JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 402
This letter, written in 1957 by Colonel Leslie S. Moore of the U.S. Biological Weapons Program at Fort Detrick, Maryland, to a member (whose name I've removed) of the A.S. "(Atmospheric Sciences") division, was basically a get-out-of-hell-free card for its bearer in the case of devastating nuclear attack.
"In the event of a mass destruction attack on Fort Detrick with the resulting loss of Biological Warfare physical facilities, it is anticipated that it will be necessary to re-establish the BW activities at some other location."
"In order to accomplish this in the most expeditious manner, the availability of certain designated personnel...is deemed essential."
The "letter serves as notification that you have been selected as a member of this group which is to be evacuated" to get the biological weapons program up and running again. As you can read in the clickable version of the document, there are directions about what top do and when to do it. There is no mention of family. My read is that this is Endgame stuff, end of civilization as we know it, and that this was the Darwinian sweep of necessary people. Or is it Dr. Strangeloveian? I get the two confused.
Suffice to say that Fort Detrick, which had been established in 1943 (constructing and delivering anthrax bombs by 1944) as Camp Detrick, already had a fairly full career before it was up-named to "Fort" in 1956. It was the recognized home/collecting node for the American Chemical and Biological Weapons programs until Richard Nixon, of all people, disbanded that capacity at Detrick in 1969.
It is interesting to note that the person to whom this letter was addressed was actually in aerolized particle release, and at the time, in 1957, was working on Operation Large Area Concept, which simulated and studies a very large airborne attack over thousands of mile of land. It was an obvious two-sided study about how-to and how-to react to a mass scale biological attack.
1957 was about the height of the Cold War. According to the ticking Doomsday Clock of the venerable Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the minutes-to-midnight--with the stroke of midnight being the Big One, the ultimate attack, the carnal release of all nuclear power, The End--was set at about two (two minutes to midnight) from 1953 to 1960. The clock admittedly was set very close to that mark anyway, starting out life at seven minutes to midnight in 1947, but it was probably accurate at how close we all were, our toes stuffed into Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove’s bitterly polished shoes, to walking (finally!) towards the explosive closing roll of the movie.
[Feel free to check out the other 20 posts or so on this blogsite relating to atomic/nuclear weapons here.]
I might have been overstating the "Get out of Hell Free" aspect of this letter. Probably it was a "Survive Many Aspects of Hell at Not-Understandable Personal and Societal Costs” card , but it doesn't have the snap of the former, though it is more factual.
The letter tells the recipient to keep it on his person at all times for use in an emergency. I don't think you'd need to be told that twice.