Thursday, December 25, 2014

I apologize for the repetition but I must share another Cold War Christmas Story that spoke to my heart.

While reading through all the fellow Cold Warrior post, I found this one. I thought of my Christmas 1979 and how it differed from this man. I was all warm and cozy with my family, back in my hometown, while stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Yard aboard the U.S.S. Harold J. Ellison DD-864. I just had to share his Christmas story with you. Thank you Glenn for allowing me to re-post your article.

I am looking for New Years Eve Cold War stories. If you have one to share, please email it to I'll post the one that speaks to me the most. Or, who knows, maybe I'll do more like I had to for Christmas. Too many good stories out there to not share them.

Here is Glenn's story:

Christmas Eve, 1979, Republic of Korea.
   It was dark and cold on the flight line. I was all bundled up in my parka and layers of clothing. I was alone with nothing but the lights in each revetment to keep me company. I walked with my toolbox by the revetments all lined up on either side of a taxiway. The revetments were big half shells of cement and steel designed to protect the aircraft from attack. Each one contained an F-4E Phantom fighter. The fighters were painted in various shades of olive drab in a camouflage pattern. Save for the nose that was painted with the large black eyes, white teeth and blood red mouth of a shark.  On the back of the revetment was a fence separating the restricted aircraft areas and the rest of the base.
   Soon I found the revetment containing the fighter I needed to work on. I climbed up on the left wing and opened a panel on the fuselage.  It was Christmas Eve, and I was on the other side of the planet from my South Dakota home. It was cold and the wind whistled through the half shell buildings. I worked on the broken wires frequently blowing on my hands to keep them warm. The work was too delicate to do with gloves on. I didn’t feel sorry for myself though it would have been nice to have some company.  There were many places, warm places, I would have rather been.
   Is I worked I began to hear singing. Familiar music but the words I didn’t understand. I climbed off the aircraft and followed the singing to behind the revetment. I went through an opening and found myself standing next to the fence.  On the other side of the fence lined up facing me there were about ten Korean children and a couple of adults. The children were singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas in Korean. As I stood there they then sang Silent Nightand I joined in. After the songs one of the adults came up and said, “Merry Christmas Sergeant. We saw you out here by yourself so the children wanted to sing to you so we stopped the bus.”
   This was about as much as I could handle as the tears started rolling down my face.
   “All this just for me?” I asked quietly.
   “Yes Sergeant. The children know you are far from home to protect them so they wanted to give you their song.”
   I knelt down to the level of the children and said thank you, “Kom som ni da, kom som ni da” over and over and to each one individually.
   The children started talking back as they waved and headed back to the bus. They shouted things in Korean I didn’t understand. The man looked at me and said, “They are saying, thank you freedom soldier.” I thanked him once again as he left to join the children. The children and I waved to each other as they drove away. I walked back to the aircraft and climbed the wing and got back to work. “How wonderful, “I thought, “kind of makes it all worthwhile.  Thank you Lord for the gift … and … Happy Birthday.”
   It was cold and dark and quiet as I worked on the fighter. I didn’t notice, for I was lit up with warmth and happiness.

-  MSgt Glenn P. Kuehner, USAF (Ret)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Something A Little Different for The Christmas Eve Cold War Story This Year

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

To read the rest of the story, please follow this link -

To link to the Official NORAD Santa Tracker use this link -

Colonel Harry Shoup and the advertisement that started it all.

Col. Harry Shoup came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." He died in 2009.The Santa Tracker tradition started with this Sears ad, which instructed children to call Santa on what turned out to be a secret military hotline. Kids today can call 1-877 HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) to talk to NORAD staff about Santa's exact location.

Thanks to and the StoryCorps organization for allowing me to re-post this article.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Another Cold War Foe Becomes a Trading Partner

With President Obama’s announcement of normalization of relations with Cuba, another previous Cold War foe becomes a trading partner.

In 2014 there are only five communist countries left in the world – China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. All but North Korea are now trading partners. 

North Korea is the only hostile one left and they just won the first salvo in open cyber warfare with their attack on Sony.

First it was, “Only Nixon”, who could go to China to start relations with that country. Look where we are now in regards to a trade deficit with China, the end of the Cold War in 1991 started commerce investments in Russia, Vietnam now makes furniture for US manufacturers, and Laos makes t-shirts and other apparel for export to the US. They could not beat us on the battlefield so they are getting us in job losses.

Yes, Putin has been rattling sabers lately with all the moves in 2014 but they are way too dependent on foreign purchases of their oil to truly threaten Cold War 2.0. They have plenty of oil that they need partners to purchase. Conquered nations are not trading partners; they are dependents like the Eastern Block and Cuba were until not too long ago. President Putin is only pushing the West to see how far he can go before we push back harder than minor sanctions and banking restrictions.

Back to Cuba - what will they bring to the trading party besides cheap labor, cigars, rum, and old automobiles? I’m not sure how the US Labor Unions are going to like that cheap labor part but Obama has them in his back pocket so I don’t think they will give him much grief. My guess is that Cuba will once again go to the pre-Communism days and become a tourism and gambling destination for US citizens just like in the ‘50s. 

You know, it is an island with plenty of beaches. Our old Soviet adversaries would go there for R & R after patrolling the East coast of America. I know this firsthand, we shadowed them when I was serving in the Navy. I forget how many trips I made to GITMO in those years.

The Castro brothers sure know what they are doing when it comes to manipulating other leaders. Earlier this summer, they got President Putin to relieve them of 90% of their debt to Russia, and now they got President Obama to open trade relations with them, without Congressional approval. All of this and they did not give up much. They look like pretty smart old guys.

Kim Jung-un should take a cue from the Castro brothers and court President Obama versus threatening the United States. He could invite the President to come play a little one-on-one B-Ball with Dennis Rodman in an exhibition match. The winner gets whatever he wants and the loser gives up their Nukes!

After all, President Obama needs some kind of legacy to be remembered by. Getting the last Communist hold-out to become a trading partner just may win the President another Nobel Peace Prize.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Cold War Christmas Story

Today at mass, Deacon John told the story of a time "in the late 80s" he was living in West Germany at Christmas.

The church he belonged to at that time decided to have a Christmas party and invite the refugees fleeing communism during the lifting of travel restrictions across the border. The refugees had settled in the small town where he lived. The local refugee shelter agreed for the church to sponsor an event. The congregation provided a tree, decorations, food, and gifts for the children.

Deacon John continued explaining that as the children were opening their presents, one of the adult refugees started singing a Christmas song in their native language. Another started singing the same song in their language, then another, and another, and another, including English. All these disparate languages singing the same song.

Peace is truly universal.

What a nice Cold War story.

I just felt compelled to share it.

Thanks to Deacon John at the Nativity Church, Longwood, Florida for allowing me to borrow and paraphrase his story.

Christmas is 10 days away everyone!

JohnnyK, The Proud Cold Warrior


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.