Showing posts with label PERSHING II missiles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PERSHING II missiles. Show all posts

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day, 11 January, 1985

On 11 January 1985, three soldiers of Charlie Battery, 3rd 84th FA(Pershing) were killed in an accident involving a Pershing II Missile stage. SSGT John Leach, SGT Todd A. Zephier, and PFC Darryl L. Shirley, lost their lives on that cold mountainside that morning. I was in Headquarters Company of the 3/84th, and was on a special duty assignment about 15 miles from "Redleg" where the accident occurred that day. I think about those guys all the time, but especially on Veterans Day.

The deployment of the Pershing II Missile in West Germany in the 1980's got everyone riled up, and also got a lot of people interested in seeking new ways to co-exist, without the threat of nuclear bombs as a deterrent. The 56th FA Brigade does not exist anymore. The "START" treaties, and our agreements under those treaties, vastly reduced the number of nuclear weapons we keep and called for their complete removal from Germany. Because of this the 56th was "discontinued."

The Pershing Cable

Key Chain, 3rd BN, 84th FA, 56th FA Brigade

Back of Keychain, Recovered at "Fort Redleg," 17 January 1985
I learned a lot of things at the 3/84th and most of them changed me in ways I still have not grasped. I miss those guys I served with but I never want to see them again because I don't want to think about my friends dead on the ground, incinerated for nothing, their lives gone so we could be the "tip of the spear." We lived in Hitler's old horse stables, and no one wanted us there, but we hung in there and survived that hell. To all vets, their families, and all my friends in and out of the service, take care and remember, always remember.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The SMLM Card

All the recent news about Russian spies reminded me of my own little piece of cold war history. Just when you thought all that stuff was over, here we are exchanging spies like it's nothing at all.

This card, and drink coaster, were not collected at an estate or yard sale but were collected by myself while I was stationed at only one of three PERSHING II nuclear missile sites in West Germany, during the 1980's. The SMLM card basically laid out the rules of engagement on how to handle those stray Russians who wandered into your TRA or PRA. Since every place on our base, and the surrounding area, was a PRA, you had to have one of these with you all the time, just in case.

Soviet Military Liaison Mission Card
This card had been withdrawn by the US Army, and has been classified as obsolete. The base where I was stationed was torn down and is now a small strip mall with light manufacturing and commercial businesses in its place. The money raised from the sale of the base allowed the nearby city to finance a new library, from the proceeds. The drink coaster features the 56 FA Brigade patch and was used at the NCO club located on base. What is funny about this, is very few people owned their own cars and the only time anyone drove was when they were driving an army vehicle.