Cold War Warrior

About The Cold War Warrior

“I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

This Blog is about the learning. It is also about the men and women from all the cold wars who worked so hard for something they believed in and played so hard they forgot the pain. They were the Cold War Warriors. They lived at missile sites, on nuclear subs, sat on little and not so little islands that were either too hot or too cold but always isolated. They were the doers and the watchers. Oh, by the way, they still are.

Recent Posts

flying-high-smooth-landing

By |December 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Author: Frank Maio

Returning to Italy after nearly a month in Turkey was great. The only work to be done at this

The Italian Marxist-Leninist terrorist group Brigate Rosse or Red Brigades officially disbanded in the 1980s

The Italian Marxist-Leninist terrorist group Brigate Rosse or Red Brigades officially disbanded in the 1980s

point was picking up the pieces.  At the end of the day, it was off to the old “watering holes” and good food. One had to be careful, of course.  The Red Brigade was very much in evidence at that time and there was a very active Communist Party.

The Italian Communist Party in the mountain region used to meet in a Bar and Restaurant called Moretti’s in Udine, an ancient town in northeastern Italy.  I recall being on town patrol one night and getting a call that a drunk airman had wandered into the bar was causing mayhem where one such meeting was taking place and. Jack, an Apache Indian, had been in the Air Force for a few years when he got to our base but he had NO stripes, so when payday came he would get into a few crap games win a good bit of money and hit the town.  By

Moretti's Beer House & Restaurant Udine Italy

Moretti’s Beer House & Restaurant Udine Italy

the time we got to Moretti’s in our Jeep, the restaurant’s front window had been broken out and locals were lying all over the place, Jack coming out the door with the Hammer and sickle in his hands.

Northern Italy was as close as you would get in that area to Communism, and Boris was our enemy at that time; Hungary a few hundred miles to the Northwest and Yugoslavia about 65 miles to the Northwest and the locals, so it was interesting at times.

You never could tell what might happen in Udine.  For example, a movie company showed up inFOX_D2227288D Udine.  It seemed that Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones, Vittorio De Sica, Kurt Kaszner came to make “A Farewell to Arms”,   Hemingway’s epic.  A friend of mine, Roger Dabbert and I went up to the set one day to see what was going on.  While walking around the movie trailers out came Rock Hudson and we introduced ourselves.  He was surprised that there were Americans locally.  We explained how we got there and he invited us into his trailer for a box lunch.  During the conversation he asked if we had a BX and of course we did, he was dying for some good old American Peanut Butter.  We delivered same and got front row seating during most of the filming when we could be there.

Libya Beckons

633rdPatchNew orders arrived and we were off for the 633rd AC&W at Wheelus Field, Libya. Back in 1954 the United States and Libya had signed an agreement that the U.S. could use Wheelus and its gunnery range.  During the Cold War, there were thousands of Americans there and the U.S. Ambassador to Libya once called Wheelus “a Little America…on the sparkling shores of the Mediterranean,” although temperatures at the base frequently reached 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (43 to 50 degrees Celsius).

Our plane landed and we were quickly ushered into the base theater. Once again, I found myself in a clime totally unsuited for man nor beast.  Although dressed in khakis the heat inside the un-air conditioned theater was unbearable.  After a few short welcoming remarks from a few officers, a Sergeant takes the stage and in a booming voice begins telling us how horrible conditions were and the rules regarding them.  Rules such as, never go to town (Tripoli) alone, never go the “Old Section”, ever.  If you do go to town always travel in large numbers and if by chance you get drunk and break a local law, do not expect the State Department to assist you in getting out.  In most cases you would be accorded the same punishment that was for all.  If you steal, the hand that stole would be cut off, peeking into windows would have your eye or eyes poked out. Sitting in this HOT theater hearing all of this “it really is not a bad place, but…”, kind of made you wonder why anyone in this world would build the largest military supply base

Luxury Barracks-at last a perk.

Luxury Barracks-at last a perk.

there.  To finish off the education portion of the ‘Welcome to’…, a Sargent got up and said, “now gentlemen, here is a friendly reminder, if for some reason you decide to go AWOL, we can watch you for days if you go South, West and East from the Control Tower and if you go North, well we can watch you till your arms get tired of swimming”.  With that we were escorted to our barracks.  They were my first encounter with two man rooms and a very nice ones at that.  Those with dependents might find a nice apartment in town, but they had to have a live in servant, this afforded security, as the locals did not bother their own.

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flying-high-takeoff

By |December 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Author: Frank Maio

I enlisted in the USAF after taking my sweetie to the drive in movie that was playingstrategicaircommandBQUADs “Strategic Air Command” with James Stewart and June Allison that would be June 1955.  I knew then that the Cold War was very much in the minds of the populace at that time.  “Boris” was a bad guy and we had to stay prepared, just in case.

“Boris”, the villain in the popular 1950s cartoon series Rocky and His Friends[1] created by Jay Ward and Bill Scott, represented most American’s attitude toward the Soviet Union in those times. The memory of having to drop to the floor and cover Boris and Natashaup beside our desks was imbedded.  The ironic thing about all that was that I was attending a Parochial school three blocks from the US Capitol Building and I thought that just if they decided to drop the ‘A’- Bomb on the Capitol, we would be toast before we got to the floor.  I stated that to the Nun in the class one day and was quickly rushed to the hall and taken to the office.  It was a call to home, asking my parents to stop me from filling the class with terror.  And so, I asked no more questions about that.

Joining Up

Upon graduation from High School and not really having a direction, I did indeed join the USAF, being flown to Sampson AFB in Upstate New York to begin basic training (August 5, 1955).  For some reason I took to the military way ofduck_and_cover_fallout1 life and worked hard.  Upon graduation, I was called in and asked if I would like to become a drill instructor.  I still had that movie embedded in my brain and wiping noses of tender recruits was not on my radar (no pun intended).  So after my turning down that offer I was sent to Biloxi, Mississippi, Keesler AFB for radar ops school.  The intent being that I would watch a radar screen and detect the “Boris'” coming at the US.  There are certain training events that I am not at liberty to discuss, but part of that training was at Fort Bragg and Benning and some time at Fort Ord.

The Lost APO

I was then sent home for thirty days

Frank Maio circa late 1950s

Frank Maio circa late 1950s

and was told to report to Manhattan AFS, Coney Island, New York for travel to an APO that had NO destination.  I gave my orders to the good clerk and he scratched his head and asked me to go the big wall map and find the red bulb on the map that indicated my APO.  Nothing there, I reported and was told to find my barrack and report back in the morning.  This went on for almost three weeks, much to the concern of the young clerk.  My only duty was to report, sign out and go into New York.  Found the USO and was able to get tickets to shows such as “No Time for Sergeants”.  Then one morning the young clerk told me to pack my duffle and stand ready for shipping, so for two days I camped out at McGuire AFB waiting for orders.  After two days they put me on a C-54 for Rhein Main in Frankfurt, Germany, with the “Maybe they can find that @#&* APO.

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flying-high-cruising-altitude

By |December 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Author: Frank Maio

When last I wrote, we had just arrived in Turkey and off-loaded the C-124.  It was hot,

Nighttime at Incirlik, Turkey

Nighttime at Incirlik, Turkey

very hot, and, after we completed putting up the OPS hut, we stripped down to bathing suits and brogans, to work inside. The next phase of our lives was about to begin.

The First Night

That night, after our arrival and having unloaded the equipment, we found ourselves near the Turkish Military Fuel Supply, which was just down the road.  Having been given the

Camp at Incirlik, Turkey

Camp at Incirlik, Turkey

first watch over the equipment; that would be one guard as we were inside the perimeter of the base.  It was terribly hot that night, I knew it was night because my watch said it was, but in all reality it was almost as bright as normal daylight.  A jeep went up and down the road putting me in a ready mode, but it never stopped.  At about 10 pm the jeep came back and stopped.  This bullish Turkish Army type jumped out and introduced himself by telling me that we were sharing the area and that he had a guard at the fuel depot.  I noticed a baseball bat in the back of the jeep and I asked what it was used for, he said that if he found a guard asleep on his post or not doing what they were told, he beat them with it.  Now I am thinking that I do not want him driving by finding me asleep.

He left after that and I referred myself to checking my carbine for some reason.  Pulled the clip out and test fired it, nothing.  So looking around and seeing no one, I started field

Welcome to Turkey

Welcome to Turkey

stripping the weapon, going as fast as I could, for I knew that it would be my neck if I were found out.  Luckily, no one came and I got it back together, when I heard this voice, “Hey, Joe, Hey Joe, OK, OK”, coming up the road was the guard from the dump, flicking his fingers in a lighting a match mode.  I figured he could not smoke on his post, so I told him OK, he put a cigarette in his mouth and came towards me.  I reached for my lighter in my pants pocket at the same time setting the Carbine down on the box that I had used to field strip it on.  Had the bolt action pulled back and locked, or so I thought, the second the weapon hit the box the bolt action came out and snapped shut making this awful noise as it fell into position.  Looking up, the poor guy must have thought I was going to shoot him and he was gone in seconds.  Walked out a ways and found his cigarette there on the ground.  Did not broadcast that right away.  I laughed, but it really was not that funny.  The shift being over, I went back to the Quonset to sleep, but it was so hot, no way.

U2 Before It Was an Irish Rock Band

Out bright and early the next morning, putting down flooring and cable in the floor for the Operations shack; the task was accomplished on the first day.  Next day it was working

inside this oven setting up the radar gear and plotting boards.  We were being pushed

Moscow Moscow broadcasts from Radio Moscow

Moscow Moscow broadcasts from Radio Moscow

because we were told that a squadron of F-84’s were to arrive very soon and they needed our setup operating on arrival.  Every hour we had to fall out for water breaks and salt tablets. The maintenance guys were busy in the hot sun putting up the antennas and radio hookups, we had accomplished our duties and were free to wait on the incoming aircraft.  Though as we sat around listening to ‘Moscow Molly’[1] that night we found our “top secret” move was already known in Russia.  Like Tokyo Rose, ‘Moscow Molly’ is pure propaganda as she welcomes us by unit number, personnel number and “we know that the U2 will be arriving soon” and she finished off by telling the base support staff that the third run way light on the left of a particular number was not working.  So much for a surprise, but we grunts really did not know anything about impacts, our job was to just do it.  (more…)

americas-greatest-days-are-yet-to-come-jim-bennett-and-mike-lotus

By |December 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Today, December 21, 2013, marks the changing of the seasons. It is a good day to reflect on517Oz3UR0BL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ another safe journey around the sun and anticipate the beauty we may behold as spring bursts forth with life renewed.  It is a good day to listen to the message of hope in the Jim Bennett and Mike Lotus book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century-Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come.  It is even better because you can.  Tonight, John B. Wells will be interviewing the authors on Coast to Coast AM.

Some decades ago, the U.S. marked a sea change of ideas. I write about the legacy of the Cold War because I lived it and, right or wrong, contributed to its propagation.  The Cold War was the implementation of the ideas perpetrated during the time that Bennett and Lotus call America 2.0.  The ideas and their implementation have led the American people down a garden path of debt, socialism, massive central government, a standing military, loss of individual rights, and entitlement.  They have achieved what Frédéric Bastiat described as a Complete Perversion of The Law in the late 1840s:

The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.

There is a restlessness, an uneasiness among the population that is palpable.  The federal government’s response has been one of fear.  The government gets more abusive as it becomes increasingly fearful.  The tide will change. The people will rebel at the ballot box and in the picket line but then what? What is the plan?  Voices decry the current situation but few offer solutions.  America 3.0 is the right idea presented at the right time.  The John Wells interview is a long format so the ideas can be explored.