Like most Americans, Pam Pettinger didn't lie awake nights worrying about nuclear disarmament, let alone ever think one day she might play a bit part in it.
So when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev inked the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty last Dec. 8, Pettinger's attitude was basically ambivalent. Even after the U.S. Senate finally ratified the treaty last month, she was ho-hum.Until a knock on her door three weeks ago.
The Russians were coming.
Pettinger, a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, was told she'd have to move to another building immediately to accommodate Soviet arms-control verifiers who would soon be setting up temporary housekeeping at her North Temple apartment complex until permanent facilities are built elsewhere.
Because of her schedule, Pettinger said, she rarely sees a local newspaper or TV news and admits to not even being aware the Russians were coming to Utah.
And then suddenly her apartment complex manager is telling her they're moving into her apartment.
Pettinger isn't the only person whose world had to be rearranged in recent weeks due to the anticipated arrival this weekend of a Soviet contingent to monitor American compliance with the INF treaty.
A five-member Soviet advance team is already in the Salt Lake Valley making preparations for their comrades, including a trip to a West Valley City K mart and other stores to shop for housewares, food and other basic supplies. An advance American team has also arrived in the Soviet city of Votkinsk to perform similar tasks.
Only one member of the advance team, engineer Oleg Shagov, is staying on in Utah as part of the long-term Soviet inspection team. Amid the whir of motor-driven cameras and reporters scribbling furiously in their notebooks, Shagov spoke briefly with reporters Wednesday during an impromptu news conference at his soon-to-be home at the Sun Arbor Apartments.
Speaking through a U.S. State Department interpreter, Shagov said he's generally satisfied with the way things are shaping up and predicted that all will be in order by the time the remaining 22 Soviet inspectors arrive - most likely sometime Saturday. The INF treaty provides for a ceiling of 30 Soviet inspectors in Utah.
He also noted this was his second trip to Utah. Earlier in the year he was in the Salt Lake Valley on a related fact-finding visit.
Responding to a reporter's query, Shagov didn't bat an eyelash when he said the inspectors plan to make full use of the apartment complex's amenities, including the pool, spa and tennis courts.
Preparations of a different sort have also been taking place at Hercules Inc., where the Soviet inspectors will establish a full-time portal inspection station to verify no new Pershing missile motors are built. Hercules supplied Pershing motors, banned under the treaty, between August 1982 and June 1987.
Hercules spokesman Jack DeMann said "security" is the byword - especially now that it appears at least some of the Soviets will be card-carrying members of the KGB or other Soviet intelligence services.
All of Hercules' 4,500 employees have watched a video and received a crash course in dealing with their new guests from the FBI and Department of Defense.
Posters warning of espionage, throwbacks to the days of World War II, hang on walls inside the Hercules plant. An employee recalled one poster is simply a pair of eyes and the message: "Eyes Spy. Espionage REALLY Does Exist."
Employees who've attended the seminars say they're told the story of the Walker family, who conspired to deliver a variety of sensitive U.S. documents into the hands of the Soviets.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, certainly makes no bones that he thinks the Soviets will be interested in far more than simply verifying that no new missile motors are produced.
He points to nearly 50 defense-related contractors located within the 31-mile radius of Hercules the Soviets will be allowed access under terms of the treaty.
Hatch, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said that number zooms to nearly 100 when the radius is expanded to 50 miles, not counting major defense installations such as Hill Air Force Base, Dugway Proving Ground, Tooele Army Depot and the Wendover Bombing and Gunnery Range.
He said virtually everyone who comes to Utah will be a spy, whereas their American counterparts in Votkinsk will primarily be civilian aerospace technicians on contract with the U.S. government.
Even Brig. Gen. Roland Lajoie, director of the U.S. On-Site Inspection Agency, which will oversee the Soviet inspectors, along with a reciprocal U.S. team, expects the Soviets delegation will contain at least a few ringers, although their movement in Utah will be closely monitored.
"We're not naive enough to think some won't have some intelligence background," Lajoie said.
DeMann said Hercules has spent about $2 million to ensure tight security at its sprawling Bacchus Works plant where propulsion systems for the Trident, MX, small ICBM, Titan and Delta missiles are built.
He said besides employee security seminars and campy posters, the number of security personnel has been increased by 25 to 30 employees. Another high-profile reminder of increasing emphasis on security is an illuminated 8-foot-tall double fence topped with barbed wire surrounding the area where the banned missile components formerly were built.
DeMann said the cost of most or all of the additional security measures are being footed by the taxpayer.
"These are all things that wouldn't have been done if the Soviets weren't coming," DeMann said.
"And we're prepared to make additional changes as needed - even to moving operations elsewhere if it's deemed necessary," he said.
Changes, although less visible, are taking place in the neighboring community of Magna.
Since the INF treaty was negotiated, the Russians in Magna has been a national news story, although the major flurry of media attention came with the initial announcement.
Still, a steady stream of reporters from publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post to the television networks has viewed the deteriorating buildings on old Main Street, interviewed residents coming out of the Smith's adjacent to the Hercules headquarters in the new Arbor Park shopping center and talked to local historian LaRee Pehrson about Magna's mining background.
One local politician was even told by a Time magazine reporter that his name had been given as a possible contact for the Soviet newspaper Pravada - although no Soviet journalists have traipsed through Magna - yet.
The latest film crew to whip through town was from NBC Sunday Today. For a profile of a typical Magna family, the crew followed around the W. Kent and Marilyn Goble family. Much to the surprise of the Gobles' neighbors, the crew even went with the family to church, filming them at the Magna East Stake Conference.
But while reporter after reporter continues to ask the inevitable question, "How do you feel about the Russians coming?" the news in Magna concentrates on issues closer to home than world peace.
"If you want to know what Magna residents are talking about, it's not the Russians. They are more concerned with keeping the (Kennecott) tailings wet or that Hercules doesn't blow up. They're concerned about their safety and health," said Dale Nielson, the only full-time reporter for the 82-year-old Magna Times, the local weekly with a circulation of 3,000.
But if they do happen to mention the Russians, it's usually positive. "I've heard of very little opposition. People are cautiously optimistic. They seem to have an attitude that as long as they mind their own business, they might as well come," Nielson said.
The real interest in the community this week wasn't the arrival of the Soviet contingent.
Instead, Magna residents are behaving like their counterparts in small towns all over America - they're busy preparing for their biggest annual event, the Fourth of July parade and celebration Monday.
Several news reporters have asked parade chairman Chick Paris if Magna will honor, in any way, the Russians in its annual tribute to American liberty.
For Magna residents with visions of Soviets goose-stepping down Main Street behind the fire trucks, drill teams, horse posses and kids on decorated bikes, the answer is "no."
Paris doubts that security would allow it - or that the Russians would even want to be included. "If they wanted to be in the parade, they'd have to carry an American flag along with the Russian flag. That is protocol for visitors in a foreign country," he said.
Lajoie, however, still expects there will be many opportunities for the Soviets to let their hair down and mingle with the locals - if that's what they want.
"What I'm saying is that we won't turn down any picnic invitations for them. Whether they do or not is up to them," Lajoie said, who also makes it clear the Soviets, who won't enjoy the wide range of privileges diplomats do, won't travel anywhere without an accompanying U.S. escort.
Pam Pettinger, meanwhile, is just happy to be settling into her new digs.
She points to two quarter-sized holes punched in her box springs during the move.
Few will ever know the sacrifice she made for world peace.