Thursday, May 31, 2012

Observations of a Lady Cold Warrior

We have a guest blog posting. I love these first hand stories of what really happened in the Cold War at a personal level. As I have stated before, the Cold War was fought by men and women on both sides. Here is one of those stories. Thank you Captain Trouble for agreeing to share your story.

I was in the US Army Signal Corps from 1979 to 1988 starting with 5 years in Italy and Germany. Like most of the Cold Warriors, the things I did are still classified. The things I was involved in will go unsung and unrecognized, like so many other “Red October” actions. I can only speak in general terms about my work. The level of cooperation we fostered between the US and our NATO partners in the field of communications-electronics was an important element in “bringing the wall down.” My personal contribution to this cooperation was the combination of my specialty as a radio officer and my language ability in French, German, and Italian. When Tito died in Yugoslavia, and the Russian tanks started rolling toward Yugoslavia, my life was a constant round of sleepless nights of frequent alerts and mobilizations. When you got the phone call in the middle of the night, my whole being would tighten up, and I would say to myself, “This is it… the big one… go time!” We’d be in formation in the motor pool, and then we’d get the stand-down call. I’d go home, try to relax, and then I’d get the phone call, and we’d do it again… and again… and again… We knew we would be the first ones to go if it all broke out, and we knew after that it was about a 20-minute lifespan for us, but we still stood the line. We knew the real cost of freedom, because we could look across the border to Yugoslavia and see what happens when you lose it. We saw the children smuggled out of Yugoslavia and left at convents in Italy, because the parents knew their children would have a better life in the west. I transferred to Germany and then President Reagan was elected. Things started getting better. The military started getting the equipment it needed. We started seeing things done to really undermine the Soviet Union – all still classified. So many things that happened under President Reagan to “bring the wall down” are still probably classified. He never got the full credit he deserved for it, and neither will we cold warriors. The important thing is that the wall did come down. The important thing is that there is still freedom in our nation, and there is still hope for freedom for the whole world.

Captain Trouble

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Where did you serve? Military or Civilian? Stateside or Overseas. Fulda Gap? Berlin? NATO? CIA? State Department? The Dew Line? On a Missile Battery? Down in a Silo? At Sea? Under the Sea? In the Air? According to the VA over 26 million Vets are still alive. I'd bet that most served in the 1945-1991 time frame and I'd like to share your story on this blog. As long as it isn't still classified, email me with your story and I will post it here.