How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

When all life on Earth (except for roaches) ends, it will probably be as a result of something like this
. Now, who knows if the story is true, but according to
it, World War III almost began because of a long forgotten phone system.

This was during the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis. As
the story goes, it seems a direct link from air traffic
controllers and fighter hangers was established. To activate
the warning klaxons(tm), all you had to do was lift the receiver of the
phone and the alarms would go off automatically.

Apparently, this system was replicated over several
states. But eventually, the system was replaced with another and the
phones removed. Except for one.

In New Jersey, someone failed to remove the phone and its
direct link to the jets. Said jets targeted Cuba and were on ready
alert twenty four hours a day. In a few minutes, they could be
airborne, winging their way towards their, and our, fate.

One day, as part of a general cleaning, the staff found the
dust encrusted red colored phone. By then, no one knew what the phone
was for but they decided to pick up the receiver. Not hearing anything,
including a dial tone, the staff replaced the receiver and gave it a
good dusting probably thinking they would be praised to doing such a
good job of cleaning the office.

Within minutes, the tower called to ask whether an
Air Defense Command scramble had been order. When the mystified staff said no,
the tower “Immediately transmitted to the aircraft, “F-86’s
taking off, abort, abort!” on the emergency
radio, a frequency that all aircraft are required to monitor.”
Fortunately, the abort was received and World War III would have to
wait for another day.



2 responses to “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

  1. Good, but almost certainly not true.

    First, the F-86 was no longer front-line in the ’60s; the only units flying F-86s were in the ANG, and the only Guard unit to have been called to active duty (during the Berlin Crisis of ’61-’62) was sent to Europe in a conventional role.

    Second, the F-86 wouldn’t have enough range to reach Cuba from NJ. Maguire’s about 1200 mi from Cuba, the F-86H had a range of 1050 mi.

  2. OK.
    … and the phones removed. Except for one. …

    Well, if they missed one they may well have missed some others, completely dust covvered by now. So when you encounter a big ball of dust with a phone-cord hanging out of it … don’t touch !!!