Saturday, March 8, 2014

A day trip, a peek at the government's survival bunker (Mt. Weather, or High Point) in the Virginia Blue Ridge

On a little day trip this Saturday, when it finally warmed up to about 60 degrees, I drove the secondary road along the northern, lower section of the Virginia Blue Ridge, north from US 50 to Route 70.  There are a lot of ample homes and “no trespassing” for private property, many owners probably living very much in the Second Amendment, perhaps Doomsday Prepper world.  About two-thirds of the distance north one encounters FEMA’s Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, fenced off and most of it not very easy to see from the road.  It is also called the High Point Special Facility (HPSF). It appears to be at about 1000 feet elevation.  Despite the warm temperatures, (about 55 F) there was still a lot of snow around. 
The facility was apparently first constructed in the 1950s as the Cold War ramped up, and it seems to be the preferred location for US officials and members of Congress to be taken in an emergency.  Some were apparently airlifted there on 9/11. 

In fact, in August 1997, just before I moved to Minnesota and after publishing my first book, I visited the huge bunker underneath the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs W Va, in a higher part of the Alleghenies.  That facility actually had full meeting space and bunk space for both houses of Congress.

Little is said publicly about the capabilities of the HPSF. 

Was I motivated to go because of Putin’s recent behavior?  It seems like the potential enemies are always changing, from Al Qaeda, to Iran, North Korea, and suddenly, again. Russia. 

PBS, remember, broadcast a film “The Man Who Saved the World” (Oct. 23, 2012) claiming that a Russian submarine commander personally decided not to fire a nuclear weapon at the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. 

In tenth grade, in 1958, I wrote a short story in which a lifeguard has to decide whether to save someone when a nuclear airraid warning goes off, and there isn’t a happy ending.     
Is this business about Ukraine and Crimea remotely dangerous to the US homeland?
I do remember, when stationed at Ft. Eustis in 1969, most of the soldiers saw the Soviet Union as a real enemy, but not North Vienam, and not even China.  Of course, then people didn’t quite get what Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution had done.   

Wikipedia attribution link for Mt. Weather Picture. Mt. Weather

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