Pete Russey and War Games
In War Games, a chapter in my book “The Mighty Spartan and his common man adventures” the adolescent, Pete Russey, has to deal with a fear gripping the world. Here is an excerpt from that chapter.
“Cold War?” That was a peculiar name. A ten year old doesn’t understand things the way adults do. When I heard that term back then, I envisioned men fighting in Canada or some other place very cold. I was vaguely aware that some big war had recently ended. A lot of countries were involved. My neighbor, who walked around on crutches, said the plane he flew was shot down in some place he called Korea.
It was during that “Cold War” time that my neighbor shared his war story with me. I don’t remember too much anymore about how it happened. He really didn’t share that much about it because he probably thought I was too young to understand the severity of his difficult situation. Or perhaps he thought a real life story like that should have come from my parents.
I do remember him saying something about strafing the ground. On his final mission, he said a stray bullet fired at him from the ground somehow disabled his jet. He flew an F-4 Corsair. The bad guy’s lucky shot hit the part of his plane which controlled landing. Because of that he didn’t have enough control of his plane to land it on the aircraft carrier without crashing. As a result of the crash he broke some vertrabrae in his back. He never made a big deal out of it. My neighbor was a real live hero to me.
WWII, the war to end all wars, was over. So was the skirmish, as some people called it, in Korea. That conflict between democracy and the spread of communism ended in a stalemate. The same conflict, though, was now developing in Southeast Asia.
Fortunately, all that conflict occurred on foreign soil. But by the sixties, America was beginning to worry it would have to defend its own turf. Many were convinced Communism, Russia in particular, was about to attack America. We had to be prepared to defend our own soil. The cost was most likely going to be great. We were led to believe most people on Earth were going to die,
Atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945 by the US. Russia had the same technology except that both the US and Russia by 1960 could now land those bombs on each other’s country mounted on guided missiles. Each country told the other that they would send them over if they felt the need to defend territory. Each country had more guided missiles than required to totally destroy each other’s country.
“What would be the THING to happen which would require the US and Russia to defend its territory by use of missile?” “Who would be the first to push the button?” “How much of the earth would actually survive the nuclear holocaust?” These were questions on every American citizen’s mind.
We all learned about nuclear fallout; the result of radioactive dust which was created when nuclear weapons detonated. The explosion created a massive fireball, possibly several miles wide. Everything within it vaporized. The stuff inside the cloud would turn to dust and that dust became radioactive. If you weren’t on ground zero, which was certain death, the dust most likely would kill you.
The US government felt responsible for responding to heightened public anxiety. The Federal government distributed information to instruct the public on how to protect itself in case of a nuclear attack. The thinking was, its citizen could survive an atomic bomb and consequently avoid wholesale death and destruction such as occurred on the scale of Hiroshima.
I addressed this very real fear. I lived through it as did everyone living in the 1950s. To find out the outcome of this Pete Russey adventure, pick up a copy of my book at LitFire Publishing or Amazon.com. Or pick up a signed copy at one of my books signing events. Click on the event link to find out where I will be.