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"Howard T. Hitsman, 1962"
Oil on Wood
14" x 14", framed

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, I was a Second Class Petty Officer attached to the Joint Alternate Command Element (JACE) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Battle Staff Team was deployed aboard the USS Northampton (CC1) stationed at Norfolk, VA. My duty was to maintain the highly classified war plans for the possible relocation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a crisis. There were two Battle Staff Teams and the duty cycle of each was 30 days at sea, 30 days at the Pentagon in DC, and 30 days at the underground Pentagon. My office consisted of a vault with secure safes within the vault with the classified documents in them. My team was on duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We were there to monitor the situation and report to the Pentagon any problems that might occur. This was a very critical time for our country and I remember thinking that I was glad that I did not have the responsibility, should the problem escalate, of making the decision to blow up the Russian ships and possibly launch the United States into a World War.