I do remember the air raid drills. Seems to me they started after the missile base construction started. It may be crazy, but I remember the drills because of the siren, not the duck and hide part.
If the siren was intermittent, it meant there was a fire. If it was constant, it was an air raid. The longer the siren was constant, the higher the danger was.
We were in junior high, probably October 1962 (Cuban missile crisis). I was in class with 30 or 35 kids in one of the temporary buildings when the siren started. Thanks to (or because of?) the air raid drills, everybody in the room, even the teacher, stopped whatever we were doing to look at the clock, or our watches, and wait for the tone of the siren to change.
That day, the siren didn’t change like it had countless times before. It finally did drop after 30 or 40 seconds. After it stopped, the teacher told us to go outside for the rest of the class. As it turned out, the siren had some kind of malfunction, but it scared the crap out of a bunch of people.
I don’t remember any drills after that. I think they may have even put in a separate siren dedicated to warnings.
As for MHAFB being the first one hit, I remember stories in the papers that said MHAFB was the No. 1 (maybe only) target in Idaho. With the double nuclear threat of the bombers and the three missile bases, it would make sense that we would have been closer to the top of the list than a lot of other bases or even major cities that didn't have bases.
Comedian Louis Black has a hilarious bit about those air raid drills. Here is a clip on Youtube.
Warning: VERY raunchy language:
It is likely that we weren't put through those things because most of us knew that if we got nuked, we were toast; or, most of us would have fled to Pine or Featherville already.
I remember the siren also and knowing what to listen for, but don't remember ever practicing incase the bomb was dropped. But I know people who to this day remember the terror they felt practicing for the crisis. I remember when President Kennedy was shot and how the whole time I was going home from the JR High down the alley by Carl Miller Park, and North Elementary to my house that the siren never stopped.
I also don't remember many fire drills, the ones I do remember are at Central Elementary when we had to go down those ricketty metal stairs. I always wished we had the slide that they had at other schools built during that time. My grandparents lived in Weiser and they had this metal slide from the top of the building to the bottom that students practiced going down for fire drills.
Hammett had one of those sliding fire escapes. I remember going over there for a pot luck. All of us kids would slide down it and then have to climb back up because there was a locked door at the bottom. That would have been interesting if there had really been a fire.
I also remember the sirens. I don't remember actually practicing hiding under the desks. I do remember someone saying we would be one of the first to be hit.
I do remember all of us being let out of school and going home and loaded in our family car and heading out the gate towards Mtn Home. We were to go to Anderson Ranch Dam. We were turned around at the Grandview turnoff. While we were walking back to our homes (running). I could see the B-47's launching and it was tremendous to see all of them filling the sky and the sirens were non-stop. I remember that we had boxes of food in the trunk that my folks kept in the shed for just this occasion. This happened when I was in the 4th 0r 5th grade at the base. 1953-54 maybe. This was a practice evac from the base and boy did it seem real as a kid.
TJ - Is your math a little off or were your in one of those advance classes?
Good one. Duh!
Does 56-57 sound better. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I can relate to that. As our kids state, "just sayin".
Cuban Missle Crisis - I remember Dad packing the truck with food and water,etc. We were to go to someone's cabin way up in Northern Idaho (somewhere) if the alert went off. He packed so much, I remember Mom saying if he put a deck of cards in there, she was leaving then!!! They had us unlock the horses gates at the stables. I was relieved that the horses would have a chance (they could run to the desert) until my Dad told me that it was in case they (our Dads) ran out of food on the base, they could EAT the horses!!! At that stage I realized how serious this was!!
It has only been recently that civilians have realized how close we came.