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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 50 years ago

The Spokane Daily Chronicle ran a map showing the locations of the nine “launch complex” sites under construction in the region.

These were for ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), or, to put it another way, giant, long-range nukes.

Sites were nearing completion near Reardan, Sprague, Davenport, Lamont, Egypt, Newman Lake, Rockford, Wilbur and Deer Park.

“One 85-foot-tall (Atlas) missile will be placed in an underground storage ‘coffin’ at each site,” said the Chronicle. “Completion is expected next year.”

These sites were all “to be linked to Fairchild Air Force Base through an elaborate microwave communications network,” said the paper.

The context for all of this could be found on the front page. Tensions continued to rise between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in 1960. U.S. Navy forces were on alert near Cuba and Central America.

The Soviet Union charged that the naval alert was “fraught with the danger of military conflict.” The U.S. was growing increasingly concerned about Soviet arms being shipped to Cuba.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1985: The comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes,” created by Bill Watterson, was first published.