by Dr. David F. Felsburg, Ph. D.
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“Wounded Eagle” is a fictional account of actual events that took place during the US-USSR Cold War of the late 1970’s. The title was a top secret code word used to describe situations which reduced or eliminated advance warning of an aircraft attack on the US Capital. Such warnings are provided based on a network of long range radar sensors deployed on or near the US coastline. Digital data from these sensors are combined and integrated into overall aircraft status pictures covering hundreds of miles over the ocean and an equal distance inland. The FAA and NORAD use these data jointly for real-time air route traffic control and early warning of intrusion or attack of the homeland. The Fort Lee AFS Direction Center in central Virginia provided data to NORAD to accomplish those functions for the Mid-Atlantic States including Washington, DC.
At 0430 hours (EDT) on Monday, 8 August 1977, the NORAD Command Post within the Cheyenne Mountain Complex was notified that an air conditioning failure in the Fort Lee AFS Direction Center had caused severe damage to their air defense computers. The loss of all data from Fort Lee forced the NORAD Command Director to declare “Wounded Eagle.”