Saturday, May 24, 2014

Growing up Under a (Mushroom) Cloud

1950's School room defense tactics
 I don't believe there was a better time nor place to grow up when we did than in America; and yes, Charlotte, North Carolina.

It would have been almost perfect, if it hadn't been for that black cloud...that was always in the back of our minds; the  thought that we could all be nuked at any moment.

World War Three was never totally out of our thoughts because from 1947 until the 1990's there was always the real possibility that sooner or later it would begin.

Our leaders and our Military war planners had a code word for it. It was a word very few of us had ever heard and indeed still have no idea what or where it is.

The word was FULDA.

Fulda is a small town in West Germany and just on the outskirts is the Fulda Gap, which was  the most heavily armed place on earth. More than a million U.S.and Soviet soldiers were lined up not 400 yards apart.That's where intelligence sources said World War Three would most likely start.

U2 Pilot Powers
It almost did on May 1, 1960 when Francis Gary Power's U2 spy plane was shot out of the sky over Soviet Russia.

 "Don't you fly into the Soviet Union! Don't you fly into the socialist countries!" Khrushchev demanded. "Respect sovereignty and know your limits! If you don't know your limits, we will strike!" 

American defenses went on alert.
Fulda Tunnel

An Army special weapons officer from the 23rd Engineer Battalion  (Armored Division) and his platoon were immediately sent to the nearby Fulda tunnel.....which separated the opposing armies...with a fully armed Atomic Bomb and the "Target Folder," taken from the super secure"safe,"which contained the activation codes needed for detonation and  orders to destroy the tunnel.

Had cooler heads not prevailed, A 1954 graduate of
Central High School would have set off America's first Atomic
bomb of World War Three.

His name: Obie Oakley.
Fascinating stuff, indeed!


Obie in Fulda

 Obie writes about this and much more in his latest book, MAKING OF A SOLDIER, which is both a personal journey and a close up look at the men of our military in potentially the most dangerous place and era of our lifetime.

Those who know Obie best often describe him as a "born" soldier.

But as far as I could discover, that aspect of his personality didn't begin until 1941, when he was 5 years old...and continues to this day.
Obie in 1941 

He wrote the book as a fund raising effort for the Freedom Foundation which honors veterans.

If you would like to view a free online version, contact him at for that link.

A printed copy is available for a $50 donation.  Go to  Click Donate

Editor's note: As far as experts can determine, this was the only such deployment in U.S. Military history. Obie's commander at Fulda was  Colonel
Harry Mumma who has been quoted in recent years regarding  Obie's Atomic bomb deployment:

"As an afterthought, it is hard to imagine that a 23
year old 1LT and his platoon were being entrusted with the responsibility of setting off a nuclear device!"

Obie Oakley

Reminder: Twenty years ago, Obie and two friends
raised the money to build the Vietnam War
Veterans Memorial in uptown’s Thompson
Park. He’s chaired boards and he’s been a
prime force behind the Carolinas Freedom
Foundation, which puts on the yearly
Veterans Day parade