U.S.-Russian space crew watched movie ‘Thirteen Days’
by Don White
FORT MEAD, MD – Four decades after the United States and Soviet Union edged to the brink of nuclear war, the joint Russian-American crew of the International Space Station got to watch together in February of 2001 a movie about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Wow! Who could have predicted that?
I mentioned in my two new employment blogs that I launched this week called WOW1 and WOW, World Of Work, what was on the horizon if Obama is elected US president. Read to the end of this article, then click over to http://Wow1Employment.blogspot.com
It is a free blog where I hope to mount a campaign to help, gratis, the mounting number of unemployed in America find jobs.
Senator Biden Said It
Even Obama’s own running mate, Senator (the mouth) Biden, said it. He said during the first six months of an Obama term in office there would be a severe test of his leadership capability. John McCain and Sarah Palen picked up on this theme and have been assuring the American public that there will not be a crisis of leadership with McCain as president. But the inexperienced Barak Obama will face a crisis because he doesn’t understand foreign affairs or the economy. How can he, he’s never run anything except his campaign? But because of McCain’s greater knowledge, judgment, service, experience and foreign policy savvy, the country can rest assured that we will be safe as we have been the past seven years.
Do Democrats feel good about voting for a man who could thrust us into World War III?
Is Barak Obama Like John F. Kennedy?
Obama has been compared to John F. Kennedy in experience and social savoir faire, in speech, in dress, in dash and good looks. Kennedy was severely tested by a wily Nikita Khrushchev when he started installing missile silos with warheads aimed at the US. I served in the 142nd MI Linguist Company and, along with some of my friends, was stationed at Fort Mead, Maryland. We were taking aerial reconaissance training–imagine that! We were training on the real stuff–the aerial photos straight from the battle lines, as it were. These were fresh shots, straight from Tac/R — Tactical Reconnaissance cameras in US planes, taken over a two week time frame, and reviewed by us at the very moment the historic event took place. An event that shook the planet and could have changed the world forever.
Our staff sergeant instructors for the first half of the training were quickly reassigned to TAD and helicoptered onto the naval destroyers circling Cuba. This assignment was labeled AAA — Emergency, top priority, extreme urgency. They belonged to the APIU — Aerial Photographic Interpretation Unit–the very experts relied upon by Defense and State–and ultimately, Kennedy–to read what was transpiring on the ground.
Almost every moment of this 13-day crisis we were able to learn from these American army and airforce experts, who had become our friends, using fresh aerial photos of the Russian ships moored at Cuban docks, the silos that were camouflaged but discernible to the trained eye. Using sequenced fly-over photography we could piece together the dots, we could make out the long cylindrical shapes of the missiles, the trucks they were transported on and their eventual destination and installation site. Yes, they had gotten some of them installed before Kennedy set off the alarm heard around the world.
Importantly, John McCain was on one of those carriers or destroyers–in on the biggest Cold War crisis of the past fifty years but Obama wasn’t, he was only born August 4, 1961, one year earlier.
We Blockaded Cuba For 13 Days
I lived every moment of it as personnel from Mead were rushed aboard ships circling Cuba, sending back to us the actual photos, the proof of the horrific act of war Russia was putting us through–primarily because of Kennedy’s inexperience and assumed naivete–and we heard the war of words going on between the leaders of the two greatest nations of the earth as they stood on the brink of war.
Afterwards, leaders and those closest to the action said America and Russia came within a whisker of war. Before Kennedy stared Khrushchev in the eye and the Russian blinked, there were many who predicted a nuclear holocaust. We were fortunate to have come out of this crisis without starting World War III.
Obama’s Lack of Experience Is Dangerous
That’s the kind of thing Obama’s inexperience will thrust upon us if he is elected president. He can’t change that. It’s a reality. His words and assurances to the American public now cannot change his history, his political leanings and his reckless lack of judgment which he has displayed time and time again during his life and during this presidential campaign.
The US-Soviet agreement was that Khrushchev would dismantle his missiles and in return we would take down our missiles in Turkey and stop overflying and photographing Russian soil. Reference the U-2 incident, the shooting down of Captain Gary Powers, the Moscow trial of an American spy, and finally the exchange of spies between these two nations, freeing Powers. Exciting times! In 1961 I was there. With a group of Intourist visitors to Moscow, my shoes clicked hollow on the wood floors of this quaint white wooden gingerboard courthouse where Powers was tried and convicted.
Russian And US Astronauts Shoulder To Shoulder
Think of it–Russian and US astronauts side by side in space watching a movie, a DVD copy of “Thirteen Days,” the Kevin Costner film about the U.S.-Soviet showdown over nuclear-tipped missiles installed on Cuba in October of 1962,! What thoughts were going through their heads? The three- man shuttle Atlantis held two Russians and one American headed for the space station. Imagine the emotions and contrary feelings they must have felt.
The movie was one of several DVD titles provided by New Line Cinema, a unit of AOL Time Warner, for the viewing pleasure of American astronaut William Shepherd and his two cosmonaut crew mates — Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev who both spoke English.
Imagine the irony of U.S. astronauts and Russian cosmonauts enjoying a movie together about the most dangerous moment of the Cold War.
“There’s something poetic about the fact that not so long ago we were toe to toe, and now we’re shoulder to shoulder,” said Joshua Ravetch, one of the New Line production resource specialists who helped arrange the DVD delivery.
Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev each worked 18 hours a day with weekends off to relax, exercise, read or watch movies, though looking out the window of the spacecraft was reported to be their favorite pastime, NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said.
He said watching movies in orbit was commonplace for astronauts visiting the Russian space station Mir starting in 1996, but the short duration and busy schedule of shuttle missions never allowed for such leisure time, he said. The earlier U.S. Skylab station was not equipped with a tape player.