The Cold War nearly exploded 50 years ago this week when the U.S.learned that the Soviet Union was placing nuclear missiles in Cuba.
On Oct. 22, 1962, North American Aerospace Defense Command went on alert for more than 36 days, the longest air defense alert since the wend of World War II, according to a NORAD news story.
NORAD’s role would have been to support any invasion of Cuba and defend air bases in Florida, the news story says.
“About 150 NORAD fighter jets were stationed in Florida on a five-minute alert along with 12 Army air defense batteries, 18 early warning aircraft and five Navy picket ships,” according to the story. “Another 150 aircraft were quietly dispersed around the country just in case things got hot, and the entire dispersal operation was done in less than six hours.”
In the end, nuclear war was averted and the Cold War ended nearly 40 years later when the Soviet Union broke apart and communism with it.