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As a young adult, I attended a class that prepared me to be a Civil Defense Fallout Shelter Manager. Several months later, I became a member of the Civil Defense Police unit. I learned more about the impact of a nuclear explosion that I ever wanted to know. An immediate benefit was to have car tags that had “CD Police” on the top of the license plate. I never had a restaurant offer me free donuts, because I was a CD police officer.
What was taught in the Civil Defense Fallout Shelter Manager class shook up people attending the class. We learned that where we lived would be a natural target for an enemy missile. We lived near the Fort Campbell military reservation. I became convinced that we would not survive the initial atomic bomb explosion. The radioactive fallout would kill us even if we could get to a homemade fallout shelter.
The official Civil Defense Fallout Shelter was located in Dunbar Cave. The shelter being underground provided the best available protection in the area against radioactive fallout. When I would leave the protection of the cave after a nuclear explosion, I would walk into a radioactive environment. If I would stay in the cave a long enough time, I might be able to live outside the cave but it was doubtful that I could find safe food and water
There was a limited quantity of water and food in the cave complex. There was a limit of how many people could be supported by the supplies in the cave so only a certain number could be allowed to enter the cave. If there were a nuclear disaster and the capacity limit of people in the cave was reached, the doors would be closed. It was not specifically stated, but it was implied. Force was to be use to close the doors even if it meant killing some people waiting to get into the cave complex. The shelter manager would make this decision. My eyes were big, because in theory, I could be the shelter manager.
I had wondered why so many people were receiving shelter manager training. The fact was that only a few shelter managers would be able to make it to the Fallout Shelter in the cave. There were several conditions that would reduce the number of managers that could get to the shelter. It was not where you lived, but where you were when a nuclear explosion occurred that was important. If you had to cross a river or a long bridge, it is doubtful that you would make it to the shelter. One car wreck on a bridge would probably close down the vehicle traffic. This left only walking as a way to get to the fallout shelter. I lived about a five minute car ride from the shelter. I attended college on the other side of a river. To do any serious shopping, the river had to be crossed. When I was on a date, I normally crossed the river. Things were not making me feel confident that I would be able to get to the fallout shelter if I survived the explosion.
The radioactive fallout from an explosion would be distributed by the wind. How safe I would be was dependent on which way the wind was blowing after the explosion. I guess the nuclear bomb delivered by a big ICBM rocket would be bigger than a suitcase bomb. I do not know how much I learned applies to a small suitcase bomb. I do know there is the potential that many people can die of a suitcase nuclear bomb. The long lasting radioactive fallout can kill many more people.
All I can do is pray that no suitcase or any nuclear bomb will be used by terrorists or a country.
Dale “The Saint” Lee
A former resident of Pot Neck, Tennessee
Date last changed 8-15-2010.
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