Guarding the Cold War Ramparts
The U.S. Navy’s Role in Continental Air Defense


Captain Joseph F. Bouchard, U.S. Navy

HOMELAND DEFENSE WAS PUSHED to the top of the national security agenda when
in August 1998 North Korea’s flight test of its Taep’o- dong 1 ballistic
missile sparked a renewed debate over national missile defense. The Navy
has become embroiled in that debate because its theater ballistic missile
defense programs could provide a foundation for developing a sea-based
national missile defense. It is seldom remembered that the Navy in the
recent past took on a significant homeland defense mission—continental air
defense. The Navy excelled at the continental air defense mission but found
it difficult to reconcile with its other missions of sea control, power
projection, and forward presence. That experience is worth examining as we
contemplate our role in national defense today.

The Cold War took a serious turn for the worse in 1954. During the early
postwar years, the United States had been able to rely on superior military
technology, particularly its sole possession of nuclear weapons, to counter
the huge Soviet armies threatening Western Europe. The United States
possessed an arsenal of long-range bombers and carrier-based naval aircraft
capable of delivering nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union. The Soviets
had exploded their first atomic device in 1949, but they lacked credible
delivery systems to threaten the United States directly. In 1954, however,
American superiority in delivery systems appeared to disappear almost

On 15 February 1954, Aviation Week published a sensational article
describing powerful new Soviet bombers capable of delivering nuclear
weapons at intercontinental ranges.1 This and subsequent revelations over
the next year and a half ignited a firestorm of controversy over alleged
Soviet superiority in long-range bombers, dubbed the “bomber gap.”2 The
U.S. Air Force, adhering to its doctrine of offensive air power, reacted to
widespread concern about Soviet air power by pressing for accelerated
production of the new B-52 bomber, but it also reluctantly endorsed calls
for expanded air defense forces.

The first postwar American air defense efforts had been launched in 1948,
in response to the Berlin blockade and early Soviet displays of their
bombers, but with limited funding and largely obsolete equipment. This
initial system covered only the northeastern United States; the Seattle and
Hanford, Washington, area (Hanford being critical for atomic weapon
production and within range of Soviet bombers); and the Albuquerque and Los
Alamos, New Mexico, area (Los Alamos was involved in atomic weapon research
and development). This initial system was expanded into an air defense
system called LASHUP that also covered California, the upper Middle West,
and the Tennessee Valley (where there were Atomic Energy Commission
facilities critical to the atomic weapons program). From 1949 to 1954,
LASHUP included early warning patrols by Navy radar picket destroyer
escorts and PB-1W and PO-1W airborne early warning aircraft to guard the
seaward approaches to the northeastern United States. Interest in
bolstering the air defenses of the continental United States intensified
after the Soviet nuclear test in 1949, and even before LASHUP became
operational in 1950, studies had begun on a system to defend the entire
continental United States. The first air surveillance radar system covering
the entire northern approach to the United States—the “Pine Tree Line,”
stretching across southern Canada—became operational in 1951, but it was
viewed as insufficient, because it provided inadequate warning time of a
Soviet attack. Early warning patrols by Navy ships and aircraft off the
northeastern United States continued after the Pine Tree Line was

Growing concern over the inadequacy of U.S. air defenses and the
vulnerability of strategic air bases in the United States to attack by
Soviet bombers led the Air Force in 1951 to initiate a study of air defense
technology, designated Project LINCOLN, because it was led by the Lincoln
Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)—the center of
radar development during World War II. In the summer of 1952, a special
assessment of the overall U.S. air defense system was conducted that
brought together Project LINCOLN scientists with analysts from other
research centers. The LINCOLN summer study recommended a crash program to
build a line of early warning radars across northern Canada. The armed
services, especially the Air Force, were reluctant to endorse such an
ambitious project, due to its cost; its demands would compete with other
budget priorities at a time when newly elected President Dwight Eisenhower
was making clear his intent to hold the line on defense spending.
Nevertheless, the Eisenhower administration quickly initiated a program,
known as “Project 572,” to build the Distant Early Warning Line. The DEW
Line was completed across Alaska in 1953 and across northern Canada in
1956; it was declared fully operational in 1957.3

Much more than early warning radar, however, was needed to improve
continental air defense. The Army, Navy and Air Force all had air defense
forces, but there was no coordination among them and no overall plan for
defending the nation’s airspace. To provide centralized command and control
of air defense efforts, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) was
established on 1 September 1954. Headquartered at Ent Air Force Base in
Colorado Springs, Colorado, CONAD was a joint command, reporting directly
to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The commander of the Air Force Air Defense
Command was “dual hatted” as the commander in chief of CONAD (CINCCONAD).
As the DEW Line extended across Canada between 1954 and 1956, it became
clear that close coordination of American and Canadian air defense forces
would be needed to engage effectively Soviet bombers penetrating North
American airspace. Agreement was reached in August 1957, after lengthy
negotiations, and the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) was
officially established on 12 September. CINCCONAD now gained an additional
title as commander in chief of NORAD.4

The U.S. Navy’s Role in Continental Air Defense

The Navy had gained significant experience in air defense during World War
II. In the battles of Coral Sea and Midway and in several other
engagements, the Navy had learned hard lessons on how to defend carrier
task forces. These lessons had led to important developments in air search
radar, combat direction systems, and air-intercept-control procedures. The
Navy’s bitter experience with Japanese kamikaze suicide planes late in the
war had generated intense interest in the development of radar systems for
long-range detection of low-flying aircraft. The Navy had deployed radar
picket destroyers late in the war but had concluded that airborne
surveillance platforms were necessary for extended detection ranges.5

In 1944, the Navy launched the first program for the development of
airborne early warning radar and aircraft, thereby taking the lead in this
vital technology. Lincoln Laboratory (then known as the Radiation
Laboratory), working closely with the Naval Research Laboratory at Naval
Air Station Anacostia in Washington, D.C., developed an airborne radar and
a radio link to transmit radar video to displays in a ship’s combat
information center (CIC). This system was installed in TBM torpedo bombers
(designated the TBM-3W, the W standing for airborne early warning). By the
time flight trials began in January 1945, however, the Navy had concluded
that the video link did not permit the TBM-3W to operate at the ranges from
its carrier task force necessary for early warning. The solution was to
place the CIC in the aircraft. Commander Lucien F. “Red” Dodson proposed
mounting the APS-20, a one-megawatt air search radar, in a large,
long-range, land-based aircraft. Commander Dodson was placed in command of
Patrol Bomber Squadron 101 (VPB 101), based at Naval Air Station Willow
Grove, Pennsylvania, and development efforts began, using two Boeing B-17
Flying Fortress test beds already in the Navy inventory.6

For its first land-based airborne early warning aircraft, the Navy in 1945
purchased twenty new B-17Gs and modified each to the PB-1W configuration by
sealing shut its bomb bay, removing the armament, and mounting an APS-20
air search radar in a large dome beneath the fuselage. The first PB-1Ws
were delivered to VPB 101 in the spring of 1946; the Navy was to purchase a
total of thirty-one. The PB-1W was a delight to fly, being much lighter
than the original B-17G, but its lack of cabin pressurization made it cold
and uncomfortable for the men operating the radar and tracking systems. In
late 1946 VPB 101 was moved to Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode
Island, and redesignated Airborne Early Warning Development Squadron Four
(VX 4). VX 4 moved from Quonset Point to Naval Air Station Patuxent River,
Maryland, in July 1948; “Pax River,” as it was commonly known, became the
center of Navy airborne early warning for the next seventeen years. Lessons
learned from flying the PB-1W were applied to development of the Lockheed
PO-1W (a redesigned Lockheed 749 Constellation airliner later designated
WV-1), which first flew in 1949, and to the highly successful Lockheed WV-2
(based on the famous L-1049G Super Constellation), which was first
delivered to the Navy in 1954.7

When the mission of defending America’s seaward flanks against Soviet
long-range bombers arose, the Navy was ready with combat-proven radar
picket ships, state-of-the-art airborne early warning aircraft, and
significant air defense experience. Additionally, the Navy was already
conducting surface and airborne radar surveillance patrols. A number of
radar picket destroyer escorts (DERs)—World War II–vintage destroyer
escorts brought out of “mothballs” and modernized with SPS-6 and SPS-8 air
search radars—had been conducting limited radar picket patrols off the East
Coast of the United States since 1951, extending radar coverage beyond the
eastern end of the Pine Tree Line. VX 4 had been flying airborne early
warning patrols with PB-1Ws since 1946 and with PO-1Ws since 1949.8

Although the Navy had the systems and expertise to do the job right,
Admiral John J. Hyland, who commanded the Atlantic barrier forces from
December 1959 to September 1960, has indicated that the Navy was reluctant
to accept the barrier patrol mission:

When the concept was first suggested, the Navy disagreed in the Joint Staff
that it was essential. But when it became clear that someone was going to
do it and it really was a chore over the sea, the Navy decided that it
would be better to do it themselves rather than for some other service to
do it. That’s how the Navy got the job.9

The primary reason for the Navy’s reluctance to assume the barrier patrol
mission was the cost of operating and maintaining the forces that would be
required. This concern was borne out by the eleven years the barriers were
operational. Continual funding constraints made it difficult to devote
sufficient resources to the mission.10

The Navy began detailed operational planning in 1953 for air surveillance
radar patrols off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, using land-based
aircraft and radar picket ships reporting to Air Force air defense control
centers ashore. A system of two radar barriers was established in September
1954 to guard the Atlantic and Pacific flanks of the United States. The
Inshore Barrier consisted of Air Force ground-based air surveillance radars
established along the Atlantic seaboard and mounted on three “Texas Towers”
off the coast of New England, and of Air Force EC-121 airborne early
warning aircraft, derived from the Navy WV-2. The offshore barriers—known
as the Atlantic and Pacific Contiguous Barriers—were the Navy’s
responsibility. Although CONAD had requested that the Navy fill a total of
nineteen radar picket stations, the Navy was able to fill only ten—five on
each coast—due to funding constraints.11 In November 1960 the Navy
recommended that the Pacific Contiguous Barrier be disestablished, but
NORAD disagreed, and the Joint Chiefs directed that it remain in

To provide centralized direction to the Navy effort, Commander Naval Forces
CONAD (COMNAVFORCONAD) was established on 1 September 1954, at Ent Air
Force Base. The first COMNAVFORCONAD had a staff of about forty-five
personnel. Under him were three Navy commands supporting the major CONAD
regions: Commander Naval Forces (COMNAVFOR) Eastern CONAD Region, COMNAVFOR
coordinated the assignment and scheduling of Navy forces assigned to the
air defense mission—radar picket ships, airborne early warning aircraft and
airships, and fighter aircraft—but they were under the operational control
of CONAD regional operations centers (ROCs).13

The Navy also placed jet fighters under Air Force control for continental
air defense. VF(AW) 3, based at Naval Air Station North Island in San
Diego, California, was placed under Air Force operational control in
December 1955. This was the only Navy squadron permanently under Air Force
operational control for air defense, and it twice won Air Defense Command’s
best-unit award. VF(AW) 3 primarily protected the seaward approaches to
southern California, but from 1961 to 1963 it also deployed a detachment to
Key West to augment air defenses in southern Florida. Also, Navy
carrier-based jet fighters (operating out of their home air stations
ashore) were available to augment continental air defense forces in an
emergency. In 1957, for example, an average of 1,200 Navy fighters were
reported as being available to COMNAVFORCONAD for this mission. During the
1962 Cuban missile crisis, VF 41, flying the brand-new F-4H Phantom II
fighter, deployed to Key West under Air Force control to augment air
defense forces for southern Florida.14

As the Inshore and Contiguous Barriers were becoming operational, the need
for a third radar barrier farther out to sea as an extension of the DEW
Line was recognized. Detailed planning for the Atlantic and Pacific
extensions of the DEW Line began in 1955. The Atlantic Barrier became
operational in 1956 and the Pacific Barrier in 1958.15

The Atlantic Barriers

The Atlantic Contiguous Barrier stretched along the East Coast from Cape
Cod to North Carolina. The barrier consisted of five radar picket stations
(Stations 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20) about three hundred nautical miles off
the coast. Originally, each picket station reported to a separate East
Coast Air Force base air defense direction center (ADDC), but over the
years the Air Force reorganized its air defense forces. From 1959 onward,
Stations 12 and 14 reported to the ADDC at Otis Air Force Base in
Massachusetts, and Stations 16, 18, and 20 reported to the ADDC at Cape
Charles Air Force Base in Virginia.16

The radar picket stations on the Contiguous Barrier were, as noted,
originally patrolled by DERs. The DERs were withdrawn on 31 March 1960 in
favor of radar picket ships (AGRs), which had been converted from
Liberty-type cargo vessels between 1957 and 1959.

For almost two years, beginning in late 1954, WV-2 airborne early warning
aircraft, which were just entering the Navy inventory, supplemented the
DERs on the Contiguous Barrier. In mid-1956 these highly capable aircraft
were shifted to more demanding duties on the newly established North
Atlantic barrier. ZPG-2W and ZPG-3W airborne early warning airships flying
out of Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, were another part of the
Navy air defense effort from 1954 to 1962. Assigned to the Inshore Barrier,
they provided radar coverage in the area between the DERs on the Contiguous
Barrier and the ground-based radars of the Inshore Barrier.17

The Atlantic extension of the DEW Line was designated the Atlantic Barrier,
and Commander Barrier Force Atlantic (COMBARFORLANT) was established in
July 1955 to control the ships and aircraft that would patrol it.
COMBARFORLANT headquarters was located at U.S. Naval Station Argentia,
Newfoundland, Canada, one of the bases acquired by the United States in
1941 under the Lend-Lease deal with the United Kingdom. COMBARFORLANT,
designated Commander Task Force 82 (CTF 82) in the CINCLANTFLT task
organization, also served as Commander AEW Wing Atlantic (COM- AEWINGLANT),
providing the planes that conducted the airborne early warning patrols.18

Testing of the Atlantic Barrier began in 1956. That summer USS Strickland
(DER 333) made the first radar picket patrol, and WV-2s began airborne
early warning patrols. The Atlantic Barrier, which officially became
operational on 2 July 1957, consisted of four radar picket stations at
250-nautical-mile intervals from Newfoundland to the Azores. Four WV-2s
were kept in the air at all times conducting airborne early warning
patrols. (Budget cuts later reduced the number of planes on patrol at any
one time to two.) All air contacts detected by the DERs or WV-2s were
reported to COMBARFORLANT for evaluation, which consisted of comparing the
contact’s track with the flight plans of civil aircraft expected to be in
the area. Any electronic emissions that could be correlated with the
contact were also used to help identify it. Unidentified air contacts were
passed on to NORAD headquarters for further evaluation and a decision
whether or not to scramble fighters to intercept it.19

Fidel Castro’s seizure of power in 1959 soon raised new security issues for
the United States. As Castro established closer relations with the Soviet
Union, including extensive military cooperation, concerns arose that Soviet
aircraft could threaten the United States from bases in Cuba. In April
1961, in the aftermath of the aborted invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs,
the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed NORAD to execute Operation SOUTHERN TIP,
which established a radar picket station to monitor the airspace between
Cuba and southern Florida.20

The SOUTHERN TIP station of the Atlantic Contiguous Barrier was located
about a hundred nautical miles east of Key West, eighty nautical miles
south of Miami, and ninety miles from the coast of Cuba. Both DERs and AGRs
were used to patrol the SOUTHERN TIP station, which was well positioned to
detect air contacts heading northward from Cuba toward Florida.
Unidentified air contacts were reported to the CONAD Control Center Key
West, Florida, code named “Brownstone.”21

In mid-1961, additional Air Force long-range radar stations became
operational, extending the eastern end of the DEW Line across Greenland.
This covered a portion of the approaches being guarded by the Atlantic
Barrier, but there was still a gap between the DEW Line and Nato’s Allied
Command Europe Early Warning System, the western end of which was in
Scotland. The better to utilize the Navy barrier patrol forces, plans were
made to disestablish the Atlantic Barrier on 1 July 1961 and replace it
with a Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK) Early Warning Barrier. To
control the new GIUK Barrier, COMBARFORLANT, at this time Rear Admiral
Robert N. Moore, shifted his headquarters from Argentia to Keflavik,
Iceland. Admiral Moore gave up command of AEWINGLANT in the move but gained
additional responsibilities as Commander Iceland Defense Force and as
Commander Nato Fleet Air Wing North Atlantic Sub-Area. A few days before
the GIUK Barrier was to become operational, however, the Air Force notified
the Navy that its new radar stations in Greenland were not ready and that
the Atlantic Barrier would have to remain in operation for another month.
This caused pandemonium, as deployments to Keflavik were nearly complete,
but the new COMAEWINGLANT was able to pull together sufficient resources to
patrol the Atlantic Barrier for another month. Finally, on 1 August 1961,
the GIUK Barrier became operational.22

From Keflavik, COMBARFORLANT controlled two airborne early warning patrol
stations and two surface radar picket stations. The two airborne stations,
one to the west and one to the east of Iceland, were patrolled by Navy
WV-2s flying out of Keflavik. The airborne patrol in the Greenland-Iceland
gap was filled about 70 percent of the time, at random intervals; the
airborne patrol in the Iceland-U.K. gap was filled all the time. The two
surface radar picket stations were located similarly, one to the west and
one to the east of Iceland. Air contacts were reported to the COMBARFORLANT
Operations Control Center for evaluation, and unidentified contacts were
passed on to NORAD. WV-2 crews would also debrief at the Operations Control
Center after each flight. In addition to patrolling the GIUK Barrier, the
forces assigned to COM- BARFORLANT participated in Navy, NORAD, and Nato
exercises. COMBARFORLANT forces also supported the International Ice Patrol
and frequently participated in search and rescue missions in the North

The WV-2s were originally assigned to VW 11 and VW 15, both commissioned in
1955. Based at Patuxent River with the Airborne Early Warning Training Unit
Atlantic, these two squadrons flew Contiguous Barrier patrols in 1955 and
1956. When testing of the Atlantic Barrier began in July 1956, the two
squadrons began operating out of Argentia, which was much closer to the
barrier.24 The airborne early warning squadrons were very large, consisting
of about five hundred enlisted personnel and a hundred officers. Each
squadron had twelve complete flight crews of twenty-six men each. The
remaining personnel provided maintenance and support on the ground. During
the early 1960s, the Airborne Early Warning Training Unit Atlantic also
supported the Project MERCURY Recovery Forces (Task Force 140), flying
search missions out of Lajes in the Azores and Kindley Air Force Base in

From August 1961 onward, COMAEWINGLANT was also designated Commander
Argentia Barrier Group (COMBARARGENTIA), an operational commander reporting
to COMBARFORLANT. Navy contingency plans designated COMBARARGENTIA to
command the Argentia Sub-Air Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Barrier,
consisting of submarines and maritime patrol aircraft, should it be
activated during a period of increased threat to the United States. (This
barrier was in fact activated during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, but
no Soviet submarines attempted to penetrate it.) COMBARARGENTIA aircraft
also participated regularly in Navy and joint exercises along the Atlantic
seaboard, including the annual NORAD SKY SHIELD air defense exercises.26

The Pacific Barriers

The Pacific Contiguous Barrier stretched from Washington to central
California. The barrier consisted of five radar picket stations, Stations
1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, about three hundred nautical miles off the coast. As on
the East Coast, each picket station originally reported to an ADDC, but
reporting assignments changed over the years with Air Force
reorganizations. From 1959 on, Stations 1 and 3 reported to the ADDC at
McChord Air Force Base in Washington, Stations 5 and 7 reported to the ADDC
at Hamilton Air Force Base in northern California, and Station 9 reported
to the ADDC at Norton Air Force Base in southern California.27

As on the Atlantic coast, the radar picket stations on the Pacific
Contiguous Barrier were originally patrolled by DERs, the first DER patrol
being made in 1955. The DERs began to withdraw from the Pacific Contiguous
Barrier in June 1958; the last one departed in April 1959, leaving those
picket stations to AGRs. Navy WV-2s also patrolled the Contiguous Barrier,
until assigned to the Pacific DEW Line extension in 1957.28

The Pacific extension of the DEW Line, known as the Pacific Barrier, was
initially established for training and testing on 1 July 1957, with only
one and a half WV-2 patrols per day (and no DERs) on station. The Pacific
Barrier became fully operational on 1 July 1958, originally along an arc
from Midway Island in the central Pacific to Kodiak in the Aleutians. Due
to the barrier’s length, WV-2s patrolled the southern portion and DERs
patrolled the north. There were five DER radar picket stations at
two-hundred-nautical-mile intervals, with the northernmost station about
sixty miles southwest of Kodiak. The WV-2 patrols overlapped the two
southern DER stations. In April 1959 the northern end of the barrier was
shifted westward from Kodiak to Umnak Island, due to improved Air Force
ground radar coverage in the eastern Aleutians. Commander Barrier Force
Pacific (COMBARFORPAC), at Barbers Point, Hawaii, commanded the ships and
aircraft assigned to the Pacific Barrier. All air contacts detected by the
DERs or WV-2s were reported to COMBARFORPAC for evaluation (comparison with
civil aircraft flight plans and correlation with electronic intercepts).
Unidentified air contacts were passed on to NORAD headquarters for further
evaluation and a decision whether or not to scramble fighters.29

The first surface radar picket patrol on the Pacific Barrier was made by
USS Vance (DER 387) in July 1958. Initially only three DERs were on station
at a time, but by 1959 there were five DERs continually on patrol. The nine
DERs of Escort Squadron 7 (CORTRON 7) patrolled the barrier from 1958 to
1960, when the squadron was disestablished. Seven DERs of CORTRON 5
transferred from Seattle to Pearl Harbor between June 1958 and April 1959,
participating in barrier patrols through 1965.30

When operational planning for airborne early warning patrols began in 1953,
the Navy had one airborne early warning squadron in the Pacific: VW 1,
based at Barbers Point and operating a detachment out of Naval Air Station
Sangley Point, in the Philippines. VW 1 was primarily a training squadron
for WV-1 (and later WV-2) crews, but it also supported fleet operations in
the Pacific. VW 1 participated in initial testing of the Pacific Barrier in
1956 and 1957, then transferred to Naval Air Station Agana, on Guam, when
additional airborne early warning squadrons arrived at Barbers Point.

Commander Airborne Early Warning Wing Pacific (COMAEWINGPAC), at Barbers
Point, was established in January 1956. Over the next eleven months VW 12,
VW 14, and VW 16 became operational at Barbers Point to patrol the Pacific
Barrier. In 1961, VW 12 and VW 14 were merged into Airborne Early Warning
Barrier Squadron Pacific (AEWBARRONPAC), which patrolled the barrier
through 1965. Four or five WV-2s were on patrol at all times; flying out of
Barbers Point, they would refuel at Midway Island before commencing their
barrier patrols. From 1961, AEWBARRONPAC maintained a forward detachment on
Midway, close to the southern end of the barrier.31

Aircraft and Airships

The Lockheed WV-2—with its distinctive aerodynamic fuselage, wingtip tanks,
three vertical stabilizers, and four piston engines—was officially
nicknamed the Warning Star, but the Navy crews who flew it called it the
“Willie Victor.” Originally the PO-2W, it was redesignated WV-2 in 1954 and
EC-121K in 1962. The WV-2 had a length of some 116 feet, a wingspan of 123
feet, and a maximum gross weight of 70 tons. It had a maximum speed of 285
knots and a range of 3,850 miles. The WV-2 had two large radomes, one below
the fuselage containing an APS-20 air search radar with a range of about
250 nautical miles, and one above the fuselage containing an APS-45
height-finding radar. Contact information from the radars and extensive
electronic surveillance gear was fed into the plane’s combat information
center (CIC) for display on plotting boards and a dead-reckoning tracer.32

On the Atlantic Barrier, the WV-2s flew a two-hundred-mile-wide racetrack
pattern between Newfoundland and the Azores, at an altitude of from five to
twenty thousand feet, depending on the weather. A plane was launched every
four hours for a patrol flight lasting about twelve hours. To ensure that a
scheduled takeoff was not missed, a primary backup WV-2 was kept ready to
launch in fifteen minutes, and a secondary backup in half an hour. The
Willie Victor was one of the most demanding propeller-driven aircraft to
maintain; its complex electrical and hydraulic systems required constant
attention. According to Admiral Hyland, COMBARFORLANT in 1959–60, it took
about nine WV-2s to keep one in the air. The Navy had purchased 142 of
these planes.33

Argentia was infamous for its bleak weather—often foggy, rainy, or
stormy—but Willie Victor pilots took great pride in their ability to get
the big birds into the air. If they could see far enough to taxi to the end
of the runway, they took off. The weather over the North Atlantic was no
better, demanding excellent flying skills and a dogged determination to
complete the mission. When the visibility at Argentia fell “below
minimums,” divert airfields were available at Stevensville Air Force Base
and the civilian airports at Gander and St. John’s, all in Newfoundland.
When the weather at Argentia was absolutely too bad to fly, Willie Victors
would stage out of Lajes in the Azores, offering the aircrews a warm and
sunny respite from Argentia.34

After the GIUK Barrier replaced the Atlantic Barrier, WV-2s would deploy to
Keflavik for two weeks, typically logging about a hundred flight hours each
during seven or eight arduous barrier patrols. They returned to Argentia
for four weeks of aircraft maintenance, crew rest, and training. The
weather in Keflavik was no better than in Argentia, but the pilots were
well trained in foul-weather operations and rarely missed a mission for
that reason. When conditions at Keflavik fell below minimums, the Willie
Victors normally diverted to Prestwick, Scotland.35 Captain John J. Coonan,
commanding officer of VW 11 in 1962–63, has described a unique advantage
that Keflavik had for coping with the foul winter weather.

In spite of the atrocious weather conditions that existed in that northern
region, the surveillance flights were essentially routine. The conditions
that existed during the winter months injected major difficulties. . . . I
do believe that the actual maintenance of the aircraft, the pre- and
post-flight checks, the taxiing, takeoffs and landings were so greatly
influenced by the unique hangars from which we operated that the item
deserves mention. Why is this so? Well, unlike any flight operations that I
have ever been associated with, we were able to board our aircraft and turn
up the aircraft’s engines inside the hangar, then taxi for takeoff and
repeat this process in reverse—all without getting our feet wet or cold.
This certainly immeasurably aided us in meeting our flight schedule. We
could receive our taxi and flight clearances while still in the hangar and
then move out without delay and get airborne—before our aircraft’s wings
could be seriously endangered by an accumulation of ice. Only occasionally
were we required to come back to the hangar for deicing treatment prior to

On an airborne early warning mission the WV-2 carried a total of
twenty-seven men: a patrol plane commander and two pilots; two Naval
Aviation Observer (Navigation) officers as navigators and two Naval
Aviation Observer (Controller) officers as CIC officers; two flight
engineers; twelve air controlmen (of the AC rating) to operate radars, plot
contacts in CIC, and control intercept aircraft; two electronic warfare
systems operators and two radio operators; and two electronics technicians
(ATs) to service radars and radios. The complement of each aircraft was
divided into two crews, which rotated every three to four hours; within
each crew, radar and sensor operators were rotated every forty-five minutes
to keep them alert. The CIC team tracked and attempted to identify air and
surface contacts, and it could control fighters to intercept potentially
hostile aircraft. The primary means of reporting contacts was
high-frequency (HF) manual Morse radio. The WV-2 also had HF and
ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) voice radio for communications with shore
stations, aircraft (including interceptors under their control), and ships
(particularly the DERs in picket stations on the barriers). Electronic
intelligence collection was an important collateral mission on every

Barrier patrol flights lasted twelve hours, and they were, in Admiral
Hyland’s words, usually “boring, tiring, and repetitive.”38 Hyland
describes the challenge that tedium presented:

The major difficulty with this assignment was keeping an alert attitude and
morale up during such a routine operation—back and forth, back and forth. I
used competitive exercises, running unannounced tests, and various schemes
of one sort or another to establish that the barrier was, in fact, alert
and effective. And in all cases when these tests were run, it was very
gratifying to see that these youngsters were on the ball.39

To ensure the proficiency of the CIC teams, the squadrons periodically sent
highly experienced personnel along to evaluate them. COMBARFORLANT
presented an Outstanding Crew Award every six months and a Meritorious
Squadron Award annually.40

On the GIUK Barrier Patrol, WV-2 electronic surveillance led to occasional
detections of Soviet submarines attempting to penetrate the
Greenland-Iceland gap by skirting the edge of the Greenland ice pack. For
this reason, beginning in 1963 the WV-2s were fitted by the Martin
Corporation with a sonobuoy launcher and Jezebel-type sonobuoy receiver,
which gave them a modest ASW capability. The launcher was mounted in the
cabin by the after crew hatch. To launch sonobuoys, the hatch had to be
opened, a safety net put up, and the launcher swung into place—an awkward
process in the best of weather.41

Willie Victors were supplemented by the ZPG-2W and ZPG-3W blimps of Airship
Airborne Early Warning Squadron 1 (ZW 1), flying out of Lakehurst. The
airships normally patrolled Station 6 of the Atlantic Inshore Barrier, off
the northeast coast of New Jersey, every other day. Like the WV-2s, the
airships were equipped with a complete CIC, including radar operators and
air intercept controllers.42

The Navy had purchased five nonrigid airships from Goodyear in 1954 for the
airborne early warning mission. Originally ZP2N-1Ws, they were redesignated
ZPG-2W in 1954 and EZ-1B in 1962. The ZPG-2W was equipped with an APS-20
air search radar inside the gas envelope and an APS-69 height-finding radar
mounted on top of it. It carried a crew of twenty-one and had an endurance
of over two hundred hours. In 1956, the Navy ordered four ZPG-3W (EZ-1C as
of 1962) airships from Goodyear; they began flying barrier patrols from
Lakehurst in December 1959. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the
404-foot-long ZPG-3W was the last airship delivered to the Navy.43

The airship patrol was hampered from its inception by limited funding,
which restricted flight hours and the availability of aircraft for air
intercept controller training. At one point ZW 1 was restricted to a
hundred flight hours per month, a paltry amount considering a single
airship’s endurance. In July 1959, CINCNORAD requested that the Navy move
ZW 1 to San Diego to provide better radar coverage for southern California,
but the Navy declined, due to the absence of airship facilities in San
Diego and lack of funds to construct them. In June 1960 a ZPG-3W crashed
when the gas envelope collapsed in flight, and on 31 October 1961 the
Navy’s last airship units were decommissioned. Two ZPG-3Ws that had been
kept at Lakehurst for research were retired when the Navy terminated its
airship program on 31 August 1962.44

Among the fighters available to respond to unidentified barrier contacts
were the Navy aircraft of VF(AW) 3, an all-weather interceptor squadron
based at North Island. VF(AW) 3 flew the Douglas F3D-1 Skyknight from 1955,
when the squadron was first placed under Air Force control, until 1959. The
F3D, the Navy’s first all-weather jet interceptor, had entered operational
service in 1951 and by the mid-1950s was rapidly approaching obsolescence.
In 1957 VF(AW) 3 began transitioning to the Douglas F4D Skyray, receiving
its first six that year. When the transition was complete, the squadron had
twenty-five F4Ds. These Ed Heinemann–designed fighters were intended to
operate as very fast, short-range interceptors.45

Assigned to the Air Force’s 27th Air Division at Norton Air Force Base in
San Bernardino, the F4Ds of VF(AW) 3 were controlled by the Air Force early
warning radar site on Mount Laguna, code named “Anderson.” In the late
1950s the squadron averaged one or two actual scrambles and two or three
training scrambles per day. VF(AW) 3 consistently outperformed Air Force
interceptor squadrons in scramble time and intercept effectiveness. The
squadron also maintained an excellent safety record and superb
aircraft-readiness rates—benefiting from the proximity of the Douglas
factory, about a hundred miles away, and a first-rate factory
representative. Although frequent scrambles added some excitement, one F4D
pilot with VF(AW) 3 in the early 1960s described the squadron’s existence
as “a somewhat boring life of intercepting errant airliners,” a life made
fun and interesting only by the antics of the outstanding pilots. The air
defense mission gave VF(AW) 3 appeal with the public, although residents
near North Island were wont to complain about the noise of F4D

When unidentified air contacts were detected approaching the southern
California coast, “Anderson” would sound the scramble alarm at North
Island. With afterburners blazing, a pair of delta-winged F4Ds would
thunder into the sky, rattling the windows of homes in Coronado. VF(AW) 3
routinely got a pair of F4Ds into the air three minutes after the klaxon
sounded. In an emergency, all twenty-five F4Ds could be in the air in less
than two hours. Vectored to within thirty miles of the contact by Mount
Laguna, F4Ds completed intercepts using their onboard radar, attempting to
identify the contact without its being aware of their presence.47

Fidel Castro’s embrace of the Soviet Union and his military buildup created
a new mission for VF(AW) 3. In 1961 it began deploying a detachment of six
F4Ds to Naval Air Station Boca Chica in Key West to augment air defenses in
southern Florida and familiarize pilots with operations between Florida and
Cuban airspace. VF(AW) 3 planes operated under Air Force control while in
Key West as well. In January 1962, responding to Soviet delivery of MiG-21
jet fighters to Cuba, CONAD increased the readiness of the VF(AW) 3 Key
West detachment to four F4Ds on five-minute alert at all times. The
deployments lasted eight weeks and were popular with the pilots.48 When on
14 October 1962 an Air Force U-2 photographed Soviet medium-range ballistic
missiles in Cuba, launching the Cuban missile crisis, VF(AW) 3 had eight
F4Ds in Key West.49

Radar Picket Ships

The Navy had learned, as we have noted, the value of radar picket ships
during the last year of World War II, when destroyers equipped with air
search radars had provided invaluable early warning of Japanese air
attacks. Fast, heavily armed destroyers had been needed to escort the
attack carrier task groups, which were always the first to sail in harm’s
way, but smaller, more economical ships could be used as radar pickets for
slower amphibious and replenishment groups. Design studies for the radar
picket destroyer escort (DER) were begun in the last year of the war. Seven
Buckley-class destroyer escorts (DEs) were converted to DERs in 1945, but
by 1947 six had been decommissioned and the seventh relegated to reserve
training duties. Although they were in commission for only a short time
during the war, these ships had proved the radar picket destroyer escort to
be an efficient and effective type.50

The Navy decided it needed DERs again in 1949, when it was tasked to guard
the seaward approaches to the northeastern United States as part of the
limited LASHUP air defense system established in 1948. Rather than
recommission the Buckley-class DERs, whose World War II–vintage electronics
suites were now obsolete, the Navy decided to convert mothballed
Edsall-class DEs, whose diesel engines gave them twice the endurance of the
steam-powered Buckleys. The Edsall class had originally been commissioned
in 1943–44 and placed in mothballs after the war. Six of these DEs were
recommissioned and converted to DERs between February 1951 and June 1952;
the first was USS Harveson (DER 316), on 12 February 1951. Homeported in
Newport, Rhode Island, these were the only DERs available to patrol the
Contiguous Barriers when they were established in 1954. Responding to the
greatly expanded air defense mission, the Navy converted twenty-eight more
Edsalls and two DEs of the John C. Butler class to DERs between January
1955 and December 1957. By 1957, thirty-six DERs were in commission.51

The Edsall DER conversion consisted of adding an SPS-6 long-range air
search radar, an SPS-8 height-finding radar, an SPS-4 surface search radar
modified for “zenith search” (directly above the ship), IFF (identification
friend or foe) equipment, an aircraft homing beacon, electronic
surveillance systems, and additional communications. Later upgrades
replaced the SPS-6 air search radar with the SPS-12, thereafter the SPS-28;
the SPS-8 height-finding radar with the improved SPS-8B; the SPS-4 surface
and zenith search radar with the SPS-10 surface search radar; and the
aircraft homing beacon with TACAN (tactical air navigation). The Edsall
DERs carried a crew of 150 men, and their diesel engines gave them
tremendous endurance, an operating range of 11,500 nautical miles at eleven
knots. The design was not without problems: the DERs were crowded,
difficult to steer at speeds below eight knots, and had very little reserve
buoyancy (for stability in a flooded condition). However, these limitations
did not detract from the outstanding operational performance of the DERs,
which provided significant capability in an economical package.52

The two John C. Butler–class DERs, USS Wagner (DER 539) and USS Vandivier
(DER 540), were commissioned to test a plan for converting mothballed
Butler-class DEs—over seventy of which were available—to DERs in the event
of wartime mobilization. They were about the same size as the Edsall class
and were reequipped with similar radar and electronics. The major
difference between the two classes was that the Butlers were propelled by
steam, limiting their endurance to 5,500 nautical miles at twelve knots.
For this reason they were the first DERs to be decommissioned, in 1960.53

The DERs were organized into four escort squadrons, two on each coast. In
the Atlantic Fleet, CORTRONs 16 and 18 were homeported in Newport. They
patrolled the Atlantic Contiguous Barrier from 1954 until relieved of that
duty by the AGRs in the late 1950s. These DERs patrolled the Atlantic
Barrier from July 1956 until July 1961, and the GIUK Barrier from August
1961 to September 1965. They also patrolled the SOUTHERN TIP station from
April 1961 to June 1965. A total of twenty-two DERs served in the Atlantic,
although the maximum number in Newport at any one time peaked at nineteen,
in July 1957. Atlantic Fleet DER strength declined to seventeen in 1957,
due to transfers to the Pacific Fleet, and it remained at that level for
almost three years. The next decline occurred in 1960, when nine Newport
DERs were decommissioned as part of Navywide cost cutting. In January 1962,
the remaining eight DERs were consolidated into CORTRON 16, and CORTRON 18
was disestablished.

The first four DERs to join the Pacific Fleet arrived in July through
November 1955. They were assigned to CORTRON 5, homeported in Seattle,
Washington, and patrolled the Pacific Contiguous Barrier. Subsequent
additions raised CORTRON 5 to a high of nine DERs, in 1957. The first two
DERs to be homeported in Pearl Harbor arrived in June 1957; by the spring
of 1958, there were ten DERs there. Assigned to CORTRON 7, their mission
was to patrol the Pacific Barrier when it became operational in July 1958.
Between June 1958 and April 1959, CORTRON 5 and seven of its DERs were
transferred to Pearl Harbor for the Pacific Barrier, and AGRs took over
Contiguous Barrier patrols. This raised the number of DERs in Pearl Harbor
to its peak, seventeen. In 1960, six Pearl Harbor DERs were decommissioned,
one was transferred to Guam, and one was transferred to San Francisco to
serve as a training ship. CORTRON 7 was disestablished in 1960, and the
remaining nine DERs went to CORT- RON 5.54

DER employment patterns varied widely between the barriers. Atlantic
Barrier patrols lasted three to four weeks, with ships on the northern
stations making stops in Argentia for fuel. GIUK Barrier patrols were from
two to four months in length. DERs en route to and from the GIUK Barrier
often stopped in Argentia for fuel; they maintained a cycle of about two
weeks on patrol followed by about two weeks in Greenock, Scotland, for
upkeep, stores, and fuel. SOUTHERN TIP patrols varied widely in length.
Sometimes DERs would transit directly to Cay Sal Bank for a two-week patrol
and then steam straight back to Newport; others would operate out of Key
West for up to three months, mixing SOUTHERN TIP patrols with other duties
and making recreational port visits to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, which
were popular with the crews. Pacific Barrier patrols normally lasted about
six weeks but could last as long as two months. DERs on the Pacific Barrier
regularly stopped at Midway for fuel before heading north to their patrol
stations, and they made stops in Alaskan ports for fuel, supplies, and crew

The DERs in the radar picket stations performed several functions. Their
primary mission was early warning of air contacts approaching the North
American continent; COMBARFORLANT awarded the Constant Vigilance Award
semiannually for outstanding operational proficiency on Atlantic Barrier
and GIUK Barrier patrols. The second mission of the barrier ships was
surface and antisubmarine surveillance. In the Atlantic, surface and
submarine contacts were reported to Commander ASW Force Atlantic, in
Norfolk, Virginia. The radar pickets also reported weather conditions at
their stations, provided navigational aid to civilian airliners, and
assisted in search and rescue efforts. Ships on the SOUTHERN TIP station
routinely encountered Cuban refugees, providing them with water, food, and
fuel when they needed assistance and occasionally rescuing them from
foundering craft.56

Barrier patrols were lonely and wearing. Admiral Hyland has said of the
DERs on the Atlantic Barrier, “It was those people in the seaborne part of
the barrier that really had some rough weather to go through. In the middle
of winter in the North Atlantic, there isn’t a more difficult or unpleasant
place to be.”57 In February 1962, while patrolling the GIUK Barrier, USS
Roy O. Hale (DER 336) was caught in a fierce storm that injured thirteen
crewmen, two seriously, destroyed the forward three-inch gun mount and the
hedgehog (ASW rocket-propelled depth charge) launcher, tore away the motor
whaleboat, and severely damaged the bridge. After three weeks in Greenock
for repairs, Roy O. Hale resumed patrol duties. The weather on the Pacific
Barrier was little better, particularly in winter. The DERs did not carry
doctors, so crew members suffering medical emergencies beyond the skills of
the ships’ enlisted hospital corpsmen had to be evacuated ashore. This was
not difficult on the Contiguous Barriers, because U.S. ports were fairly
close. On the Atlantic and GIUK Barriers, it meant evacuating personnel (by
helicopter when available and weather permitted) to Argentia, Lajes,
Keflavik, or other ports; on the Pacific Barrier, it normally required
evacuation to Adak.58

Several Atlantic Fleet DERs participated in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
The SOUTHERN TIP station was manned continuously, with three DERs rotating
through that assignment during the crisis. On 22 October, a Navy P-2
Neptune patrol aircraft sighted the Soviet submarine replenishment ship
Terek refueling a Soviet Zulu-class submarine about six hundred miles
northwest of the Azores. USS Mills (DER 383), en route to Greenock to
commence a GIUK Barrier patrol, was diverted on 23 October to trail Terek.
Mills was relieved by USS Calcaterra (DER 390) on 1 November.59 DERs were
also assigned to the Florida Strait Patrol (Task Unit 81.6.1), which was
established on 23 October to protect Key West military installations and
U.S. and friendly shipping from harassment or attacks by Cuban air and
surface forces. In the aftermath of the crisis, when there was still great
concern about Soviet arms shipments to Cuba, DERs were among the ships
tasked to maintain close surveillance of Soviet bloc shipping. They
patrolled the Florida Strait during the first six months of 1963.60

The Guardian-class AGRs were converted from Liberty ships between 1957 and
1959 at the Philadelphia, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Charleston Naval
Shipyards. They were 441 feet in length, displaced 10,750 tons fully
loaded, and were the last ships in the Navy to have triple-expansion,
reciprocating steam engines. Originally designated YAGRs (ocean radar
station ships), they were redesignated AGRs (radar picket ships) in
September 1958. Equipped with the large AN/SPS-17 long-range air search
radar, height-finding radar, TACAN, electronic surveillance systems, and
extensive communications equipment, the AGRs had a crew of from thirteen to
twenty officers and 138 to 150 enlisted men, under a lieutenant commander.
A large combat information center contained radar repeaters, large vertical
plotting boards, and dead-reckoning tracers for tracking contacts and
controlling interceptors. Their only armament was two Mark 22 three-inch
antiaircraft guns and .50-caliber machine guns. The large size of the AGRs
enabled them to offer comfortable accommodations: one or two–officer
staterooms, three or four–man chief petty officer compartments, large
enlisted berthing spaces, an enlisted dining area that could seat half the
crew at a sitting, and ample space for recreational activities.61

The sixteen AGRs were divided equally between Atlantic and Pacific. Radar
Surveillance Squadron 2 (RADRON 2) patrolled the Atlantic Contiguous
Barrier and the SOUTHERN TIP station. Originally homeported in Newport,
RADRON 2 shifted in September 1958 to Davisville, Rhode Island, on the
western side of Narragansett Bay. In the Pacific, Radar Surveillance
Squadron 1 (RADRON 1), based in San Francisco, patrolled the Pacific
Contiguous Bar- rier.62

Atlantic Contiguous Barrier patrols normally lasted three to four weeks;
Pacific Contiguous Barrier patrols were slightly longer, four to five
weeks. Inport periods between patrols were normally three or four weeks
long, and the AGRs spent up to two hundred days per year under way. Like
the DERs, the AGRs did not carry doctors, so medical emergencies had to be
evacuated ashore. U.S. ports were nearby, but the slow speed of the AGRs
sometimes delayed arrival within helicopter range of shore. The weather was
no better for the AGRs than it was for the DERs. One writer has described
the “stark and often ferocious waters” in which the AGRs patrolled:

Bad weather and sea conditions were the rule rather than the exception for
the AGRs. The storms of the North Atlantic and North Pacific sometimes
brought winds of 70 to 80 knots and seas of 40 to 50 feet in height. In the
North Atlantic, the winter season brought temperatures below freezing;
ocean spray whipping across the ships could, and often did, coat them
inches deep in ice. In the spring and early summer, the additional hazard
of icebergs and growlers were [sic] often a distinct possibility.63

When on radar picket patrol, the AGRs operated under CONAD control and
reported unidentified air contacts to the air defense direction center
designated for their picket station. The AGRs occasionally made radar
picket patrols off the east and west coasts of Canada and participated in
exercises with Canadian naval and air defense forces. U.S. Air Force air
intercept control officers were embarked regularly for familiarization and
cross training. AGRs were also tasked with weather reporting and search and
rescue duties, and they took part in Atlantic and Pacific Fleet ASW

Mission Complete

The “bomber gap” controversy was put to rest by 1957. Photographic
intelligence on Soviet bomber production collected by high-flying U-2
reconnaissance aircraft revealed that the Soviets were not rapidly building
a fleet of long-range bombers; in fact, because of accelerated B-52
production the United States actually held the lead.65 The “bomber gap”
crisis faded away, but a new one arose. On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union
launched the Sputnik satellite into orbit, causing a shock in the United
States that made the “bomber gap” sensation seem trivial. Sputnik, the
Soviet missile test program, and Moscow’s boasting about their missile
prowess created fears in the United States that the Soviets had gained a
significant lead in fielding long-range missiles. This supposed “missile
gap” became the primary concern in U.S. defense planning as well as in the
American political arena.

By 1965, improvements in Air Force shore-based air surveillance radars, in
conjunction with accurate and reassuring intelligence on the Soviet bomber
threat, had eliminated the need for an active Navy role in continental air
defense. The Navy moved quickly to dismantle the extensive force structure
it had assembled to carry out the mission. VF(AW) 3 had already been
decommissioned, in 1963. On 15 April 1965, USS Newell (DER 322) commenced
the last radar picket patrol on the Pacific Barrier, and on 1 May its crew
marked the disestablishment of the barrier in a ceremony at Midway Island.
The Atlantic and Pacific Contiguous Barriers were shut down on 30 June
1965. COMBARFORLANT stood down, and the GIUK Barrier was disestablished on
1 September 1965. With no mission to perform, COMAEWINGLANT, COMAEWINGPAC,
and the Navy’s last three shore-based airborne early warning squadrons (VW
11, VW 13, and AEWBARRONPAC) were decommissioned in 1965. The last
COMNAVFORCONAD closed up shop in Colorado on 1 September 1965, ending the
Navy’s formal role in the joint continental air defense mission.66

With the cancellation of the Contiguous Barriers in June 1965, the AGRs
were no longer needed; RADRONs 1 and 2 were disestablished in August. The
Guardian-class AGRs were all decommissioned in 1965 and placed in mothballs
in the Atlantic and Pacific National Defense Reserve Fleets. They remained
in mothballs until sold for scrap in the early 1970s.67

At the beginning of 1965, nineteen DERs remained in commission: six in
Newport patrolling the GIUK Barrier, nine in Pearl Harbor for the Pacific
Barrier, one in Guam patrolling the Marianas Islands, and two in Seattle
and one in San Francisco serving as training ships. As the barrier patrol
mission was winding down, a new mission was arising for these
ships—Operation MARKET TIME was launched on 11 March 1965 to interdict
North Vietnamese arms shipments through the South China Sea. DERs were
perfect for MARKET TIME, due to their economy, tremendous endurance, and
small size; in the spring of 1965, Vance became the first DER to make a
MARKET TIME patrol.68

The Impact of the Barriers

The importance and necessity of the radar barriers have been questioned.
Even while commanding BARFORLANT, Admiral Hyland believed that the barrier
patrols were unnecessary and ate up resources needed for other missions.69
On the other hand, the barriers, which denied the option of a surprise
nuclear bomber strike on the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, had to be included
in Soviet strategic calculations. Soviet electronic intelligence collection
ships (AGIs) were in the North Atlantic monitoring the ships and aircraft
on the Atlantic and GIUK Barriers;70 the Pacific Barrier was also probed by
AGIs. The Soviet high command was therefore well aware that the U.S. Navy
had erected a radar barrier across the oceanic approaches to North America.

A look at Soviet strategic nuclear forces in October 1962 shows the impact
that the barriers had on Soviet strategic calculations. During the Cuban
missile crisis—arguably the closest the United States and the Soviet Union
ever came to nuclear war—the Soviet missile force capable of reaching the
United States consisted of some forty-four to seventy-five intercontinental
ballistic missiles (of which Russian sources now state only twenty were
fully operational), about a hundred submarine-launched ballistic missiles
(none of them deployed within firing range of the United States), and
forty-two medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba (for which, Russian
records indicate, only twenty nuclear warheads had been delivered to Cuba).
The Soviets thus had a total of only forty fully operational nuclear-armed
missiles capable of reaching the United States. In contrast, the Soviet
Union possessed about 155 long-range bombers capable of delivering nuclear
weapons against the United States.71 The Soviet high command, however, knew
that its bombers—over three-quarters of its ready strategic nuclear
force—could not reach the United States by any route without being detected
by U.S. early warning radars and intercepted by air defense forces. That
knowledge undoubtedly reinforced the deterrent effect of American nuclear
superiority, strengthening President John F. Kennedy’s hand against Nikita
Khrushchev’s bluster and bluffs.

We Have Been There Before

Navy participation in the continental air defense mission is a striking
example of joint operations. To it the Navy could contribute
state-of-the-art radar picket ships and airborne early warning aircraft, as
well as significant air defense experience. Some Navy forces were placed
under Air Force control, like VF(AW) 3 and units assigned to the Contiguous
Barriers. Navy forces patrolling the Atlantic and Pacific Barriers remained
under Navy control but were integrated into the Air Force air surveillance
reporting network. For eleven years the Navy maintained a vigilant watch
over the seaward approaches to the United States as part of the joint air
defense team.

The Navy’s experience with continental air defense offers lessons worth
keeping in mind as the prospect of another homeland defense mission looms
on the horizon: sea-based national missile defense (NMD). As was the case
in the 1950s, when technology originally developed to meet fleet-defense
requirements proved valuable for defending the nation, the Navy’s ballistic
missile defense program could well provide a foundation for Navy
participation in national missile defense. The debate on whether to deploy
NMD and on whether NMD deployment should include a sea-based component has
focused on threats, technological feasibility, and the desirability of
continued adherence to the Anti–Ballistic Missile Treaty, but there are
additional considerations as well.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Navy was never enthusiastic about the
continental air defense mission, which it viewed as diverting scarce
resources from its primary missions of sea control and power projection.
The Navy’s strategic concept today may not exclude a homeland defense
mission, but it certainly does not accord one high priority. Resource
constraints are at least as severe today as they were forty years ago, if
not worse, making it likely that NMD would divert funds and forces from
other Navy missions—or at least be perceived as doing so. Unlike the 1950s,
when the Navy had a fleet of economical vessels in mothballs that it could
reactivate for the continental air defense mission, modern sea-based NMD
would require our most modern and capable surface combatants. Putting those
ships in picket stations off the coasts to perform a single, static mission
would not be taking advantage of their mobility and robust, multimission
capabilities—which could be badly needed off the shore of a rogue nation

Theater missile defense (TMD) capabilities also could be problematic in
this regard, due to the possibility that TMD-capable combatants would be
designated as theater commander-in-chief or even national assets, in which
capacity their movements and employment would be dictated by higher
authority rather than by the battle group commander—as sometimes happens
with Tomahawk-capable combatants today. If the Navy is assigned the NMD
mission, so be it. But as we contemplate the prospect of a new homeland
defense mission, let us remember that we have been there before, and we did
not like it—for reasons that still apply today.



1. David A. Anderson, “Pictures Reveal Reds’ New ‘Sunday Punch,’” Aviation
Week, 15 February 1954, pp. 12–3.

2. “Congress Gets Red Plane Facts,” Aviation Week, 22 February 1954, pp.
13–4; Katherine Johnsen, “Twining Warns of Red Jet Striking Power,”
Aviation Week, 22 March 1954, p. 10; Robert Hotz, “Russian Jet Airpower
Gains Fast on U.S.,” Aviation Week, 23 May 1955, pp. 12–5; “Aviation Week
Story Spurs Debate on U.S., Red Airpower Positions,” Aviation Week, 30 May
1955, pp. 13–4; and Claude Witz, “USAF Recognizes Red Gains, Spurs B-52,”
Aviation Week, 6 June 1955, pp. 12–3. Also see John Prados, The Soviet
Estimate (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1982), pp. 38–45; and
George E. Lowe, The Age of Deterrence (Boston: Little, Brown, 1964), pp.

3. Joseph T. Jockel, No Boundaries Upstairs (Vancouver: Univ. of British
Columbia Press, 1987), pp. 32–90; James Meikle Eglin, Air Defense in the
Nuclear Age (New York: Garland, 1988), pp. 60–4, 70–5; and Glenn H. Snyder,
“The ‘New Look’ of 1953,” in Warner R. Schilling, Paul Y. Hammond, and
Glenn H. Snyder, eds., Strategy, Politics and Defense Budgets (New York:
Columbia Univ. Press, 1962), pp. 420–1.

4. Jockel, pp. 90–110; and Eglin, pp. 165–8.

5. John Monsarrat, Angel on the Yardarm: The Beginnings of Fleet Radar
Defense and the Kamikaze Threat (Newport, R.I.: Naval War College Press,
1985), pp. 156–8; Norman Friedman, Naval Radar (Greenwich, U.K.: Conway
Maritime Press, 1981), pp. 99–100, 228–9; and Scott A. Thompson, B-17 in
Blue (Elk Grove, Calif.: Aero Vintage Books, 1993), pp. 1–7.

6. Thompson, pp. 5–15; Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, United
States Navy Aircraft since 1911 (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press,
1990), p. 79; “Strangest Shape in the Sky,” Naval Aviation News, May 1958,
p. 9; and Harold S. Durfee [LCdr., USN (Ret.)], a PB-1W pilot in VX 4
(1947–49), a WV-2 patrol plane commander in VW 11 (1959–61), and Director
of Training in the AEW Training Unit Atlantic (1961–63), letter to author,
5 November 1992.

7. Thompson, pp. 15–25; Swanborough and Bowers, pp. 79, 299–300; “Strangest
Shape in the Sky,” p. 9; and Durfee, letter to author.

8. Norman Friedman, U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History
(Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1982), p. 229; Naval Historical
Center, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships [hereafter DANFS], vol.
3 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1968), p. 64; Swanborough and
Bowers, pp. 79, 299; and Durfee, letter to author.

9. John J. Hyland [Adm., USN (Ret.)], “Barrier Patrol,” Naval History,
Fall 1989, p. 58.

10. Commander Naval Forces Continental Air Defense Command, “History, Naval
Forces Continental Air Defense Command, 1 July–31 December 1957” [hereafter
COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History], n.d., Operational Archives, Naval Historical
Center, Washington, D.C., p., 4; and Hyland, pp. 58–9.

11. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History, pp. 2–5; Hyland, pp. 58–9; and Eglin, pp.
139, 142.

12. Commander Naval Forces Continental Air Defense Command, “Command
History, 1 July 1960–1 January 1961,” March 1961, Operational Archives,
Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.

13. The first COMNAVFORCONAD was Rear Admiral Albert K. Morehouse. Dr.
Thomas Fuller, U.S. Air Force Space Command historian, conversation with
author, 14 January 1992.

14. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History; George VandeWater, F4D pilot assigned to
VF(AW) 3 in 1961–63, letters to author, 6 September 1992 and 30 October
1992; Robert L. Lawson, The History of US Naval Air Power (New York:
Military Press, 1985), pp. 132–3; Carson M. Smith, “They Put the Pinch on
Bogeys,” Naval Aviation News, April 1959, pp. 22–3; Larry Booda, “U.S.
Watches for Possible Cuban IRBMs,” Aviation Week and Space Technology, 1
October 1962, p. 20; “Pentagon Civil-Military Friction Increases,” Aviation
Week and Space Technology, 15 October 1962, p. 26; “U.S. Moves Jets near
Cuba,” (Charleston, S.C.) News and Courier, 19 October 1962, p. 3; and
Fuller, conversation with author.

15. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History.

16. Station 12 was east of Cape Cod; Station 14 was east of Atlantic City,
New Jersey; Station 16 east of Chincoteague Inlet, Maryland; Station 18
east of the Virginia–North Carolina border; and Station 20 east of Cape
Lookout, North Carolina. Ibid.; Commander, Naval Forces Continental Air
Defense Command, “Command History, 1 July 1959–31 December 1959” [hereafter
COMNAVFORCONAD 1959 History], 29 February 1960, Operational Archives, Naval
Historical Center, Washington, D.C.; Commander Naval Forces Continental Air
Defense Command, “Command History, 1 January 1961–1 July 1961” [hereafter
COMNAVFORCONAD 1961 History], 11 September 1961, Operational Archives,
Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.

17. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History; Commander Naval Forces Continental Air
Defense Command, “Command History, 1 January 1960–1 July 1960” [hereafter
COMNAVFORCONAD 1960 History], 3 September 1960, Operational Archives, Naval
Historical Center, Washington, D.C.; and Swanborough and Bowers, pp.
299–301, 580–1.

18. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History.

19. Ibid. DANFS, vol. 4, p. 361; and vol. 6, p. 654. Hyland, pp. 58–9; and
Durfee, letter to author, 5 November 1992.

20. COMNAVFORCONAD 1961 History.

21. The station was just north of the Cay Sal Bank, near the Dog Rocks.
Ships assigned to the SOUTHERN TIP station would sometimes anchor at the
Dog Rocks in good weather to conserve fuel—and the fishing wasn’t bad,
either. Ibid.; and DANFS, vol. 5, p. 394.

22. The new COMAEWINGLANT was Captain Leonard E. Harmon. COMNAVFORCONAD
1961 History; Commander Barrier Force Atlantic, “Command History 1
January–31 December 1962” [COMBARFORLANT 1962 History], 11 January 1963,
Operational Archives, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.; “Sitting
on Top of the World,” Naval Aviation News, August 1962, pp. 34–5; and
Leonard E. Harmon [Capt., USN (Ret.)], COMAEWINGLANT in 1961–62, letter to
author, 18 March 1993.

23. COMBARFORLANT 1962 History; Leo P. Zeola [Capt., USNR (Ret.)], WV-2
naval aviation observer (controller) and senior CIC officer in VW 11,
1962–64, tape-recorded oral history provided to author, 8 May 1993; and
John J. Coonan [Capt., USN (Ret.)], commanding officer of VW 11 in 1962–63,
letter to author, 18 March 1993.

24. Still permanently based at Patuxent River, they took turns making
six-month deployments to Argentia for barrier patrol duties. A third
airborne early warning squadron, VW 13, was commissioned in 1958, and the
Navy undertook a permanent shift of VW 11 and VW 13 to Argentia; VW 11 was
the first to move, in 1958. VW 15 was decommissioned on 15 April 1961,
because only two airborne early warning squadrons were required to patrol
the GIUK Barrier. Commander Naval Forces Continental Air Defense Command,
“Command History, 1 January 1965–1 September 1965” [hereafter
COMNAVFORCONAD 1965 History], 23 August 1965, Operational Archives, Naval
Historical Center, Washington, D.C.; Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic,
“Aviation Historical Summary, 1 October 1961–30 September 1962” [hereafter
COMAEWINGLANT 1962 History], 22 October 1962, Operational Archives, Naval
Historical Center, Washington, D.C.; Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic,
“Aviation Historical Summary, 1 October 1962–30 September 1963” [hereafter
COMAEWINGLANT 1963 History], 9 October 1963, Operational Archives, Naval
Historical Center, Washington, D.C.; “Barrier Gets New Squadron,” Naval
Aviation News, July 1958, p. 10; Zeola, recorded oral history, 8 May 1993;
Durfee, letter to author; and Coonan, letter to author.

25. “Barrier Gets New Squadron”; Zeola, recorded oral history; Durfee,
letter to author; and Coonan, letter to author.

26. COMAEWINGLANT 1962 History; and COMAEWINGLANT 1963 History.

27. Station 1 was west of Gray’s Harbor, Washington; Station 3 was west of
Newport, Washington; Station 5, west of Crescent City, Oregon; Station 7,
west of Mendocino, California; and Station 9, west of Point Sur,
California. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957, 1959, 1961 Histories.

28. COMNAVFORCONAD 1960 History.

29. Rear Admiral Benjamin E. Moore was the first COMBARFORPAC.

30. Ibid.; and DANFS, vol. 7, p. 456.

31. VW 16 had been decommissioned in 1957, its aircraft consolidated in VW
12 and 14. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History; COMNAVFORCONAD 1959 History;
Commander Naval Forces Continental Air Defense Command, “Command History, 1
January 1962–30 June 1962,” 28 August 1962, Operational Archives, Naval
Historical Center, Washington, D.C.; Office of the Chief of Naval
Operations (OPNAV), “Naval Aeronautical Organization” (Washington, D.C.:
Aviation History Branch, Naval Historical Center, annual editions,
1953–1966); and “AEW Guards the Pacific,” Naval Aviation News, August 1958,
pp. 12–3.

32. Swanborough and Bowers, pp. 299–301; Samuel L. Morison and John S.
Rowe, The Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet, 10th ed. (Annapolis, Md.:
Naval Institute Press, 1975), p. 176; W. R. Green, “Crew One, Best on the
Barrier,” Naval Aviation News, March 1963, pp. 22–5; Hyland, p. 58; and
Durfee, letter to author.

33. Hyland, pp. 58–9; “Barrier Gets New Squadron,” p. 10; Durfee, letter to
author; Harmon, letter to author; and Morison and Rowe, p. 176.

34. Hyland, pp. 58–9; “Barrier Gets New Squadron,” p. 10; and Durfee,
letter to author.

35. Hyland, pp. 58–9; Green, pp. 22–5; Zeola, recorded oral history; and
Coonan, letter to author.

36. Coonan, letter to author.

37. Green, pp. 22–5; Hyland, p. 58; Durfee, letter to author; Zeola,
recorded oral history; Coonan, letter to author; and John B. Lukasiewicz,
WV-2 radio operator assigned to AEWBARRONPAC in 1959–61, e-mail to author,
29 April 1999.

38. Hyland, p. 58.

39. Ibid.

40. Captain Leo P. Zeola, senior CIC officer of VW 11 in 1962–64,
frequently flew on these check rides, deploying to Keflavik with the crew
being evaluated. Zeola, recorded oral history; COMBARFORLANT 1962 History;
and Green, pp. 22–5.

41. Zeola, recorded oral history.

42. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957, 1959 Histories.

43. COMNAVFORCONAD 1959 History; “World’s Largest Non-Rigid Airship,” Naval
Aviation News, August 1959, p. 3; and Swanborough and Bowers, pp. 580–1.

44. COMNAVFORCONAD 1959 History; Swanborough and Bowers, pp. 580–1; and
Lawson, p. 149.

45. Swanborough and Bowers, pp. 198–9; Smith, p. 22; Lawson, p. 132; and
VandeWater, letter to author, 30 October 1992. Edward H. Heinemann
(1908–1991) also designed the A-20, B-26, and the Mach-2 Skyrocket.

46. The pilot was Lieutenant George VandeWater. Smith, pp. 22–3;
VandeWater, letter to author, 30 October 1992.

47. VandeWater, letter to author, 30 October 1992.

48. VandeWater, letters to author, 6 September 1992 and 30 October 1992;
Commander 32d Continental Air Defense Region, radio message, date-time
group 32 CONAD REGION OCAFS 200140Z JAN 62, dated 20 January 1962,
Operational Archives, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.

49. The pilots stood a twenty-four-hour alert and then had thirty-six hours
off. Initially four planes were kept on five-minute alert, but this was
later relaxed to two on five-minute alert and two to four on fifteen-minute
alert. VF(AW) 3 also flew daily combat air patrols over the Florida Strait
along the twenty-fourth parallel, which appeared to be the northern limit
of Cuban MiG patrols. VandeWater (who took great pride in his ability to
get from the ready room and start his takeoff roll in less than two
minutes) states that he flew twenty-six missions during the crisis,
including four scrambles on unidentified contacts—all four of which turned
out to be Air Force B-47s. VF(AW) 3 pilots rarely picked up Cuban MiGs
visually or on radar and never had cause to engage them—although they would
have loved to prove their stuff in a dogfight with a MiG. VandeWater
recalls, “I had a lot of confidence in the F4D. On the nights we flew along
the twenty-fourth parallel with MiGs on the other side, I was certain that
I could shoot them down and I think we could have bested them in a dogfight
in the daytime. . . . Of course, we fervently wished for some excuse to
cross the line for a shot at them, since our F4Ds were great-performing
little fighters in the subsonic-speed range, fully capable, I believed, of
mixing it up with a MiG even in a turning fight.” VandeWater, letter to
author, 30 October 1992.

50. Raymond V. B. Blackman, ed., Jane’s Fighting Ships 1963–64 (London:
Jane’s Fighting Ships, 1963),
p. 352; and Friedman, p. 228.

51. Friedman, pp. 229–33, 460–8; Blackman, pp. 353, 357. DANFS, vol. 3, pp.
265, 272, 334, 571, 657, 673, 676; vol. 4, pp. 56, 152, 361; vol. 5, pp.
76, 188, 308, 380; vol. 6, pp. 26, 92, 165, 365, 435, 654, 664; vol. 7, pp.
147, 456; and vol. 8, p. 309.

52. Friedman, pp. 229–33; and Blackman, p. 357.

53. Friedman, pp. 231–2; and Blackman, p. 352.

54. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History; Friedman, pp. 460–8. DANFS, vol. 3, pp.
265, 272, 571, 673; vol. 4, pp. 56, 152; vol. 5, p. 76; vol. 6, pp. 26,
365, 654, 664; vol. 7, p. 456; and vol. 8, p. 309.

55. James W. Hayes, Jr. [Capt., USN (Ret.)], commanding officer of USS Roy
O. Hale (DER 336), in 1961–63, letter to author, 21 July 1992; Mrs. Walter
B. Frick, widow of Commander Walter B. Frick, USN (Ret.), executive officer
of USS Mills (DER 383) in 1961–63, letter to author, 2 November 1992; “The
History of the Roy O. Hale as a Radar Ship (DER 336),” USS Roy O. Hale
News, Winter 1990–91, p. 3. DANFS, vol. 3, pp. 334, 571, 673; vol. 4, p.
361; vol. 5, p. 76; vol. 6, pp. 26, 654, 664; vol. 7, pp. 147, 456; and
vol. 8, p. 309.

56. Robert J. Bogle, operations officer of USS Roy O. Hale (DER 336) in
1962, letter to author, 20 April 1992; Everett A. Parke, “The Unique and
Vital DER,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, February 1960, pp. 89–91;
DANFS, vol. 3, p. 571; vol. 6, pp. 365, 435; and vol. 8, p. 309.

57. Hyland, p. 59.

58. Hayes, letter to author; Bogle, letter to author; Parke, p. 91; and
William G. Schofield, Destroyers: 60 Years (New York: Rand McNally, 1962),
pp. 175–89.

59. Terek held a southwesterly course with Calcaterra in trail and on 4
November, 750 miles east of Bermuda, was observed rigging to refuel a
submarine. Terek and a Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine appeared to be
closing for a rendezvous, but the presence of Calcaterra and U.S. Navy ASW
forces apparently deterred the submarine from joining. Unable to carry out
her mission, Terek turned back to the northeast and started home. Roy O.
Hale relieved Calcaterra on 14 November and trailed Terek from the
mid-Atlantic to the northern Norwegian Sea, ensuring that the Soviet ship
did not refuel or reprovision submarines that could have interfered with
the American quarantine of Cuba. Commander in Chief Atlantic, “CINCLANT
Historical Account of Cuban Crisis 1962,” 29 April 1963, Operational
Archives, Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C., pp. 121–4; Frick,
letter to author; Hayes, letter to author; Bogle, letter to author; “The
History of the Roy O. Hale” p. 3; Schofield, pp. 175–89; and DANFS, vol. 7,
p. 147.

60. USS Hissem (DER 400), “Ship’s History, 1962” (Washington, D.C.: Ship’s
History Division, Ships, Naval Historical Center, 8 January 1963); Donald
L. Lassell [Capt., USN (Ret.)], Commander Destroyer Division 601 and
Commander Florida Strait Patrol (CTU 81.6.2) during the Cuban missile
crisis, letter to author, 11 May 1988. DANFS, vol. 3, pp. 334, 676; vol. 6,
p. 92; and vol. 7, p. 147.

61. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History; Thomas Gallagan, “Lonely Vigil of the
‘Guardians,’” Sea Classics, December 1992, pp. 10–3, 123; and Blackman, p.

62. DANFS, vol. 3, pp. 178, 444–5, 451; vol. 4, pp. 129, 141; vol. 5, pp.
191, 296, 394; vol. 6, pp. 375, 419, 530; vol. 7, pp. 254, 514; and vol. 8,
p. 157. Gallagan, p. 10.

63. Gallagan, p. 13.

64. COMNAVFORCONAD 1957 History. DANFS, vol. 3, pp. 178, 444–5, 451; vol.
4, pp. 129, 141; vol. 5, pp. 191, 296, 394; vol. 6, pp. 374, 419, 530; vol.
7, pp. 254, 514; vol. 8, p. 157. Gallagan, pp. 10–3.

65. Michael R. Beschloss, Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev and the U-2 Affair
(New York: Harper and Row, 1986), pp. 149–50, 366; Dino A. Brugioni,
Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York:
Random House, 1991), pp. 3–25, 28–37; and Prados, pp. 46–50.

66. Its last commander was Capt. H. D. Mann. COMNAVFORCONAD 1965 History;
DANFS, vol. 5, p. 76. Seven Willie Victors were lost while patrolling the
barriers—five in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific—with a total of
fifty-nine aircrew killed. Of the WV-2s lost, four crashed ashore (all
during takeoff or landing), three at sea. Additionally, a WV-2 belonging to
the AEW Training Unit Atlantic and an R7V (the transport version of the
Super Constellation) belonging to VW 11 crashed at NAS Patuxent River while
on training flights, with a loss of fourteen aircrew. Earles McCaul, “The
Willie Victor Roster,” Considering the
arduous conditions under which the Willie Victors flew, this is a
respectable safety record, one that stands as a tribute to the skill and
dedication of the aircrews and maintenance crews, and to a plane that could
take a lot of punishment—even though it was a challenge to maintain.

67. DANFS, vol. 3, pp. 178, 444, 445, 451; vol. 4, pp. 129, 141; vol. 5,
pp. 191, 296, 394; vol. 6, pp. 375, 419, 530; vol. 7, pp. 254, 514; vol. 8,
p. 157. Gallagan, pp. 10–3.

68. Over the course of 1965, a major relocation of DERs took place. Two of
the six in Newport went to the Pacific Fleet, and CORTRON 16 was
disestablished. In the Pacific, three DERs were decommissioned, leaving
twelve: eight at Pearl Harbor, three at Guam, and one at San Francisco. The
DERs became a valuable asset in the Vietnam War, but they were growing old;
the remaining twelve were laid up between 1968 and 1973. Jack Sweetman,
American Naval History, 2d ed. (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press,
1991), pp. 243–4; Ross Wright [Capt., USN (Ret.)], commanding officer of
USS Vance (DER 387) in 1963–65, letter to author, 3 November 1994;
Friedman, pp. 233, 460–8. DANFS, vol. 3, pp. 273, 334, 673, 676; vol. 4, p.
152; vol. 5, p. 76; vol. 6, p. 365; vol. 7, p. 456; and vol. 8, p. 309.

69. Hyland, pp. 58–9.

70. Zeola, recorded oral history.

71. James G. Blight and David A. Welch, On the Brink: Americans and Soviets
Reexamine the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux,
1990), p. 328; and Brugioni, pp. 254–5.


Captain Bouchard is Deputy Senior Director for Defense Policy and Arms
Control and Director for Defense Policy on the staff of the National
Security Council. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he holds a master’s
degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
in Monterey, California, and a doctorate in political science from Stanford
University. He has served in USS Lockwood (FF 1064), USS O’Brien (DD 975),
USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964), as well as on the Destroyer Squadron 21 staff,
and he has commanded USS Oldendorf (DD 972). Ashore, he has been Special
Assistant and Deputy Executive Assistant to Commander in Chief, Allied
Forces Southern Europe, and to Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces
Europe, and has been Branch Head, Strategy and Concepts Branch (N513), on
the Navy Staff. There he was the principal drafter of the 1997 “Navy
Operational Concept.” He is the author of Command in Crisis: Four Case
Studies (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1991), and he is a member of the
U.S. Naval Institute Board of Directors.


Naval War College Review, Summer 1999, Vol. LII, No.3