Once a year, at any given time, the US Army Air Defense Command made a surprise call to every Nike Battery in the Continental United States, giving that Battery 48 hours to report to Mc Gregor Range in Southern New Mexico to be prepare a missile to be test fired at a target.
The Nike Missile Battery crews would then be graded on their performance.
This exercise was called SNAP (Short Notice Annual Practice)
I had the good fortune of being on the LA-88 SNAP Crew in 1971
We fired 1 Nike Hercules at a drone aircraft and 2 Nike Ajax at a points in space.
The purpose of this exercise was not only demonstrate the proficiency of the Nike Crews, but to let the Soviet military intelligence know, the Nike Missile Defense crews were proficient in their use.
The Nike Missile Defense was a deterrent system, designed to make any would be conqueror think twice about attacking the US from the air.
The Soviet Union knew where the Nike Defenses were. They were part of our nuclear deterrents, Submarines, B-52 Bombers and Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s)
It would be a one-way trip from the Siberian air fields in Russia for the Soviet Long Range Bombers to reach Los Angeles and drop a nuclear weapon on the city.
600 Soviet TU-20 Bear Bombers, each carrying 4 hydrogen bombs each……
The Ring of Nike Missile Batteries protected Los Angeles and 44 other cites in 27 states across the US, Hawaii and Alaska.
Enclosed are pictures of the LA-88 SNAP Crew on their SNAP evaluation on July 1971. These are the actual pictures, with yours truly as Dr. Strangelove.