NUESTRA VOZ DE NORTH TEXAS


Placeholder image

El Weekender

No 77

The Cold War

By Felix Alvarado

Little did I know what the future would hold for me that day I graduated from my training at Fort Carson, CO, as a clerk-typist.  First, there was that long train ride to Fort Dix, NJ.  It must have taken four days.  There were several hundred of us on board.  We finally, made it to Fort Dix, NJ.  Everyone was told to check the bulletin board for departure information.  The Army at that time still had ships to ferry troops from CONUS (Continental US) and Europe.  That night it was the USS Patton that was sailing to Bremerhaven, West Germany.  The departure list was long.  Since it was alphabetical it was easy for me to see that my name was not on the list.  I was told not to worry.  That being an order, I obeyed it.

A week later, still no orders.  I was sent to personnel and told to fill out some papers.  Somehow it was so I could get a security clearance.  I did not have a clue what anyone was talking about.  But fill out the papers I did.  Then back to the barracks.  This was getting boring.  Nothing to do all day.  I should not have thought that because next thing I know is that someone tells me to get in the two-and-a-half-ton Truck, I was going on work detail.  Which was fine with me, anything to kill the boredom. 

We go to the chapel.  The chaplain greets us and tells us that he was asking for a detail because he figured out that we were being worked too hard and needed some time off.  Just sit down and have coffee and donuts.  I thought Oh My God.  Anyway, the day went by and finally back to the barracks.  Next day, we are in formation again.  Some sergeant with a loud speaker barking orders to someone and everyone. Whom? I don’t know.  But he was good at barking.  So, I got out of formation, pretended to be in chocks, ready to run.  Someone told me to get back in formation but I just stayed there.  First name hollered was mine with instructions to report to the orderly room.  I finally had my orders, I was leaving that night for Germany.  I was going to Hq VII Corps.  I had an interim secret clearance.  I still did not know what it was.  Found out I was flying.  Which did not bother me because I had heard horror stories of GI’s throwing up all the way to Bremerhaven.  That night I boarded an airplane headed to Germany.  It must have been a C141.  The floor was cold.  I mean cold.  I did not know it at the time, but I was on my way to fight the Cold War.  With a typewriter.

Anyway, got to Frankfurt.  That was my first landing at Rhein Main Air Base.  Years later I would be assigned to Rhein Main as a member of the Air Force.  Tonight, I was on my way to the 21st Replacement Battalion in Frankfurt.  Got there, got my follow-on orders to Stuttgart.  I also had my label on the chest, in German, telling everyone where I was going.  Just in case I got lost.  Waiting for me at the Bahnhof (train station) in Stuttgart was a staff car to take me to Kelly Barracks. Got there late, but got there.  Time to rest.

This was during the Cold War.  First thing I found out was that the folks did not want someone with an interim SECRET clearance.  They were willing to settle for someone with an INTERIM TOP SECRET clearance, but not secret.  Somehow, I got the interim TOP SECRET.  That was enough to get me started.  I learned that classified material is compartmentalized.  No one can see it all.  Unless you are a clerk typist.  Then the rules are different.

My duty assignment was Assistant Chief of Staff, G3, Hq VII Corps.  We had two sections, Operations and Plans.  Operations was the office that would send everyone to war.  There was one captain there and as the captain explained to the Colonel, once in a while he had to use the bathroom.  Someone always had to be in the room because it had the “Squawk Box” the beast that was going to launch the war.  the Colonel agreed that I could work with the captain but when typing came around I would go across the hallway and type.  What I typed were Top Secret plans.  Now that I look at it, it is like two football teams, both have plans for offense and defense.  So, did we.  At that time, it was called the Soviet Union, they were the offense.  If they attacked, we knew where.  Our plans were retaliatory, how we would thwart their attack, we were the defense.  In this game, there were no Hail Mary Passes.  It was the Squawk Box that put us all on alert the night President Kennedy was assassinated.  We were ready for war. 

When we were getting ready to type, someone would come in and debug the War Room.  To make sure the Soviets had not bugged the place so they could beat us at our game.  Once the War Room was declared safe we would carry our typewriters and desks and start to work.  Everything that we did was considered classified TOP SECRET.  Ink Ribbons, drafts, you name it.  We would stay in their literally day and night until the general approved the plans.  These plans dealt with the deployment of troops to selected areas on command of the general.

After the war, the Soviets did not pull back its forces from the countries it had occupied during the war. These countries were called the Eastern Bloc countries, they were Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungry, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.  The people living in these countries had few rights.  Tanks would enforce Soviet rule.  There were two Germanys and two Berlins one East and one West.  They were separated by a wall.  The era known as the Cold War had begun. 

Of course, the Cold War got hot a couple of times.  The Soviets had military patrols along the DMZ (Demilitarized zone).  So, did we.  There was supposed to have been a small no man’s land but to the Soviets it meant nothing.  What made the Soviet Union powerful was that it lots of nuclear bombs and a delivery system.  Intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers that could fly long distance.  They also had a large military but we were a match for them.  Maybe not in numbers but definitely in firepower tanks, artillery and airplanes.

On June13, 1990, the demolition of the wall started.  On December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned the presidency of the Soviet Union. On the same day, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.  America’s contender for the leadership of the world was dead.  +With the end of the Soviet Union the new Russia went from a Super Power to a toothless tiger a threat only to countries that were born from the Soviet Union, Russia even though it still possessed nuclear bombs.  A tremendous loss of prestige and status on the world stage no longer a military or economic power.  The birth of the European Union made Russia even more insignificant, Russia is trying to become a global power at the expense of regional countries.  To do so it must dismantle the European Union and it must weaken the US.  Ideally, puppets will be elected sympathetic to Russia.  Russia will thus regain its Super Power Status. 

The purpose of a security clearance is to protect America.  I learned that compromise meant the Communists had something, like dirt, on you that they could use to blackmail you.  That is why when the FBI investigates your background it is not looking for facts, they already have those, they are looking for dirt.  To the communists, dirt was gold.

In the Army and later in the Air Force, the Cold War was about being ready for war.  In my years in the military, the Soviet Union was always considered an adversary.  There is no reason to believe that an ex-KGB agent is anything less than an adversary.  One way to put it is, “Can a leopard change its spots?”

Back

Home

NV Home



Sign up to receive our e-mails
Click for larger image