Attack Geometry

by David Watkins

The Recruitment

It wasn't my intent to join the Air Force. That was still in the days of the draft, before the draft lottery of the Vietnam era. I graduated from high school in 1959 and spent that summer working for my uncle on his farm in Baca County Colorado. It was the same farm where my mother had lived during the Dust Bowl. That Fall I enrolled in Pratt Junior College, some 30 miles from Nashville, Kansas where I was born. My money lasted for one semester. I moved back home, which was pleasant and took a $6 a day job working for a nearby farmer.

In the spring of 1960 a just graduated neighbor invited me to go with him to Wichita to talk to an US Air Force recruiter. AF career placement was based on a battery of tests and, as I found out, the whims of the AF. There were four career field categories; mechanics, electronics, administrative and intelligence. The test provided percentile scores in each of these fields. To qualify for service in the AF one must achieve a 40 percentile in at least one of the four career fields. Career fields were structured in a 3-tiered hierarchy by test scores; 40-59, 60-79 & 80-100.

I was surprised when I got my scores. I had scored over 80 percentile in each of the four career paths and was qualified to a wide range of jobs. I didn't have a clue about military intelligence, but a career in intelligence sounded like a good think. I talked to the recruiter and he said he could do that. It sounded better than waiting for the draft while working on a farm at $6 a day so I signed up. Took a train from Wichita to Kansas City for processing and then another to San Antonio, Texas for basic training.


Basic Training


Basic training was not what I expected. I thought it would be difficult and physically challenging. What I didn't expect was the degree of petty harassment and indoctrination. I hadn't expected my loss of freedom to have the emotional impact that it did. I hadn't anticipated that I at times would be under the mechanical control of egotistical morons. That was when I learned the fine art of becoming invisible. Don't attract attention. Look for off ramps.

There were several streams of activity in basic training, most of them connected with marching and interspersed with a variety of harassment. In the administrative thread we were processed in various ways. Career selection occurs here and I was informed that there were no openings in intelligence and that I was to become a weapons control mechanic. When my orders came I was transferred to Lowry AFB, Colorado for nearly ten months of electronics training. Not far from my Kansas farm and I had family in Colorado

The train from San Antonio to Denver left at night. We were in Pullman cars and got a good nights sleep. It was a lot different than the train trip from Kansas City to San Antonio. We were finished with basic and were now given a small measure of respect. We were headed for electronics training at Lowry AFB Aurora, Colorado. I have lots of relatives in Colorado, my mother once lived in Denver. It wasn't a long bus ride to home. Not that I will be able to visit my Colorado family or take the bus home: I'm still under government control, I'll live in a barracks on a base with a fence. We will have 8 more weeks of basic – 2 hours a day.


Electronics School


We are put in a temporary barracks, on hold a few days, to mesh with the schools schedules. Waiting for some class to ship, to free up a barracks. Electronics training is ramping up, new squadrons of aircraft are going on line. I will be trained to be a Weapons Control Mechanic. As I recall about 24 weeks, six hours a day, of general electronics then 24 week of training to learn to maintain the weapons control systems that are carried by F101-B and F102 interceptor aircraft. I start my training and move to my new barracks. The recently emptied barracks were filled with new trainees, but some of us were sent to fill in spaces in barracks with classes that had a few weeks to go before graduation. For two hours a day we had basic training. This was far milder than the Texas basic. On this base training was a serious mission; basic training would not infringe on that mission. Our two squad leaders were likely selected for their size it would seem, but each had reasonable requirements of effort and order.

Despite the relative ease of the basic, it was there that I had my last fist fight. We were play touch football, no equipment and pretty much full contact. A guy across from me tried to knee me and I told him not do it again. A bit latter he did and I hit him. We exchanged a few good punches before the two squat leaders broke it up. He had a big skinned spot on his nose, my mouth was bleeding, but I didn't let anybody know.

I was anxious about electronics training; both ways. I know I did well on the test, but so did they whole class and I know that my background is weak. I've never had physics or even geometry. My semester at Pratt Junior College did some repair to my deficiencies, but brought others to light. My strengthen is in math. As it turned out the training was well structured, from the ground up --the concepts and math unfolded in a logical and entertaining sequence. I was comfortable and pleasantly engaged in a 6 hour a day 5 days a week training program which the Air Force considers the important part of my day.


There is still the 2 hours a day basic; it's not bad, well not too bad – it's overly regimented. There was an administrative aspect to it; certifications of various types, specific required indoctrination, a fair amount of physical training and some marching. All students march from the mesh hall to the classrooms in the morning and back to the mesh hall at the end of the school day.

So I should explain about the Work Formation: Once a trainee had completed the mandatory 8 weeks of basic 2 hours a day, it was not the case that the air force was going to give us back those 2 hours a day to our own choices. There was a work formation. We would line up on the parade ground, there was a little stand of some sort that the boss master stood on to pass out jobs. It could be anything, to go unload a truck, to police up one area or another. When he ran out of jobs everybody left over got to go back to the barracks.

There had also evolved a system of permanent details. The most common of these were details that served some necessary function in the barracks. The most common of these where the latrine details. It is far easier to share one-third of the responsibility for keeping a latrine clean than it is to be daily held hostage by the job bosses. As luck would have it getting bunked in with a bunch of old timers was a gold mine: they knew the ropes. The common practice was that when someone with a permanent detail shipped out they would find someone to take their place. One of my old-timer buddies gave me his latrine detail. I have more time and am under less of their control.


Over time and due to lax management of the permanent details process, the number of permanent details are increased; a latrine that might have had three details now has six. Finally they figure out that the system is out of control; too many people have disappeared from the records. EVERYBODY REPORT TO FORMATION

i decided to vanish for the duration of the everybody formation – they had no record of me - i laid low

i quietly fell through their net – my 2 hours were mine again

Every morning the classes assembled outside the mess hall for the march to the classrooms. At the end of the day they would march back. Some students were road guards. They blocked traffic at the intersections. Other than a medical excuse, being a road guard was the only way to avoid these formations and marches. The road guard job was handed down via a helmet. Early in my training a road guard in my barracks shipped and left me the helmet. By good fortune it was for the intersection nearest the school. In the evening I could run to the mess hall as soon as the formation was through that intersection, never to wait in line.


(F-101B ACFT)


Introduction to Attack Geometry


I will be working on the F-101B 'Voodoo' fighter interceptor. The McDonnell aircraft carried infrared missiles and atomic rockets. The MG-13 was manufactured by Hughes Aircraft Company, one of the largest military contractors of the time.

The mission of the Voodoo fighter is to intercept and shoot down attacking bombers, most likely of Soviet origin. We learn how the MG-13 integrates aircraft, radar and computers to detect, track and shoot down incoming aircraft. This is where we were introduced to Attack Geometry.

The F-101B was a two seat version of the F-101A that in 1957 set the world speed records for jet powered aircraft; 1,207.6 mph on 12-12-1957. The plane had been developed as a tactical fighter, but was readily adapted to fit the primary mission of the Air Force Air Defense Command (ADC); the capacity to intercept incoming Soviet bombers.

Angles and feedback loops were the heart of the system, with the variable 'time' pulling the trigger. The system's geometry is relative to the Voodoo. The interceptor is the reference point for all calculations. The target is the incoming Soviet bomber. Data link feeds all of the relevant target information from NORAD. The system provides tracking to bring the target within range of the systems own radar. The actual radar range will vary from plane to plane and on weather conditions. The scope scales to 200 miles, but 30 or 40 might be the case.

In the theoretic attack the data link system delivers target data to guide the interceptor to the most favorable position from which to launch an attack. The decision must be made whether to use an infrared GAR missiles or one of the Genie atomic rockets. The geometry varies in these two. The Genie has a half-mile kill radius and one doesn't want to fly into the field of the blast. With data link guidance the interceptor flies out to meet the attacking bomber. The target comes within the range of the radar, is locked unto and tracked. Weapons are selected and an automatic launch sequence times down to ignition. Electronics school was interesting and fun. Most of the guys were bright and friendly. We were restricted to the base during the week and there were only a few who had cars. Most of our free time was spent in the barracks. Life in the barracks wasn't bad. Lockers were lined up to break up the openness of floor. They provided what privacy there was. There were a lot of radios and some competition for the air space. One weekend afternoon there was one radio that was excessively loud. One of my friends asked if he would turn it down and he was turned down. He quietly went to a box in his locker. In a couple of minutes he was soldering together a few components from the box. Discretely he connected a wire from his new device to the heating vent that ran down the middle of the aisle. He plugged in the cord and the loud music became loud static. After awhile everybody turned off their radios, my friend unplugged his device and turned on his radio. I read a lot. I joined the Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club.

We got a Christmas leave and I went home on a Trailway's bus for a great time with family and exposure to the mumps. I was in the base hospital, in isolation, for nine days. After a few days they got me a TV. I grew up without TV and this was the first really big dose of TV for me. Radio was my TV. When I went back to school they put me in a different class. My old class got station in Minot, North Dakota. I was assigned to Hamilton AFB in Marin County, California. At the end of the runway was San Pablo Bay and beyond that San Francisco. To the south and west Mt. Tamalpais and a bit beyond Muir Woods and not far the Pacific Ocean and Stinson Beach.


After electronics school we were, as I recollect, given a two-week leave. The pay wasn't much, but I had saved up enough for a down payment on my first car, a 1955 Ford, 4dr, six-cylinder, stick with an overdrive, sky blue with a slight turquoise tint. It was great fun with the family, but I couldn't wait to hit the road. Finally the morning arrives. I load my few possessions into my car and the long ritual of goodbye.

I'm on the road, I wave as I circle around the front of the house. I drive over the cattle-guard by the shelter belt and then cross the dam, over another cattle-guard and left on the township dirt road, heading for Nashville, the highway and California. This will be by far the longest car trip I've ever been on and I will be all on my own. This is more like leaving home than was the leaving to basic or to electronics school. It was a new degree of freedom and autonomy with the Air Force and with the purchase of my first car. I came into Nashville from the south, the road along the cemetery. I take the big turn on the way into town, continue for a block and turn north on Main Street. Nashville has never been more than a few hundred people. I pass the hospital where I was born on my left, the high school a block to the east. Go across the railroad tracks, pass between two elevators, the old wooden style of General Mills to the west and the concrete silos of the COOP. I come to the one stop sign in town, where Main Street intersects with K-42. I go west.

I'm on the highway. It's still familiar ground, but it is already an adventure. I pass through Isabel. Mom was born on a farm near Isabel, my dad's mom and two of his sisters lived in Isabel. We played Sawyer in baseball and basketball. Now I'm on the diagonal shortcut to Pratt. My first home leaving was really the semester I spent at Pratt Junior College. I head west on K-54, the Cannonball Express. I take US-50 to Dodge City, Garden City and to Colorado, through Pueblo, Canon City and over the Rockies to Grand Junction where Uncle Bill and Aunt Joan lived. It was a long drive across the deserts of Utah and Nevada. Finally through Carson City, around the south of Lake Tahoe, over the Sierras and down to Sacramento. Southwest to Vallejo and then circle around the north of San Pablo Bay to Hamilton AFB on its west. I would make this drive two more times and the drive in the other direction three more times. Most often I made the drive straight through, nap in the car now and then, energized by the expedition. Driving had always been my passion, even before I had. Steering the Caterpillar on my dads lap; steering the truck while dad threw out feed for the cattle and turning off the keys to stop it when he told me. Having my own car and a long journey was a new plateau.

US 50 in Kansas
The turn to Dodge City
Along the Arkansas in the Colorado Rockies
US 50 into Utah
Ely, Nevada
US 50 in Nevada
US 50 at Lake Tahoe
US 50 Ends in Sacramento
US 37 to Vallejo
The pictures I've used for this personal story are mostly borrowed from the web. I've tried to find images that are in the public domain. Other images are used under "fair use" copyright law.

The base didn't look like a base. The hills above the runways had rambling drives and the Spanish style officer housing didn't look military. The barracks for the single airmen where of a rather modern style concrete block. They were well designed for their purpose. Our barracks housed the 78th A&E (Armaments and Electronics). It was a three-story building and the rooms could hold up to four. I was put in a room with two black guys, an airman 1st class who was the Captains secretary and Charlie, an airman 3rd class in armaments. We all got along and Charlie was a good friend. Things got interesting when they put a Utah Mormon named Robert E. Lee in the room. Not a practicing Mormon, but he still considered himself to be one.

I'm issued a well stocked tool bag and assigned to an experienced technician for on the job training (OJT). It's exciting to be out on the flight line. It is noisy! Planes taxiing and taking off; a multitude of roaring generators, the higher pitch of the six foot high portable air condition units wherever the radar and computers are in operation. They call us radar, we work in pairs, most often with one in the radar operators seat and one on the ground. It is too noisy to talk so there is a fairly standard set of hand signs. Most of the radar work is fairly routine, the same problems happen over and over, the same circuits need to be calibrated again. Sometimes it is a challenging and exciting puzzle. In many respects it was paradise. Work that I enjoyed, good company, lots of free time and a good geography in which to enjoy it.


Most of the married airmen preferred to work day shift. As soon as my training was completed I was allowed to transfer to night shift. There were residential areas around the base. The regular routine was that most of the flights occurred during the day. Once the scheduled sorties for the day are achieved there is a scramble to put every plane back in service. day shift crews brief their night shift replacements. Some nights everything would be fixed two hours into the shift. They keep a crew in the shop, another on standby in the barracks and everyone else is free to do as they please. This led to a lot of free time. That I was prepared for. I joined the Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club and had easy access to the base library. There was a cool bookstore in San Rafael and The Tides in Sausalito a beat magnet. Also in Sausalito a retired double-decker, ferry boat, the Charles Van Damme. When we first went there the lower deck was a coffee house and the upstairs was living quarters. Later the lower deck was a restaurant and the upstairs was the coffee house. It was a 24/7 operation and 25 cents bought a bottomless cup of coffee. They had comfortable booths and it was fine with them if you drank your coffee and played cards. Sometimes there was music, more often random than any kind of performance schedule.

On weekends there were usually only a couple of radar crews in the shop and a couple more on standby. There was and endless choice of things to do in the area. The pay of an airman was meager so some of the most interesting things were limited or ruled out. It was only 15 miles to Muir Woods, 23 to Mt.Tamalpais State Park, 27 to Stinson Beach and 25 to San Francisco.

Charles Van Damme
Muir Woods
Mt. Tamalpais
Stinson Beach

The Flight Line


The Chief Master Sergeant who ran the radar shop was a P-51 Mustang pilot in WW2. When his wartime commission ran out he stayed on as non-commissioned officer. He is held in high regard by everyone. Not because of his fighter pilot past, but for his competence, fairness and confidence. He always knew what to do. Once he had a conflict with a newly appointed 1st Lieutenant, I can't recall what the issue was, but that was at the bottom line about who gave the orders. When they came back from their discussion of the issue with the Captain it was clear that the Chief was in charge and the Lieutenant actually appeared to be be happy with that.

There was a Colonel who was chief of flight line operations. He had a motor scooter that he rode on the flight line. Only scooter on the line so you knew it was him. He was as competent as our Chief and just as protective of his men. There were a lot of meetings that we didn't have to go to if we worked on the night or midnight shifts. There was a monthly Commanders Call, a meeting on moral leadership and a program Two Worlds, which of course made the distinction between the Free World and the Communist World. It was mostly movies and was scheduled in the base theater. I recall a film showing the Soviets indoctrinating their soldiers. Suddenly the entire theater broke out in laughter; we clearly saw ourselves in that movie. We didn't have to go to formations and didn't have barracks inspections, two of the things about the Air Force I felt most repressive.


The pattern of life in the Air Force was pleasant. My work was interesting and challenging, the bosses fair and encouraging. It was exciting to work on the flight line, especially during an exercise when we might turn the planes around a couple of times. Planes taxiing, fuel truck and service vehicles swarming. The afterburners roar, sometimes two side by side, and glow in the dark. With the bay at the end of the runway we were sometimes engulfed in deep fog. No flying in that, but planes still had to be fixed. At night in the fog the planes on the flight line could not be seen from the shop. The working light made an immense glow, to which the fog gave shape. The chorus of machines seemed enhanced by the fog, less shrill, but more ominous. Once out on the flight line there were smaller domes of light where crews were working. All that could be seen of the hanger was the faint glow of the radar shop windows.

The work was fun I had a knack for the kind of deductive logic needed to trouble shoot problems with our kind of weapons system. We had one plane that flew over 20 consecutive bad missions, with reports of the same radar systems problem for each flight. The video was lost on every flight, but always tested good on the ground. After awhile the assigned my buddy and me to work on it every night. On the possibility that it had something to do with the aircraft electrical supply, I got to ride up and down the taxi way testing the radar on the aircraft generator. Finally the radar operator/navigator reported the problem slightly different which made us look at some additional circuits. What we found was a loose pin in a coaxial connector that went through a pressurized bulkhead. When the plan was at altitude the cabin was pressurized and the pressure differential on the two sides of the bulkhead was enough to push the pin back far enough to break the signal that served as the carrier for the video. When the plane came down the pressure balanced out on the two sides of the bulkhead and the pin moved back into contact and the circuit was restored.

October 1962


Life was good. Everything was smooth. I enrolled in some classes at the nearby College of Marin. Through circumstances that I can't recall I started giving the daughter of the colonel in charge of operations a ride to the college. I never met him, just encountered him now and then on the flight line or in the shop. I have two memories of our drives to school. One evening, just as the sky was starting to darken and just after I parked the car on the campus, we saw a rocket streaking across the sky and the the ignition of the second stage punctuated our experience. We didn't know what it was, it startled everyone. A rocket of course came to mind, but why? Later it was reported that it was a rocket launched from Vandenberg AFB, in southern California. Police were flooded with calls. The other that stood out in my mind, though I can’t remember her name, was her description of her life as an Air Force brat. She couldn't stand the idea of living in one place. Moving to a different state or country every four or five years was normal for her. For me it seemed frightful.

Music had always been an important part of my life. Now I had more time to listen. I bought a stereo system, a stereo receiver kit and a tape player. The Base Exchanged had really cheap records. I found Big Bill Broonzy, Josh White, Lightning Hopkins and other early black blues players. My two black roommates listened to what they called progressive jazz. There was a lot that the two didn't see eye to eye, but for both the best possible night would be at the Blackhawk in San Francisco. At first it was foreign to me, but before long it had me on board. They found my blues appealing, they found some of my folk and rock interesting and tolerated my country songs. I usually played the country when they were elsewhere.


The Beatles were on TV and all over the radio. At first I didn't like them. They were on the jukebox in the student lounge at at school. Most of the play was the Beatles, I succumb to their appeal.

San Francisco was a great attraction but was expensive. The regular sights were a delight, the city an adventure for young men. We didn't go many places that required an admission. We could mange a few places that required that you buy a drink and nurse it as long as possible. One night a drink got into see the Champs play, including their hit Tequila. One night there was the annual Barbary Coast celebration and I got to see Jayne Mansfield for free. Once we were there for Chinese New Years and saw a dragon. There was an impressive Buddhist Temple and a bar on a bad street downtown that we shouldn't have gone into but did. One night on a double date with a friend we took two young school teachers to see the movie Flower Drum Song. Later they guided us to the a place on Twin Peaks where we could look over the city at night. I fell in love with Nancy Kwan. (The girl in the movie.)

My most outstanding memory of San Francisco is the night they celebrated their tough fought victory over the Dodgers for the National League Pennant. The crowds were thick in the North Beach area where we bounced around from place to place. Everything was celebration and the bar owners were more generous than usual; almost every place no cover, no minimum. We went in places we couldn't usually afford. We went into the Hungry I, a club at the time dominated by folk & comedy. Once I saw the Limelighters and another time the political comic Mort Sahl. A Cuban flamenco guitar player named Castro opend for one of them. The night of the pennant celebration Peter, Paul & Mary were playing and the bar was nearly empty. People were passing by the bar to enter the theater. As we sat there nursing our drinks a lady sat down at the bar a couple of seats from me and the bar tender poured her a drink. She spilled her drink and it ran down the bar almost to my seat. The bartender cleaned it up and she left. We sat there sipping our drinks until the show came on. It was rather muffled, but one could hear the performance. After a couple of songs the bartender told us to go in and catch the show. It was only then that I realized that the lady who had spilled the drink at the bar was Mary.



What happened next is not clear in my mind. When I check my memory against existing records it is often right, but not always I thought there were at least five DEFCON (Defense Condition) alerts printed out on the radar shop teletype, but when I read up on the DEFCON system I found that there were only five levels. SAC went to DEFCON 2 but the highest we went was DEFCON 3. We could only have received two teletypes increasing our alert status. In my mind we loaded the missiles and nukes and transferred a third of each squadron's planes to Oregon (for better attack geometry) after Kennedy's speech, but I find records that indicate that occurred before his address to the nation. My memory is fairly clear, of hearing the speech on my car radio on my way from the barracks to the flight line. I sat in the parking lot to hear the last of it. I've checked the time of the President's speech and it is consistent with when I would be on my way to work.

There had been an exercise that wasn't really an exercise. I was surprised when my roommate Charlie, who worked in armaments, came back to the barracks and said they had loaded nukes. We went on 12 hour shifts right after Kennedy's speech. I was restricted to base told to be packed and ready to move out in 15 minutes. All the old timers thought we were in for a nuclear war.

When the planes are not flying they don't break and there is little to do. Twelve hours a day in the shop with nothing to do is a lot of time. There were people playing cards (8 player double deck hearts included), reading books, sleeping, playing chess and telling stories. One enterprising sergeant brought a projector and checked out reels and reels of Bob Hope Christmas USO shows from the base library.


The planes were all loaded, on alert for a Soviet attack. SAC at the highest level short of actual war. The F-101B has what we called a roto-door and what the manual calls a pallet. It is a door that had two infra red guided GAR-2A missiles on one side and two 1.7-kiloton MB-1/AIR-2 Genie nuclear rockets on the other. The missiles were on rails that retracted until they were nearly flush with the surface. In normal flight the missile side of the door is down and the much larger Genies are rotated into the belly of the plane. Over 20 planes in each squadron, the 83rd and the 84 Fighter Interceptor Squadrons, lined in rows and waiting.

I recently made contact with a member of our radar shop there at Hamilton in 1962. On Facebook I asked him what he remembered about The Cuban Missile Crisis. He answered:

"Being freaked out! DEFCON 5 minute birds immediately scramble. Within 10 minutes the NUKE armed birds took off. All aircraft full armament load departed as they were loaded. No one had a clue as to what or where they went. We knew that it took the president to launch the 15 min nuke birds. Strange when all of the planes were gone. Loaded flyaway kits on C-123's and they departed with support troops. Still did not where they were going. Worst part was not being able to contact my Brothers. John was in an Atlas missile crew, on launch hold Warren AFB Wyoming. My Brother Mike 60th FIS Otis went to Key West Naval station. There was no place to park planes there, they had 3 Voodoo squadrons there." On Facebook, more than 50 years later.


The experience of crisis was spiked first by the the loading of weapons, including the Genie nuclear rockets. President Kennedy's address to the nation confirmed our suspicions and magnified our sense of how serious it was. When the teletype machine in the radar shop printed out the DEFCON 3 alert, that was a huge spike.

On the left is a picture of a crew rushing to take an "alert bird" into flight. On the right is the pilot's cockpit. Most often we spent our time in the back seat, the domain of the radar operator/navigator. One plane flew a large number of consecutive usuccessful misssions because of a radar display problem. It always worked on the ground, but never when airborne.Turned out it was a problem with a coaxial cable passing through a pressurized bulkhead. When at altitude the pressure differential between the inside and outside of the cockpit pushed the pin in the cable far enough to break contact. In the picture on the right you can see part of the pilot's right rudder pedal. The cable at issue came through the bulkead in front of the rudder pedal. My head was on the rudder pedal and I couldn't see what I was doing with my hands over my head to repair the cable.

One day they took me to the alert barn to make an adjustment on the radar scope. One that the radar operator would normally make. There were guards with rifles all around. As I climbed the ladder to the back seat I took a peak into the pilot's cockpit. I saw the two red "Arm" switches for the nuclear weapons on board. On the right, near the pilot's knee, safety-wired. That was the peak intensity for me and something I won't forget.


As a story there is a problem with the Cuban Missile Crises. A story wants incresing concern to the breaking point and then resolution. For about a week the tension escalated steadily. It was hard to imagine anything more critical, other than nuclear war itself.

Then nothing happened.

12 hour shifts with virtually no work to do. Double deck hearts, games that went on forever, chess, pinocle, watching movies, waiting.........

There was a settlement that ended the crisis, though it wasn't for decades that the details would be declassified. The danger appeared to be over. This appearance however is deceptive. The number of missiles, with nuclear weapons, has dimished, but their capacity has not. And they all have their targets programmed and the programs all have their attack geometries. The math is working against humanity. It is little comfort that our enemies computers are older and less reliable than ours



The threat of nuclear war has not diminished since 1962! Existing weapons have not been accounted for! There is a threat of nuclear proliferation! The intervals of opportunity diminish as the Attack Geometry counts down!



"Mutual assured destruction or mutually assured destruction (MAD) is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender (see pre-emptive nuclear strike and second strike). It is based on the theory of deterrence, which holds that the threat of using strong weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy's use of those same weapons. The strategy is a form of Nash equilibrium in which, once armed, neither side has any incentive to initiate a conflict or to disarm."


 My experience of the Cuban Crisis as a weapons control mechanic, as a 21-year-old Air Force airman, on the flight line as it unfolded, led me to think more seriously about how we defend our nation and the role of nuclear weapons in this. Is there another path to peace? Over 50 years I've studied and contemplated this question. One of the quicker conclusions was that the strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) is just what the acronymn says. It is a collective madness, within which we have been trapped. Another possibility is that the mathematics of Attack Geometry might put us on the path of nuclear holocaust. The pace of technological change in the world makes it hard for society and government to keep up. Attack Geometry Part II will trace further the evolution of nuclear weapons in our world and will examine the evolution of nuclear weapons in a Cold War environment. We will look at the cornerstones of a nuclear deterence theory that was once very influential. We will consider what can be done to reduce the risk and to end the existence of such weapons. A more adequate world peace is possible.

To Be Continued