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Genealogy: Military: Index

  Sussex Lisbon Civil Defense

Retrospect, by Fred H. Keller, Living Sussex Sun, Posted: Jan. 5, 2010 1:36 p.m.

In the era immediately after World War II until the taking down of the Berlin Wall, the United States, the world, even Sussex, Lisbon and Lannon were involved in the Cold War.

In Lannon and around Milwaukee, numerous Nike Sites (anti-aircraft missile systems) were put into place to stop Russians from flying over the ice cap and Canada to atomic bomb the United States. This started in the mid-1950s and was declared obsolete by the 1960s as now both major countries in the Cold War no longer had intercontinental Ballistic Missiles with multi-atomic war heads. The Cold War became a mutual deterrence war as if "you let yours go, and we will let ours go boom, boom, boom" the end of the world as each nation, Russia and the United States would be destroyed.

As history tells it, the Lannon Nike site was in the area of Lannon Road and Menomonee Avenue. The main site on the northeast corner is in private hands while the barracks part is now part of Menomonee Park (west Lannon Road).

Sussex and Lisbon got into the act as the communities formed a Civil Defense committee and started to receive federal and state assistance and direction.

This was around 1960 that the intercontinental ballistic Titan Missile sites were built, mainly in Arizona and Arkansas, a three-unit buried silo for the missile, a control room off-set and an access safe house to control who came into the buried complex.

They were all underground and hard-capped with a highly trained set of soldiers who were waiting for orders which never came.

The Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society in May 2006 received a donation from Lisbon resident Ronald "Ron" Samanske of two badges for the "Reserve Town of Lisbon, Wis. Civil Defense" unit and a sort of auxiliary police. This was the time of Paul Pichler and his Lisbon chairmanship of 1955-61. He had fired longtime Lisbon public works leader, Frank Tetzlaff, and hired Lisbon farmer Paul Samanske in his place. Samanske was put into the Sussex-Lisbon Civil Defense Association, and his son, Ron, also found a spot. Besides the two badges, he also donated a police-type billed hat (with badge attached), a black leather coat and a lanyard with a whistle.

Just recently, another local civil defense item from the 1960s surfaced as it was thrown out into the Sussex roadside garbage pickup. It was a white painted steel World War I type helmet, with, "U.S. Gov. Property-O.C.D (Office Civil Defense)" inscribed inside it. All of these items will be on display at the museum in spring.

A Feb. 4, 1960, Menomonee Falls newspaper feature reported, "Police reserve uniforms and equipment were issued at the Jan. 27 (1960) meeting of the Sussex Lisbon Civil Defense Association held at the Lisbon Town Hall."

Then a speaker told of the underlying reasons for Civil Defense, and the emphasis of creation of family fall-out shelters. He said it was stupid to die from radiation when a small amount of concrete and dirt (a bomb shelter) could protect you. The leaders want people to think of building family below ground in bomb shelters and to stock them with needed items like food, water, radio, batteries, candles, bedding and sanitary items.

The Sussex Lisbon Civil Defense held its monthly meeting on March 30, 1960 with a follow-up MF news story appearing April 4. The meeting's chairman was Harry Haycock who lived at what is today N6511 W240 Maple Ave. He was known as "Mr. Republican," of Sussex as he had a habit of going around and seeking donations for Republican causes.

He took the Civil Defense very seriously in his leadership role. He thought he had a solution to the problem of very few people seriously considering constructing a bomb shelter. Haycock recommended that the association inaugurate a program to publicize the desirability of homeowners installing "wine cellars" in such a design they could alternate for use as a bomb shelter.

Charley Zimmermann of Sussex (later of Sussex Do It Center lumber yard) was appointed to present all information necessary to remodel root cellars, cisterns, and other basement areas for use as bomb shelters.

The next meeting was set for April 27, 1960, at the Lisbon Town Hall.

Thank goodness mutual defense worked and no atomic missiles were ever fired.

However, are there any old wine cellars in the Sussex-Lisbon area that did get made over into radiation bomb cellars?

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