Thursday, September 17, 2015

More '80s Cold War Music - Land of Confusion - Genesis

On my day off recently, while working on our classic '80s Jag, I heard an old Genesis song on the radio.

My mind instantly visualized the music video that was shown on MTV over and over and over again. Yes, there was a time that MTV actually showed only music videos 24 hours per day!

It is unforgettable for a Cold Warrior like me because of the content, it depicts Ronald Reagan and a host of Cold War leaders and celebrities, as puppets. It is a dream sequence, very surrealistic, and an anti-war message that ends with a nuclear explosion.

I viewed the video several times, catching quick parodies to various notorious characters of the day, world leaders who were influential in the Cold War, and celebrities supporting peace in a "We Are The World" style scene of another music video that was extremely popular on MTV at the time.

After that, I read many, not all, the comments posted. The comments ranged from an aged peacenik who doesn't acknowledge that it was Ronnie Reagan that ended the Cold War, to a follower fan with a photo showing a person way too young to have been an adult during the Cold War, and various others that agree or disagree with him.

You can tell in the poster's words that he longs for the protest days of his youth much like we Cold Warriors long for the days of our youth defending his right to protest the very successful conclusion we attained, the fall of the Soviet Empire. Of course, no where in his writings is any mention that the USSR was the bad guy in those years. In one post, he even blames the current problems on Reagan. I don't know how he makes that connection but he did.

Hey Randy R - no one, and I mean no one, dislikes war more than those that will fight it, the warrior. But without us, there would be no peace.

John K
The Proud Cold Warrior

You can view the comments here.

Here is the link to the actual song lyrics.

Thank you to Genesis for the music, and MrPhil46 youtube poster for access to the video, and for the lyrics link.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

One Sailor's Cold Warrior Story

We have a guest post today!

Mike Kerr and I served on the same ship, the U.S.S. Harold J. Ellison, we served at different times but we steamed some of the same oceans, walked the same passageways, ate in the same mess decks, and listened to the same gun mounts roar during the Cold War. Even though I do not know him personally, I consider him a brother. A brother in arms.

Mike wrote the following for a Facebook page we belong to for our old ship the Happy Jack, which is the Ellison's nickname.

"50 years ago this week our ship, the U.S.S. Harold J. Ellison, DD864 left Key West, Fl. While we were notified that we were going to be part of a squadron of destroyers that was the FIRST, from the East Coast to go to VIETNAM. My initial reaction was probably OMG! We left Norfolk, Virginia in September, 1965 with the U.S.S. Bache, DD740. We joined DESRON 24 from Newport, Rhode Island off the coast of Virginia and began our around the world adventure. As it turned out it was probably one of the most exciting events in my life. As an 18 & 19 year old kid, I didn't really take into consideration what might happen over there. We did our time in the war zone, supporting the fleet ops and in close, "in country" river & harbor patrol and gun fire support of the ground troops. But we also circumnavigated the globe (Order of Magellan), went through both the Panama & Suez Canals (Ditch Diggers), went across the International Date Line (Golden Dragon) And going from Polywogs to Shellbacks when crossing the Equator. It was quite an experience and I'm glad I was able to do it."

Thank you Mike for sharing.

The things I have in common with Mike's story are: DESRON 24 out of Newport Rhode Island (my old squadron 72-75), Rounding the Horn and navigating the Straits of Magellan (1972) which Mike would have done following Magellan's path, Panama Canal Transit (1972), Norfolk Naval Station D & S piers, Virginia Capes, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and I served on the Happy Jack from 1979 to 1982.

I also have the Crossing the Equator Shellback and Order of the Ditch Panama Canal certificates.

Here are images of the Happy Jack and the certificates that Mike references in his post.

My certificates are in storage or I'd post photos of the originals.

Thank you to Tiffany Publishing for the use of the sample certificate images.

If you would like to share your Cold War story, please email me at


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.