air max comprar Cold War Infrastructure Is Still Visible in New York Suburbs
ONE of those infamous buttons of the Cold War the switch that could fire a nuclear missile at a Soviet bomber and possibly lead to an apocalypse can be found in a rust eaten trailer in the scrub pine and oak on this sandbar a long swim from Staten Island.The other day, Bill Jackson squeezed his hefty 62 year old frame inside the trailer and recalled that he was a sergeant in his early 20s when he led one of the crews responsible for the 24 nuclear armed Nike Hercules missiles then housed here.He particularly remembered one spring day in 1971, when a Soviet bomber strayed into what the United States claimed as its airspace and Mr. Jackson scrambled to his battle station. Sixteen missiles were soon pointed at the skies, though the button was never pressed.”We were on the threshold of World War III,” Mr. Jackson said, with a measure of awe tinged by something like pride that executing top level decisions about the fate of mankind was then in his young hands. As the anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9) approach, recalling the dawn of the nuclear age, Mr. Jackson and others can remember that atomic missiles were stationed not just in desolate landscapes out West, but also in the midst of New York’s crowded suburbs and resorts. There were 21 such sites guarding New York City, and relics from that era like Mr.Decades ago, residents near these military outposts were often aware that there were missiles behind the fences, but relatively few knew that they were armed with nuclear warheads, experts say. Even today, some suburbanites find it haunting to learn that they lived so near. , and Fort Tilden, in the Rockaways.Other American cities also had protective rings like New York’s, including Bridgeport, Conn., which was defended by sites in bedroom communities like Westport and Fairfield.For two decades, these sites served as a last defense against a Soviet attack. But the missiles were rendered obsolete by speedier, more elusive intercontinental ballistic missiles, which in turn generated the belief that the prospect of “mutual assured destruction” would deter an enemy from a first strike. No longer needed, the missile sites were decommissioned by 1974.But traces of that Strangelovian past are still visible, and aficionados like Mr. Jackson and Mr. Bender give tours of the sites in Sandy Hook and elsewhere, most of which have undergone a swords into plowshares transformation.”This was formerly a place that involved military strategy, and now it encourages creativity,” said Leonard DiNardo, 64, a glass blowing artist whose service near Hiroshima as a Marine during the Vietnam War makes the contrast particularly poignant for him.In recent months,
seeking to close a budget deficit, the county sold most of the furniture for scrap and is now seeking to sell the impounded cars.At McGuire Air Force Base, the atomic past is still present. In 2000, nearby residents were upset to learn that soil from the base that had been contaminated with 11 ounces of plutonium as a result of the missile fire in 1960 would be moved through their towns.A revised transportation route was developed, and by 2004, 22,000 cubic yards of soil had been hauled away, though Sgt. Danielle Johnson, a base public affairs officer, said hydraulic fluids from launchers and some “low level radiological contamination” would be removed later this year.The decommissioned bases hark back to a time of duck and cover air raid drills in schools, ubiquitous fallout shelters and constant escalation. The Army in 1954 deployed the conventional Ajax missile, which had a range of 25 miles. But since missing a target could mean that a Soviet plane might drop a bomb on Manhattan, the Army then switched to the Hercules, which had a range of 87 miles and could carry nuclear warheads in three sizes 3, 20 and 30 kilotons. (The Hiroshima bomb was 12 kilotons.) Even without a direct hit, such a missile could theoretically vaporize a Soviet squadron.Back in Sandy Hook, the Hercules missiles were stored in underground magazines covered by concrete slabs. Only the president, vice president, or secretary of defense could give the launch order, said Mr. Jackson, and such an order, verified through arcane code books, would tumble down the chain of command to an ordinary soldier inside the command trailer, and it would be his finger that pressed the button. That soldier probably would have been all of 22 and earning perhaps $110 a month, Mr. Jackson said with a chuckle.During the one week a month when his crew was “hot,” Mr. Jackson said, his men would sleep in their clothes. “If you got an alert, you stepped into your boots and headed off on a dead run,” he said.He and Mr. Bender both said that the Army believed that if a nuclear tipped missile intercepted a bomber, the fireball from a midair explosion high over the Atlantic would not kill many civilians and certainly would be nothing close to the toll wreaked by a direct Soviet hit.