Thursday, August 27, 2015

We Were The Wall Strategic Air Command T-shirt Now Available !

That's Right!

Thanks to Kevin O'Quinn for supplying the design he and some Veteran buddies made a while ago. Their effort back then to produce the image for other SAC veterans never panned out and the design was never made available.

I agreed to take the image, convert it to a current software format,  and make it available for purchase. I also agreed to make the price as low as possible and only cover the cost of production and the royalty cost for our artist to cover his work reproducing the image in the current software.

We only use American made T-shirt blanks and a USA based printer, the cost is more than the cheap China produced crap, but it is worth it. They have great quality and we are helping USA based businesses employ Americans.

I have set up three versions of the T-shirt; one with a 3 3/4 inch round image located on the breast pocket on front only, one with a 9 inch round image centered on the back only, and one that has both front and back. A wide variety of shirt colors are available.

I also have the image in the Spreadshirt Marketplace so you can add the image to other items they produce like mugs, glasses, cell phone covers, etc. I am also trying to locate a patch production company to be able to provide embroidered patches of this and our other designs.

Here is the link to my online shop at where I have our Proud Cold Warrior T-shirts produced. They will print and ship within 3-5 business days and will make quantities as low as one. No waiting like most of the other online sites that require a larger quantity before production.

Order between August 27 - September 1, 2015 and receive a 15% discount by using coupon code FAVSHIRT at checkout!

And oh yea, while you are there join us, The Proud Cold Warrior Society!
Lifetime membership, a T-shirt, and a suitable for framing Proud Cold Warrior certificate are included in the fee.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another Nike Missile Base Being Razed by Progress

HM-95 entrance guard shack now covered in graffitti

Another Nike Missile site that is being razed to make way for a new government facility.

HM-95 was just demolished to clear the land next to a Miami-Dade County immigration detention center. Speculation is that the detention center facility is to be expanded.

Here is an excerpt from the Miami Herald article:

A relic of the Cold War, an old Nike missile radar and tracking site in western Miami-Dade County, has been demolished.

Bulldozers, cranes and dump trucks recently knocked down and carted away some of the remaining structures that once made up the Integrated Fire Control (IFC) ste along Krome Avenue just south of Tamiami Trail.

Built in response to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when U.S. spy planes discovered Soviet nuclear missiles on the island, the site was one of several designed to protect Miami against Soviet or Cuban attack. It was formally known as HM-95, Battery D.

Stock photograph of what the base looked like in 1968
How it looks in 2015

Please link over to read the rest of the story here. Scroll through the article's photo stream to see photos of the base now and when it was operational in the 1960s.

More photographs taken before the buildings were demolished are available here.

Thank you to the Miami Herald newspaper website for allowing me to link to this article.
Thank you to the website Abandoned Florida for the additional photographs.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cold War Shoot Down Revisited

Every time I read somewhere that the Cold War was not a shooting war, I cringe.

It is the first indication that the writer of the article did not serve during the Cold War or they did not do their research. Those of us that served know of these types of incidents I present to you today.

Today's post is one of the drastic incidents where an actual shoot down took place but there were many other lethal and non-lethal ones also. And not just in the early reconnaissance flights either.

There were shootings at guard post around the world where we stood eye to eye with the communist, at sea, like in my Navy world, with "brush" up alongside near collisions with surface ships, numerous submarine collisions actually happened as well, or with Air Force or Navy jets scrambling to deter a Bear as they push the overflight boundaries.

This story stands out in that, it is an incident where the Soviet Union accepted responsibility and paid restitution for the loss of the aircraft. There was no warning shots, no attempt to deter the Neptune away from the border by getting close to it, no radio communications, the Soviet fighters appeared and unleashed at volley of cannon fire directly at the patrol plane.

Navy Neptune P2V

In my research I found an incident where the Soviets shot down a Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer in April 1950, then we shot down a Soviet A-20 patrol plane in September 1950, a year before the Neptune shoot down in November 1951. Things were definitely getting heated in the sky when the Soviet Air Defense Forces and our aircraft shared the same airspace.

Soviet Union A-20 which was probably provided during the WW2 lend Lease program

Serving during the Cold War was not all training and boredom. It was dangerous duty when near the Soviets, no matter which branch of the service you were a member of.

Read the whole story here. It is very well done with a full account of what happened during and after the shoot down.

On a personal note, my father, AO3 John E. Kairis, served on Navy PB4Y-2 aircraft during WW2 as a gunner.

Thank you to the Alaska Dispatch News for allowing me to link to their article. Images obtained through Google Image search in the public domain.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Vietnam Veteran Finally Gets Medal

In keeping with the personal stories vein of this blog's roots, I'd like to present a story that may be of interest to many readers. Especially those of my age who have a brotherhood with those that served during the time when the Cold War turned quite hot, Viet Nam.

Melvin Fields served in Viet Nam in 1968 as a helicopter gunner with 25 missions under his belt when a mortar round landed near his tent. The resultant wounds almost ended his life.

47 years later, with the help of a US Senator, Melvin finally received the Purple Heart medal due him for those wounds. His very supportive wife, Verdia, engaged Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark, who went to work and not only finalized the purple Heart award but discovered Melvin was due an Air Medal and the Cold War Certificate, which he presented at the same time.

The article goes on to explain the rough times Melvin endured after the war and the subsequent healing, physical and mental, over the years.

It is a story many Viet Nam Vets can relate to.

Please link over to read the full article here.

Senator Cotton presents the long overdue Purple Heart medal to Marvin Fields
Thank you to the Arkansas Online website of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper for allowing us to link to the article.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

MIG-21 Being Restored in Maine Parking Lot

Some men collect stamps, others collect all kinds of things, A Maine shopkeeper has a Polish MIG-21 in his parking lot!

Frank Sizouco and his son, Zachary with their MIG-21

A Cold War MIG fighter jet has been saved from the scrap yard by the owner of a military supply store - who is recreating it piece-by-piece outside his Maine shop.

Frank Spizouco had discovered the aircraft - which was due to be destroyed - during a warehouse picking trip to California.

The military enthusiast decided to save the historic fighter jet from the scrap yard and . . .

Use this link to read the rest of the story - Maine MIG-21

The video embedded in the news article is of a dual screen recording of a MIG-29 take off and flight. The split screen is from a pilot facing camera and a helmet mounted one so you see both views at the same time. Pretty Cool.

Here is a link to an actual MIG-21 flying video that I found on YouTube. MIG-21 flight. The comments section states that this is a Chinese MIG.

Thank you to the website for allowing me to post a link to their article, to YouTube and poster Koga Keke for the use of the MIG-21 video.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

54 Years Ago Today in Cold War History - The Berlin Wall

In response to the flight of tens of thousands of German citizens to the West, East Germany decided to close their borders and started construction of the Berlin Wall 54 years ago today. It was the start to physically construct the figurative Iron Curtain that Winston Churchill spoke of in his 1946 speech.

Most of the border crossings across the divide between east and west had been closed and Berlin became a place that an East German citizen could cross successfully. It was closed eventually also, first with barbed wire, then a block wall with guards, open zones, a shoot to kill order, and then a very tall concrete wall . It stayed in place for a little over 38 years, finally being opened on November 9, 1989. As they say, the rest is history.

Here is the best website I found that explains it all -

Freedom cannot be contained by a wall, it came down eventually!

Here is a compilation of photographs from that era -

At first it was just barbed wire

Then a block wall hastily erected
and open areas with mines

Shoot to kill orders came next

A taller wall was constructed

A fortified border to keep citizens in against their will but they still kept leaving

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

More Cold War Music - Recalling Tunes of the Atomic Age

Keeping with the same theme of the previous two post on Cold War music, this article showed up today and I just had to link over and see what was there.

I was very surprised at the variety of music genre that used the atomic bomb in a song. Blues, Ballad, Folk, Christian, and Rock & Roll are all represented.

I bounced around YouTube looking at others and there are even more than what was referenced by the article's author, Mr. Herrera.

Here is an excerpt from his article:

"It was early one morning, when all the good work was done; and that big bird was loaded, with that awful atomic bomb" - Atomic Bomb Blues Homer Harris (with Muddy Waters) 1946. You can listen to the song by clicking on the title.

Link over to Herrera's article here.

The comment at the end of the article motivated me to research the song Mr. Hinton references because, not being a serious fan of Simon & Garfunkel's music,I did not remember it.

The Sun is Burning words ring true to any of us Cold Warriors who stood their watch all those years so the nuclear annihilation of the world, sung about in the song, did not occur.

Songs of peace and anti-war lyrics influenced many I am sure, but it was the Cold Warrior that eventually ended the MADness (pun intended for the acronym MAD - Mutual Assured Destruction).

Take 3-minutes and give the song a listen.

The lyrics can be read here. An interesting fact is that Simon & Garfunkel did not write the song, Ian Campbell did. Ian Campbell was a successful singer/songwriter in the UK. He died in 2012 and the song The Sun is Burning is mentioned as an achievement in his obituary (link here).

You can access the previous Cold War music posts, Jazz and Metal, by clicking on the highlighted title.

Thank you to Dan Herrera and the Albuquerque Journal's Venue section for the link to their article; to Mark Justice Hinton for the reference to Simon & Garfunkel's song The Sun is Burning; YouTube and the posters sznurowado and bluesfan12 for the music links, MetroLyrics for the link to the written lyrics; and The Guardian for the obituary link.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

German Metal Legends The Scorpions Helped Tear Down Cold War Walls

Back when I got the original idea to start this blog, I chose the Scorpion's "Wind of Change" as the official song for The Proud Cold Warrior Society. Today I received this article in my Google Alert feed and was reminded of that long forgotten decision.

I assume that those of you Cold War Vets who were stationed in Europe back in the 70s and 80s knew of this band so please share any encounters with their music. Or, maybe you attended one of their concerts? Please share if you did by posting a comment below.

I had to refresh my memory on the song so here goes: Scorpions Wind of Change Live

Access and then sing along with the lyrics here.

You can find the whole article here.

Thank you to Fox News for the link to the article, YouTube and Pukrysa poster for the video, and Google Play for the lyrics.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy "Belated" Birthday to the Coast Guard

I'm a day late but here goes. I had a full personal day yesterday and did not get to the blog post until late in the evening.

When I checked Facebook yesterday, I saw a post on the US Coast Guard's birthday. 225 years since inception of the revenue cutter service and 100 years since the incorporation of what is now the modern Coast Guard.

USRC Massechusetts (in service 1791-1792)

My mind questioned, "What did the US Coast Guard do in the Cold War?"

I did a flurry of research for the USCG participation in the Cold War and found three areas of interest, The Korean War, Vietnam War and the DEW Line effort in the 1950s. If there are any "Coasties" out there that have any Cold War stories to share, please do so.

The Coast Guard was instrumental in assisting Korea with establishing their own Coast Guard capacity prior to the outbreak of hostilities with the North. After the start of the Korean War the US Coast Guard performed their standard missions of harbor and waterways patrol, SAR, weather observation, and LORAN services. They were there supporting the UN mission for the duration of the war.

The LORAN [LOng Range Aid to Navigation] station at Pusan is one of the truly unsung Coast Guard stories of the war.  

In the late 1950s the USCG participated in a very important Cold War task.

The DEW Line (Distant Early Warning Line) effort was quite interesting and I marvel at the gargantuan effort it took to establish the bases and radar stations in such a hard climate. The USCG was quite valuable in providing waterway transit assistance for the cargo shipping.

If you are unfamiliar with the DEW Line story please watch a documentary here. The DEW Line story 1957. The coast Guard ice breaker capacity is mentioned at about 14 minutes in the video.

I also found an online article of how it only took 100 days to build the Thule Air Force base in Operation Blue Jay and that the USCG provided the ability to move the materials by waterway to the construction site in Greenland.

In Vietnam, besides the Naval gunfire support role of Cutter size vessels that had larger guns, I found a wonderful amount of information on the Coast Guard's participation in river "Brown Water"  warfare in Vietnam. This role was very similar to the U S Navy's "Brown Water" warfare effort and just as dangerous.

82 foot USCG cutter on river patrol Vietnam

The USCG definitely did their share in the Cold War!

The USCG website provided most of the information in one convenient place. Click here to learn more.

Here is a cool old cruise book I found on the USCG effort in the Arctic. Go to chapter three for their Cold War chapter. Here is the link.

Thank you to all the online resources that provided information for this post.


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.