Cold War stories, part dux
Originally published October 3rd, 2007.
Wonderful write up – in this passage – I reckon they mostly gathered electronic intelligence, which is the work of a very small and specialized set of operators in darkened cabins, while all the rest of the swabbies wallowed and heaved like rice crispies in a milk bowl when not picking at the occasional rust spot that they could no longer decently pretend to overlook
…I was thinking of something left unsaid – a lot of puking?
Lex’s story reminded me of a similar event of cold war intelligence gathering, although not as colorful.
My little station (1973) when I first arrived in Germany was an old radar station overlooking Ramstein AFB which was/is the main NATO tactical fighter base. From our perch we could actually look down – I remember seeing a brand new F15 – painted in powder blue – coming in – I later learned these were send by McDonnell-Douglas on sort of an “orientation tour”
The C5A – still fairly new – seemed to float below us on short final – not that it was slow but the size of it masked the true approach speed.
Well anyway for some reason I am on the base – probably had been to the PX – and I see 2 sinister characters with a camera – and tripod – photographing the C5A.
If you have a stereotype Soviet Spy – these guys had it – badly fitting dark suits, skinny ties, a bit overweight…
Thinking I really stumbled onto something I called the MPs and after hearing my story, they weren’t really interested which surprised me.
Turns out they were Russians and there legally under a program that allowed both east and west to send liaisons to the military installations of the other. Later I saw some of these guys in – I maintain to this day – was the ugliest car imaginable, a Wartburg limousine. Made in the German People’s Republic.
Anyway some years later Army Major Arthur Nicholson was shot while observing Soviet actions – the Russians would not allow medical help to come and he bled to death over a couple of hours –
I was out of the Army by then but remember the story like it was yesterday.
Wasn’t all fun and games.
Were you in ASA, Bill? If so, I did a year with yer Partners-In-Crime on Diogenes Station, otherwise known as Beautiful Sinop By the Sea. That was a really good year, even though I didn’t think so at the time.
Buck – I was just a lowly Pfc – later Spec/4 attached to the 94th group of the 32nd ADA (Air Defense) – no security unit.
Closest i got to Intelligence/Security was when the Army sent me to Ft Bliss after Basic Training – giving me the MOS of 16H10 (I think) – Intelligence Gathering.
But I figured as a Private I wouldn’t be interviewing many Viet Cong or NVA so volunteered for radar work.
Funny thing I did learn there those that if you really observe and/or listen places and people can reveal things they didn’t intend or were (most think) hidden…
I remember reading some time ago – a story that flashed by our screens – about a drone – Air Force? That they lost control of in the early 60s – and the Air Force couldn’t find it – they asked the Navy to help – they couldn’t find it – this thing is flying around Bakersfield – finally ran out of fuel – early 60s?
Anyway I am sure it was a story Lex would have liked –
Was trying to find a write up of it – pretty comical to think of this thing flying over half of So Cal and nobody had any idea where it was –
Anyone remember the story?
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