Our Last Cold War Casualty… | John J. Miller | Hey Miller

On New Year’s Eve in 1984, a small group of U.S. soldiers decided to exploit the Soviet weakness for drunken revelry to get as close as they could to a T-80 tank in East Germany. The men weren’t out on their own inebriated lark–they were part of a top-secret mission behind the Iron Curtain. A reporter once claimed that an Army major, Arthur Nicholson, was among them, though former colleagues insist he wasn’t. It hardly matters. The result was an intelligence coup for the U.S., as one of the soldiers not only observed the Soviet tank but also sneaked inside and photographed its interior. Nicholson certainly knew about the operation, even if he wasn’t directly involved. Within three months, however, he would be dead–very possibly as the victim of Soviet retaliation.

via Our Last Cold War Casualty… | John J. Miller | Hey Miller.

Just about every time we left the garrison, we were briefed on the Soviet Military Liaison Mission.   The basic rule of thumb was they could look but not touch. As long as they didn’t physically interfere with our operations, we were to ignore them (but report them to higher). But if they touched…

There was a popular story about a SMLM officer who hopped up to take a look in the back of a 5-ton truck stopped momentarily at the side of the road. As soon as he lifted the back canvas flap, the Sergeant in back butt stroked him in the face with his rifle.

No touch!

5 thoughts on “Our Last Cold War Casualty… | John J. Miller | Hey Miller”

  1. fascinating read. I’d like to see a book on this. Interestingly, he was born up at Mount Vernon the same year my granddad disappeared flying out of NAS Whidbey.

    1. I’ve known you 30 years, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever heard the story of your grandfather. I’d like to. If you don’t wish to share it here, I’ll understand, but at least email me.

    2. So he was air crew on lighter-than-air ships. Did SAR flight (or whatever they called it) for two ocean liners that sank in the 30s, I can’t recall the name of one that burned on the shore of New Jersey right now. Was ground crew on the Hindenberg when it went up. I have copies of letters he wrote about placing the casualties in a building on Lakehurst. He wrote his brother and said “We were all track stars when we were running out from under the Hindenberg.” I used to have some silverware from the crash but someone stole it. He transitioned into fixed wing and was aircrew on Kinfishers. In letter, he describes a cat shot off a cruiser turret and says his goggles were still on the turret while they were flying. He was at Pearl Harbor on 7 DEC. I have a scrap of grey and red cloth labeled “Part of torpedo plan shot down in Pearl Harbor on 7 DEC 1941” on the back. He wrote in a letter dated 10 DEC, “I guess you heard about the big to-do we had on Sunday.” Served through the PTO till the end. I used to have one of those “USN Naval War Photographs” books in pristine condition, but my brother sold it. Then, in 1947, he was TDY up to the Aleuts out of Whidbey flying in a PB4Y2 when the whole A/C disappeared after checking in that they would be landing in 10 min. USN reported over the years that 4 a/c disappeared that day and varyingly that conditions were CAVU and also overcast, with some other disconnects. Though there is no evidence, and it occurred before any other documented shoot-downs, my grandmother always believed he was shot down by the Soviets. This is how my mother wound up in OH at 10 years old, met my dad there in 57 and we moved back there after their divorce. Incredible man with a story I would have loved to have heard. I met his brothers for the first time as an adult while I was stationed at Lewis (they are from Spokane) and they were all amazed at my resemblence to him.

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