It's been 50 years since we played chicken with the soviet union. I wrote a little piece awhile back that reminded me of that time...
It's Thursday evening in the barracks, early Fall 1962. The exhaustive housecleaning Marines refer to as "Field Day" is done. The scuttlebutt still smells of the Brasso used to bring its brushed metal and chrome to a shine. The deck of dark brown tile, contrasting with the white bulkheads and green lockers and racks made up with forest green blankets, smells of the polish used to buff it to a lustre rivaling that of the black boots and brown shoes Marines spit shine with Kiwi, and only Kiwi, shoe polish. The smell of cigarette smoke, after shave lotion, linseed oil and Hoppe's #9 mingle as the Marines end their day, cleaning rifles, sharpening bayonets and K-Bars and washing up while listening to music and news of suspected Russian missiles in Cuba on their radios.