A few days earlier, the plane and its crew had been declared missing. The Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, had announced two of the US spy flight crew had been captured. The crewmen would stand trial as spies and, if convicted, executed. And the US base in England, from which the flight had originated, would be bombed. Within days, thousands of “Ban the Bomb” protesters were outside the base fences, being held back by the British Army. Inside the fences, US Air Force security guards, responsible for the protection of the nuclear armed and fueled Strategic Air Command Bombers, were betting on which of them would be the first. The first to kill a protester who cleared the inner fence. I remembered, while reflecting back on my life, that this wasn’t an everyday occurrence. But it was one of many life-changing events that potentially could have changed the world.
While searching through my memories to answer my own question, Why am I me? and to answer my grown children’s many questions about our family, I decided to write down the answers. The result was this book—a book about the Cold War and the men who fought it, a story about the men and tangentially their families, who served on the front lines, protecting us from the threat of Communism. But the book is about more than the Cold War and nuclear brinksmanship. It’s a book about heroism, heartbreak, courage, spies, sacrifice, suicides, and murders. And it is still a book that answers my questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I me?” Now I know!