Milestones: 50 Years Ago In Time

The 9/11 panel has criticized the slow response of the U.S.'s air defenses on that fateful day. When TIME ran a cover on GENERAL BEN CHIDLAW, head of the Continental Air Defense Command, America's skies were on high cold war alert.

Reports of every unidentified aircraft spotted over North America flash through the Air Defense network to the blockhouse in Colorado Springs, General Chidlaw's command post. On the great Plexiglas map, from six to a dozen unknown aircraft are being plotted at almost any time; as one is identified by the scrambling fighters, another is reported elsewhere ... In case of...

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