by Guy Spotts
I was born into the cold war between the United States and the old Soviet Union, my parents had grown up in the great depression. I don’t remember if it was the Cuban Missile Crisis or if it was before then when my father started to prep but with a weekly pay check of less than $75, we couldn’t afford to buy very many cans of extra beans.
But when we moved out of that 800 square foot house in 1975, I threw away the whole boxes of canned goods my father had put away.
Amazingly, the cans didn’t have any evidence of failure. Throughout my youth I replayed the battles of World War 2, using my Replica 1903 Springfield Parade Rifle that I had I added a wooden magazine to so it and made it M-14. I had picked up bunches of surplus military gear at flea markets to use in my battles.
Beyond that I was a scout which taught me self reliance how to adapt and overcome because I had to, my families low income made this paramount. I work a paper route delivering news papers for extra income. I know that some of my earnings were used for the family expenses and my change box was short off and on.
That’s life. I earned about $10 a month and was fairly happy. In high school my father passed away leaving me to care for the family and acting as the family driver. I went to school and provided the transportation for everyone in the family.
While in high school, the social studies department got funding to teach a program call American Wilderness. This included a backpacking program.
The wilderness club chartered buses once a month and held hikes to various locations. Some of the program covered survival skills using military training films to teach you tricks and skills. This and the 1971 earthquake caused me to believe I had to start planning for difference scenarios.
But it was the early 1970’s and the cold war was still very active. Nixon hadn’t gone to China, Reagan was still Governor of California and we didn’t know if the Soviets were going to nuke us.
I got married in 1982. I was at what I now call “the ranch” doing something outside, my prepping plans were never rushed, never war emergency until one day I saw three B-52’s over flying the area refueling off a KC-135 and heading for the ocean.
This was a wakeup call. After that my preps took on a new urgency no longer was yard work my primary concern. Over the years I had become trained as a practical Pistol and Rifle shooter and was fairly good. I even found a legal way to write it off my income tax.
I even helped out training new shooters weapons handling and safety. Around this time a second warning hit home I was just getting ready to jump in the truck to go off to night classes when a missile was launched out of Vandenberg AFB.
The view was much like this photo but it was punctuated with a staging of the second stage booster that filled the sky with a glowing orb of sunlit gas as the last of it fuel ran out. But again it warned me to prep and be ready for the war between the United States and the Soviet Union, the old monster was still there still rearing it head to add to my prep work.
As my family grew I had to grow with it using my skills as a scout master. Teaching wilderness survival skills and backpacking to the new scouts not always the scout way. The thing is this all grew out of the cold war and having so little to work with.
So the reason I prep is family. All of my actions have been to provide supplies, skills and support while many of my preps are nuclear war related, they crossover. Many of my job skills have become more prepper applicable with the changing of the threats. I prep because with the changing threats I still have to protect my family, and it seems like twice a year there is a new threat somewhere that I have to prep for.
Whether I prep for an earthquake, pandemic, coronal mass ejection (CME), electromagnetic pulse EMP, nuclear war, economic collapse, hyperinflation, depression, comet impact, asteroid strike, oil crisis, or a polar shift, zombies, and vampires…
Yes I do have a supply of wooden stakes stored, but not for vampires. They are for staking down a tarp or tent, but if by some quack of fate “Chance” my dog and I have to face down a hungry vampire, I have stockpiled garlic and wood stakes to wreck havoc on them blood sucking freaks. Oh crap, I forgot the holy water…
We’re good, it’s covered…
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7 thoughts on “I Was Born Into The Cold War…”
God article and nice read. I was borne in 1961. And I too remember the regular air raid sirens and played duck and cover in school. The sirens gave me that sick feeling deep in your stomach of impending doom, scared the crap out of me. My dad was on one of the ships during the Cuban block aid. three uncles and a cousin in Vietnam, My dad would made it there to, but they found out mid way there his brother was at Khe Sahn so at Okinawa they transferred my dad to a destroyer in the Mediterranean as ships medic. Crazy times.
The Cold War changed all of us who were born in that era. About age 12, I remember listening to Elmendorf AFB control B52s on Polar overwatch via shortwave. Anyone remember hearing, “Skyking, Skyking, do not answer, do not answer…”? Scary days they were and all of us Cold War survivors owe a huge debt to General Curtis LeMay who emerged from the Army Air Force to create the Strategic Air Command. As an IO at the end of the Cold War I realized the Soviets had been terrified at the thought of Gen. LeMay executing unrestricted warfare with his nuclear armed B52s for you see they knew what this warrior had done to the Germans and Japanese during WWII and knew at a visceral level he was a warrior that didn’t know half way measures. The last thing the Soviets wanted was a kneecap strike at Washington, DC as that would unleash Gen. LeMay and they were rightfully terrified of him operating without direct political control.
Thanks Guy for the trip down memory lane.
Guy-Exc. post and you have a great sense of humor. I liked your ready box with the crucifix. One only has to bless the water in the name of the Father,Son and Holy Spirit to make it “holy” . You had a challenging life but you have turned your exp. into positives-way to go !! Its people like you that keep us prepping.
Badger-my husband was in the navy during the Cuban blockade and he said it was truly a touch n go situation.
The Russians will use Cuba again if they can.Obama is a fool.Yes I remember the duck and hide under the desks exercises-scary indeed for a child.
Rourke- I couldnt comment on your other page-it kept saying expired. Your group sounds great- I am envious.
The camping exercise looked like fun and good practice for your son. Next time maybe your daughters can go.
We will blow some cool air your way-its in the 50s at night here and 70s during the day.
Everyone please bombard the White House with phone calls to cancel the Iran deal 1-202-456-1111
Looks like we have something in common (Arlene). I think it was a mistake to cease “Chrome Dome Operations” and dissolving SAC at (Panhandle Rancher).
Guy, thanks. With the current leadership of today (lack of) I do not believe the Russians or any one else fears us.
great read. . . .I remember my Dad talking about the missle batteries he would pass when working near Pittsburgh, PA. . . . born in 1960. . . grew up prepping, but didn’t know it. . . . a good read is “Alas, Babylon” a story of the aftermath of nuclear war. . .
Funny that you’d mention the Holy Water! Just tonight, I filled a small container from the Baptismal Fountain. We had a “Good Bye” reception in the church basement for the priest. He was retired by the Diocese due to ill health. So, while everyone stood in line to wish him well, I slipped upstairs on a clandestine mission. The church was so dark, I had to use my EDC Nebo Redline flashlight to navigate around. I stored the Holy Water with a box of Winchester .45 Long Colt silver tipped hollow points. No, I don’t believe in vampires or werewolves! But, after years of preparing for other disasters and emergencies, I realized that I had nothing to defend against paranormal attack. Perhaps I watched too many Exorcist films? Anyway, I enjoyed the article! Born in 1962, I am also of Cold War age. I actually fought it my first 10 years in the military. We may actually be drifting back toward a new Cold War……..