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PostMoffett Field Naval Air Station, California (Edward Jajko, USA, 02/08/19 3:44 am)
Our house is more or less under the approach paths to what used to be Naval Air Station Moffett Field.
In the early years of our residence here, Lockheed P-3 Orion airplanes used to fly overhead regularly toward Moffett Field, returning from missions tracking Soviet submarines as far out as the Indian Ocean. Those days are over, but fighter jets occasionally streak overhead or close by and a national guard C-130 regularly flies around.
I was at Moffett some years ago when a B-17 and B-24 made an annual visit. I spoke with an aged man who startled me when he said that he had flown in the 8th Air Force in the Ploesti raid. He knew he was lucky; half the planes were lost. And by way of contrast, there was what I assume to have been an AN-124 parked down the tarmac, an immense airplane, and at one point the crew came over to inspect the 70-year old relics.
On one of our first mornings in this house, I was awakened by a horrible screaming and roaring noise that seemed to come from everywhere. I got out of bed and rushed to the window, in time to see the belly of a Lockheed C-5 just a few hundred feet overhead.
Forty or so years ago, my wife, kids, and I were flying a puddle-jumper, probably Allegheny, from Connecticut to somewhere in the Midwest. As we began to land in, I think, Columbus, Ohio, the airplane, almost on the ground, suddenly nosed up and accelerated. We passengers all said "oh?" and I'm sure others joined me in acts of contrition. Then the pilot came on the loudspeaker to say that there seemed to be a problem with the landing gear and he was sending the first officer back to take care of it. Within minutes, a man in pilot's uniform came walking toward the rear of the plane--holding an ordinary screwdriver.
JE comments: But was it standard slot-head or Phillips screwdriver? A Wikipedia fun-fact: the "Phillips head" screw was named for Henry Phillips in the 1930s and first used on the 1936 Cadillac. The patent actually belongs to inventor John P. Thompson, who sold the design to Phillips. Think of what nearly was: the "Thompson head." Ol' Henry probably never expected he'd gain immortality with such a tiny innovation.
But I've digressed. Ed, didn't Google take ownership of Moffett Field? If so, that would be most appropriate for the culture of Silicon Valley. Here's a 2015 report from your local paper, the San José Mercury News:
Living in Fear of the Soviet Bomb
(John Heelan, UK
02/09/19 9:54 AM)
Ed Jajko (8 February) reminded me of when we lived in a peaceful country hamlet--one road and not many houses.
Unfortunately the peace was regularly shattered by either by helicopters skimming our rooftops flying their nightly milk run carrying radioactive material from Aldermaston Research station back to Harwell, or by C130s delivering Cruise Missiles to Greenham Common USAF airbase that also acted as a diversion runway for London Heathrow.
Given given that triangle of strategic nuclear facilities within line of sight (plus Burghfield factory where they assembled the weapons), it was not surprising that it was alleged that the USSR was targeting a 40-megaton first strike at it. We comforted ourselves with the thought that (worst case) we might see only the flash--however from time to time during thunderstorms I did tale a peek westwards to see if London had grown a mushroom cloud.
JE comments: A frightening way to spend your days! I've always been fortunate to live in backwaters that are also strategically insignificant. The joke in Adrian is that if other places get nuked, it will take 10 or 20 years before the trend arrives here.