given to listeners in event of an emergency. The old
TV sets were a hoot! If this exhibit comes to your area, please be sure to visit it. The other attraction was the 45th
Anniversary of the Barbie Doll, which I skipped but was enjoyed by Eva (Ellis Madagan) ('61) of FL and two of our
- Joe Madagan
('57) of FL - 12/31/04
- Eric Huffstutler
(BHS - '75) of VA - 05/17/09
I was a member
of the Class of 1960 and went to
Stonewall Jackson Elementary in NN North End.
We certainly did have air raid (not fallout) drills
I feel sure
that Norfolk/NN was considered a first strike area as I am sure that it is
today too. If it were to happen today and you are in NN you should just
- Al Simms
('60) of VA - 05/19/09
Just the fact that
Newport News is a "peninsula" makes it logistically impossible to evacuate
the city. Back in the 1950s, people thought that they had plenty
But I still wonder
just how involved Newport News was when it came to Civil Defense? Do
people remember block wardens? How many community drills,
- Eric Huffstutler
(BHS - '75) of VA - 05/21/09
"All Your Base Are Belong to Us" Dialogue courtesy of http://www.netstumbler.org/archive/index.php/t-1797 - 10/13/04
Image courtesy of - http://ryangenno.tripod.com/sub_pages/VGCS-ZeroGrammer.htm - 10/13/04
Divider Image courtesy of - http://www.planettribes.com/allyourbase/b/catsh.jpg - 10/13/04
Ronald Reagan Quotation courtesy
of Janice McCain Rose ('65) of VA - 11/11/04
on 10/13/04, following initial question posed by Eric Huffstutler (Bethel HS - '75)
of VA - 10/02/04
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