The Cuban Missile Crisis Hits Home


I Remember Dr. F. M. Enriques


Brian V. Brunner ('64)

Part I of the story is dedicated to any SII or LWMA student ever lived or is now living in Howell Hall.

Howell Hall - 1998
Howell Hall


Part I

The Cuban Missile Crisis Hits Home

I have not seen the new movie "Thirteen Days" yet, but I have seen the trailer (previews to people my age) which reminded me of this story.

Phil Potts '63 and I were at LWMA during those thirteen days. And I thought I'd pass this memory along from that time and see what he remembers. Or, for that matter, any other alumnus who might want to tell us what they remember about that time at LWMA.

Even now when you drive down the back road you can see an old rusty Fallout Shelter sign over the very back door of Howell Hall. In October of 1962 that sign was still new and the building was named Ward Hall. Before that year it was known as "New Brick", but mostly we just called it "C Company".

I was a junior at the time and I lived in last room on the left at the end of the upstairs hall (the last window on the left in the photo above). I roomed with Cadet First Lieutenant Lance Thurlow '63 and a new cadet by the name of Pete Strickland '66. Lance was a senior, a platoon leader, and one of my best friends from the year before. I was a Cadet Staff Sergeant and a squad leader. Pete was a freshman and brand new Cadet Private. Lance was from St. Petersburg, FL and Pete was from Bonair, GA. We were crowded in three to a room as usual at the start of the school year.

One afternoon when it looked as if we were going to go to war with the USSR, one the staff officers had the whole dormitory fall out in the upper hallway. I don't remember who it was, but it may have been Col. Johnson, CWO Yancey or M/Sgt. Watkins. He told us that should a nuclear war beak out; the entire Cadet Corps would have to move into Ward Hall because it was the only fallout shelter we had. As I wondering how in the hell we were suppose to fit 130 cadets who lived in three buildings into our one, I heard one of the new cadets start crying. Well, it was a scary situation and I'm glad I did not know then just how close we did come to war. I guess he wanted to be home if the war broke out.

A little later I found out his home was in the Atlanta GA area, just as mine was. I figured I was safer 120 miles away from Atlanta in Camp Hill. I was worried and scared too, hell, we all were. Even if a lot of us made fun of this boy, some may have cried later after Taps in the dark.


Part II

I Remember Dr. F. M. Enriques

Dr. F. M. Enriques arrived at LWMA in September of that same year. He had a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Havana and he had been an English-Spanish translator for the United Nations. Dr. Enriques was our Spanish teacher the year 0f 1962-63. Talk about being overqualified for the job!

He had escaped from Cuba just after Castro took over. He told us how Castro had taken everything he owned and how he and his wife had to flee the best way they could. He came to the U.S. through Florida and his wife had go through Mexico.

At the time all the male teachers at LWMA wore uniforms and held the school rank of Captain. Dr. Enriques refused to wear a uniform and I can understand why as Castro still struts around in one.

Dr. Enriques told us we should be thankful that we lived in a wonderful country with many freedoms. I don't know if I listened too closely to his stories, but I do remember that he was good man and we (his students) should have respected him more than we did. He may have influenced us more than we knew at the time. I hope so anyway.

Dr. Enriques - 1963
Havana, Cuba
Foreign Language
Doctor of Education,
University of Havana, Cuba
Bachelor of Arts,
Teachers College, Havana
Long-experienced English-
Spanish Translator

-- From the 1963 Ranger Yearbook --

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