|Preview: Wounded ...
Preview: Wounded Eagle
Wounded Eagle is a fictional account of actual events that took place in the late 1970s during the US-USSR Cold War. The title was actually a top secret code word used to describe situations that reduced or eliminated advance warning of an aircraft attack on the US Capital. Such advanced warnings are provided by a network of long-range radar sensors deployed on or near North American borders. Digital data from these sensors are combined and integrated into overall aircraft status presentations covering hundreds of miles over the ocean and an equal distance inland. The FAA and NORAD jointly use this data for real-time air traffic control as well as early warning of intrusion or attack on the homeland. The 20th NORAD Region (20 NR), originally named the Washington Air Defense Sector (WADS) at Fort Lee AFS, VA, provided data to NORAD to accomplish those functions for the Mid-Atlantic States including Washington, DC.
In the early morning hours of 8 August 1977, the 20 NR Senior Director made an emergency telephone call to NORAD Headquarters at Cheyenne Mountain AFS, CO, to report an air conditioning system failure in the Fort Lee AFS Blockhouse. The residual heat from more than 49,000 high-voltage vacuum tubes in the AN-FSQ-7 computers would force a facility evacuation even though the computer power was shut down immediately after air conditioning system failure. As a result, the 20 NR could provide no integrated warning, flight-path tracking or intruder interception of aircraft attacking the Mid-Atlantic States, including the nation’s capital. Without air conditioning, the temperatures within the blockhouse could quickly ignite fires on all four floors, making near-term recovery unlikely. In other words, Washington’s Air Defense System was down and there was no estimated time of recovery. NORAD designated the situation Wounded Eagle.