Civil Defense

Dear Editor:

For 13 days in October 1962, the world held its breath as it stood on the brink of nuclear war.

Some of your readers may recall how the city of Forks reacted: it excavated a small area just south of the park and began to erect a Quonset hut there. The hut was never finished and it remained that way for several years. Presumably, it was meant to house community members against radiation. I don’t know when it was dismantled and the hole was covered up.

People elsewhere were building underground shelters, which might at least have provided protection in cyclone-prone areas.

Because of the half-hearted, failed CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles in 1961, Castro was justified in fearing another attempt to overthrow his regime so he found N. Khrushchev’s offer to install missiles along his northern coast irresistible and it was done.

When U. S. spy planes discovered them, JFK announced a naval blockade of Cuba and U,S. ships intercepted Soviet ships headed for Cuba. A confrontation seemed inevitable.

The impasse was resolved when Kennedy and Khrushchev announced that the missiles would be returned to Russia in return for a promise by the U. S. not to invade Cuba. Secretly the U. S. agreed to remove our missiles located in Turkey near the Soviet border. All of this took place with a background of Cold War fear of communism by this country.

I need to point out that fears of radiation were stoked by the publication of a novel five years earlier by Nevil Shute. In it, Shute portrayed a group of Australians who were resigned to their fate as they awaited the arrival of the radiation from a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere.

Bob Hall

(I would be pleased if your archives could provide any more info about Forks’ involvement.)

Editors Note: as a matter of Fact the Editor has been researching this for some time and hopes to have a future article on the Tillicum Park Quonset Huts.