Your StoriesRe: The Heyday of Fort Funston
- 05/14/12 The Heyday of Fort Funston - posted by Nick & Tanya - catalinapilot<at>hotmail.com
- 05/14/12 Re: The Heyday of Fort Funston - posted by Alexy
- 05/15/12 Re: The Heyday of Fort Funston - posted by Frank Grant
- 05/17/12 Re: The Heyday of Fort Funston - posted by jim clifford
- 05/20/12 Re: The Heyday of Fort Funston - posted by David Rothman
- 05/21/12 Re: The Heyday of Fort Funston - posted by Myron Tessler
- 05/21/12 Re: The Heyday of Fort Funston - posted by Jim Gallagher
- 05/21/12 Re: The Heyday of Fort Funston - posted by Mary-Ann
Re: The Heyday of Fort Funston05/21/12
posted by Myron Tessler
In 1962-1965 I worked for System Development Corporation, who had a contract with the U.S. Air Force and their SAGE Defense System. The SAGE system protected the USA from Bombers and their atomic bombs/missiles. My responsibility, in the System, was prime contact, read maintenance of the computer programs that controlled our fighters and their armament, for the Western U.S. I was located in the Los Angeles Air Defense Sector, and later, in the Reno Air Defense Sector which based the command and control for all the Defense Sectors in the West. As part of our responsibility we had continuous testing of the systems, and that included the interface with the other branches of the Service. The Army controlled the missiles at the Presidio and across the bay in Marin. Their system was called the Missile Master.
The one time that I fully realized the impact of "playing @ war" was for real and could jeopardize our lives and well-being was during the Cuban missile crisis when we almost went to war (Kennedy's time to decide the fate of man-kind, especially relevent today with the decision that our President Mr. Obama has to consider with respect to Libya).
The event's of that October were real to me as we prepared all our systems for war as the ships neared Cuba and at the last minute we had an "Unknown" flight from Cuba heading towards the U.S.A. In our system, that translated to a possible "Hostile" and all systems were raised to DEFCON 2. Because we could not identify, through the system and no flight plans were filed on that flight, we had to assume it was a real threat and we scrambled our Fighters from the Southern part of the U.S.. The protocol was to try and identify the flight before shooting it down. (The fighter does this by flying up to close proximity to the "Unknown" and identifying the type of plane and reading its tail number. Fortunately, for us, and them, it was a commercial flight from South America that had failed to file a flight plan - wrong time and place to be forgetfull.
The thoughts going through my mind at that time were high anxiety, I would survive a direct hit by an atomic bomb because of the hardened building I was in, but my family wouldn't nor would the city of San Francisco, and, relief that this emergency was resolved without going to war.
The Systems did their job that week, and the people that manned them. San Francisco can be proud their missiles and Army personnel were there and provided us with sense of purpose and protection.
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