Blast from the Past: Loma Prieta Earthquake

born of warThirty-two years ago today, while I was on my way home from work on the Presidio of San Francisco, my carpool driver pulled over. The car had pulled sharply to the right, and he thought a u-joint had broken. He inspected the car, and it was fine. We got on the Golden Gate Bridge (we were at the viewpoint) and went home to Marin County. It was not until we were all home that we learned that what later became known as the Loma Prieta earthquake had just happened. Marin was almost entirely unaffected, while the rest of the Bay Area had huge amounts of damage. A couple of days later, I was putting in 12+ hour shifts in the Emergency Operations Center as part of the group controlling the military’s disaster response and relief efforts.

All we had to monitor the media was the radio from my desk (one of the guys had gone upstairs to get it … the only place on base that had electricity was the EOC). We had been begging for media monitoring equipment and been denied under the budget. Needless to say, we got it after that.

Just a couple of months prior, I had been to a disaster relief field training exercise that prepared us greatly (little did we know …) for managing in the wake of Loma Prieta, because we learned where the problems were and could plan for them.

It was a difficult time in San Francisco Bay Area history, but one that showed the mettle of our Public Affairs Office team in a way that nothing else could have done.
Born of War … Dedicated to Peace was my first book, written in 1995 as a souvenir for the decommissioning of Sixth U.S. Army. You can read it for free on Scribd.

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