[RivCompanions] Martha

Pepper Marts mpm29 at cornell.edu
Sat Jun 29 12:54:53 UTC 2013


	It often helps to have rules and procedures (Canons), but even
the best of them need to be revisited as conditions and situations
change. This is not to say that the rules, procedures and Canons
should be dumped, simply that following them religiously is not
necessarily faithful. A case in point:

October 1962: the Cuban Missile Crisis. You (at least some of you)
will remember that a major Bad Guy used a relatively minor Bad Guy to
twist the American Tiger's tail.
	When U-2 reconnaissance photography showed Russian ballistic
missiles in Cuba, President John F. Kennedy ordered a number of
responses. One was called "Medium Force Dispersal." As part of that
exercise, some of us in Strategic Air Command's 379th Bomb Squadron
(Medium) flew our B-47s from Schilling AFB, Kansas to Port Columbus
International Airport, Ohio, and went on strategic alert. The
rationale for MFD was that spreading our bombers around would make the
Soviet targeting job more difficult.
	Of course there was a Manual that told how to do MFD – SAC had
a manual for everything – but that manual (and the procedures it
contained) had never been used in Real Life. The authors had been
drawn primarily from the SAC Headquarters staff, with a few others
from immediately subordinate organizations. Absent from the group were
any of the folk who would actually have to do the work.
	As the situation developed, a number of the dispersed
squadrons slavishly followed the book; their operations fell apart.
Others kept their focus on the mission and developed procedures and
methods that supported it. I'm glad to say that the Headquarters folk
supported them.

	I suggest that the situation with Martha is one where our
mission should take precedence over our procedures.


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