The Perfect Cover

It’s been said that one who wishing to hide something should do so in plain sight. I can think of one time it may have worked perfectly.

An old friend, Terry, grew up in the small, high desert town of Wagon Tire, Oregon during World War II. His family owned and operated a grocery store, gas station, and the Wagon Tire Post Office at a place along US 395. Gasoline was rationed to 3.5 gallons per week except for mail carriers or defense plant employees. Yet one individual could always fill his automobile.

During the final year of the war this middle-aged man in tweeds and a neck scarf bought gasoline at Wagon Tire twice each month, once while headed south and again when he was headed north. He drove a Stutz Bearcat and always had plenty of rationing stamps. Terry told me he never questioned the man’s appearance or the fact that he always had stamps.

In 1945 the war ended and the man in tweeds was never seen again. Not until many years later did Terry realize that US 395 lead directly from Hanford, Washington to the general vicinity where the first atom bomb was tested.

“I think he was carrying plutonium from Hanford to the test site. The Stutz Bearcat and the scarf were a perfect cover,” said Terry.

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