Cold War Preparation

I had the opportunity a couple-3 days ago to talk with a friend from my Senior year of high school, General H. H. Arnold High School in Wiesbaden, West Germany. I knew of John O. in school, but I didn’t really ‘know’ him. I got to know him at our 50th HS reunion and have come to like him quite a bit…

The other day as we were talking he shared a story with me that is just “too good” not to share. It seems that at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis John’s father worked at a “listening station” in West Germany at the time, ‘snooping’ in on Soviet communications. Yes, we did that. One day his dad gave John an envelope and told him that in case “the balloon” went up (a soviet attack) that he should follow the instructions within. Matter of fact he had John pull the instructions from the envelop which contained a map, and had John make a “dry run,” not telling anyone. The route John was to follow was took him to a (relatively) safe place where folks were to muster for extraction from Europe. John laughed as he told me that he reckoned that from there his Mother and sisters would have a ring-side seat to watch the missiles flying back and forth overhead.

Neither of us thought much about his instructions as that was just what ‘we’ did, or at least some of us. But in the greater context of today, what a responsibility to saddle a kid with!

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