by Philip Jett
It was November 30, 1955, and the Cold War was raging. The U.S. had stockpiled 2,422 atomic bombs while the Soviets had only about 200, though more than ample to annihilate the United States. With the Soviet Union fewer than 2,000 miles away, the U.S. formed the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) to provide a timely defense system against intercontinental ballistic missiles fired by the Soviets over the North Pole and Canada that could strike the United States. CONAD’s command post was in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Colonel Harry W. Shoup directed its Combat Operations Center. He reported directly to four-star general Earle “Pat” Partridge, who in turn reported directly to President Eisenhower.