Hunkering down day 56.
Sixty years ago last week,1 a U.S. U-2 unarmed reconnaissance plane, with CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers, was shot down near Sverdlovsk USSR. I was stationed at Two Rock Ranch Station near Petaluma, CA. TRRS and probably other Army Security Agency locations went on limited alert. Limited in that case meant we were on short notice duty call – not restricted to base. The cell phone was many years from being invented, so it was the same as being restricted to audio range our Petaluma home telephone. And without answering machine technology, we had to call in if we were going out and again when we came back. It was only two weeks, but it seemed longer.
Except for military, there was little, if any, impact on the rest of the U.S., let alone the rest of the world. Yes, there were the ongoing tensions of the Cold War, but still no real impact in general. So, with our firsthand knowledge of the possibilities for an accidental hair trigger puller, we felt the tension. In retrospect, the worst thing about then was not being able to discuss current events without the worry of disclosing if knowledge came from the public news or a secret communication on base. But even in those days there was someone who knew a person who knew a person who had the inside scoop.
unkering down postscript: Well what we have now is different. A family member, a friend, or just a random person without malice a forethought could impact our life.
Hunkering down random: “down dooby doo down down, comma comma”
May 1, 1960. ↩