The Greater Winfield Historical Society had a good attendance and lively discussion of the Cold War Monday, June 26. Gene Doremus led the discussion.
Although some say the Cold War started immediately after World War II, Doremus used Aug. 29, 1949 as the start date since that was the day the Soviet Union successfully detonated their first atomic bomb. The ending date of the Cold War is generally recognized as the date the Soviet Union collapsed, Dec. 25, 1991.
Points of discussion at the meeting included: School drills when you got under your desk or went out in the hallway; backyard bomb shelters, which many in attendance had first-hand knowledge of; methods to contain Communism such as treaties, financial assistance to war torn countries and massive build-up of our nuclear arsenal; the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49; ICBM’s; and Bombers.
Doremus shared 12-plus years of his 31-year career in the Strategic Air Command working with nuclear missiles. He explained the Personal Reliability Program where medical records of those who worked with or around nuclear weapons were flagged “PRP”.
Medical personnel were trained to alert commanders whenever a patient’s treatment might adversely affect his/her ability to work near nuclear weapons. He also explained the “Two-Man Policy” whereby tightly controlled security measures were in place such that no lone individual had access to a nuclear weapon.
Two interesting inputs came from those attending via Zoom. Corky Roberts recalled the days when B-52 Bombers were actually flying around with live nuclear weapons onboard. Dr. Thomas Lynk reminded us that the Cold War was not free of casualties. Both the Korean War and the Vietnam War were actually proxy wars between the Soviet Union and the United States.
To watch a recording of the presentation, email Gene Doremus at firstname.lastname@example.org.