Friday, June 17, 2005

Earthquakes and Nukes

Back in the late 80's I was stationed on NAS Adak, AK. It's a tiny little island in the Andreanof chain of the Aleutian Islands. The island was populated mostly by Squids but the Marines provided the security for the nukes.

Aside from being a listening post to keep an eye on the Soviets, we kept nuclear warheads for air to water torpedos in case we needed to take out a few Ruskie subs. We rotated out to the compound on 4 day duty cycles where the nuke bunkers were. I happened to be on duty during the first earthquake I ever experienced. I was about 25 yard from 4 nuclear warheads when it happened. I'm not really sure how big the earthquake was or how far from the epicenter we were, there was no information available to us back then. It tossed us around pretty good though; the barracks rumbled like it was hit by a convoy of duece and a halfs.

I know that an eartquake can't set off a nuke and I wasn't really worried that it would but there is still a psychological element involved that makes one stop and consider his mortality during such an event.

I said all of that to say this: The earthquakes in SoCal don't scare me because of that experience. At least if an earthquake took out the infrastructure here I could head east but on that island there was no where to go. Had the runway been destroyed, we would have had to wait for a Squid ship to come and pick us up. Imagine how embarassing it would be for the Marines if they had to be rescued by the Navy.