Cold War

PFC Jerome Silberman (Gene Wilder), U.S. Army, 1956-1958

PFC Jerome Silberman (Gene Wilder), U.S. Army, 1956-1958

In the glittering world of Hollywood, Gene Wilder remains an iconic figure, celebrated for his comedic genius and unforgettable performances. From his iconic roles in classics like "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" to his collaborations with Mel Brooks in uproarious films like "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles," Wilder's legacy is etched in the hearts of movie buffs everywhere. Yet, amidst the laughter and applause, there exists a lesser-known chapter of his life – his service in the United States military. Beyond the screen, Wilder's journey as a soldier reveals a depth of character shaped by discipline, sacrifice, and patriotism. Gene Wilder’s Early Life: From Milwaukee to Basic Training Gene Wilder was born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1933, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, son of Jeanne (Baer) and William J. Silberman, a manufacturer and salesman of novelty items. His father was a Jewish Russian immigrant, as were his maternal grandparents. Growing up, Wilder and his...

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AME2 Nevin Cumpston, U.S. Navy (1983-1991)

AME2 Nevin Cumpston, U.S. Navy (1983-1991)

What was your favorite piece of military equipment – firearm, apparel, vehicle, aircraft, boat, etc. – and why? What was your least favorite?:

My favorite piece of military equipment is the F-14 fighter aircraft. Having had the privilege of working on them in VF-41 onboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) in the mid 1980s as an AME (Aviation Maintenance Equipment) is among the best honors and memories I have of my US Naval service. Working a 12-hour shift, day in and day out, while at sea was my favorite part. Knowing that I had performed maintenance on an aircraft, and watching it be shot off the deck to go perform a mission, was a moment of pride for all of us to see. Becoming turned qualified and being a CDI inspector made it all the better, being able to start the aircraft and help other shops perform their maintenance tasks was the thrill of a lifetime.

Watching the F-14 take off at night in full afterburner while you are standing (kneeling) right next to it was so exhilarating an experience. Feeling the vibrations of the aircraft as the power radiated through the deck to your body, the heat, the sounds, the smell of burning JP5 in the air. Seeing the Jet blast deflectors come up, you knew things were about to become exciting. Feeling the tiny specks of the deck flying through the air and hitting you in the face as the aircraft powers its way down the catapult. Seeing how dirty we were after a day of being on the deck as a final checker or mechanic was also, in a way very cool, it made us feel like we accomplished something.
Having a flight schedule so busy that we only got time to eat box lunches, the bologna sandwiches, chips, and a piece of fruit were certainly welcome during the brutal schedule of flight ops.

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SSG Victoria Ryan, U.S. Army (1973-1988)

SSG Victoria Ryan, U.S. Army (1973-1988)

What was your favorite piece of military equipment – firearm, apparel, vehicle, aircraft, boat, etc. – and why? What was your least favorite?:

Pants suits for women soldiers. The most logical, practical, and ingenious Class A uniform that the US Army adopted in the mid-1970s.

I reenlisted for West Point, NY, and arrived in November 1976. As luck would have it, the winter of 1976-77 was one of the snowiest and coldest in recent memory for that area.

I worked in the Corp of Cadets in Washington Hall, which was located across an expansive parade ground, and adjacent to that was the general parking area for Washington Hall. The only way to reach the building was to traverse the parade ground. Enlisted women soldiers who were assigned to work there were authorized to wear black civilian knee-length boots during inclement winter weather – thankfully. Otherwise, our military-issue shoes would have been drenched and damaged, not to mention if we could have made it across without a potential injury from a fall.

The women’s Class A uniform at that time consisted of a skirt, jacket, and a short-sleeved cotton-blend white shirt. We were issued an overcoat to wear over the Class As during winter weather. But even with the outerwear, it was still a very cold trek to and from the auto to the building every day.

Imagine my overwhelming delight when news arrived that the permanent party female soldiers assigned to West Point had been designated to “test” the new pantsuits being considered optional wear.

The pants were the same shade of green as the current Class A jacket, so they could be mixed and matched. They were paired with a pale green long-sleeve knit mock-neck sweater that was machine washable and dryable. The comfort and warmth these garments provided were amazing.

All in all, over time, the Army adopted and issued the pants for all female soldiers; however, they did not permanently adopt the sweater, much to my dismay. At least the pants provided extra protection when outdoors during the winter months. The pants became my favorite uniform item, which I wore daily at my assigned post.

There was a mimeograph machine at my first assignment at Ft Dix, NJ to make offset copies of forms. You had to pour purple or black ink into the receptacle and turn the lever to move the ink around inside the unit so it would adhere to the exterior of the drum. Then you would have to place the typed form (special double-sheet paper) onto the drum – that was always tricky to do, then load the paper in a tray and manually crank the drum and rotate it so that the copies would spit out from the form on the drum – a very rudimentary process.

The greatest downside to this procedure was that if you got the ink on your clothes, they were trashed because the ink was permanent and would not come out. It was not the best way to perform an administrative task wearing a Class A summer uniform. You would, however, invariably get ink on your hands, so making a beeline to the restroom to wash was imperative. Hands down, this was one of the worst pieces of equipment utilized by the Army and my least favorite. Fortunately, copy machines came into use shortly after that. That was proven to be another cumbersome process, but a story for another time.

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Service Reflections of ETCS David Scheffler, U.S. Navy (1972-1995)

Service Reflections of ETCS David Scheffler, U.S. Navy (1972-1995)

PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS The following Reflections represents ETCS David Scheffler's legacy of his military service from 1972 to 1995. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The following Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life. Start recording your own Military Memories HERE. Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Navy. The Next Adventure I served in the US Army during the Vietnam War, developing a sense of Duty and Service. As my 'Sense' of duty developed, I simply knew that I was born to serve. Perhaps I was influenced by my years as a Boy Scout sitting around myriad campfires listening to the...

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Service Reflections of MSGT Terry Bacon, U.S. Marine Corps (1977-1998)

Service Reflections of MSGT Terry Bacon, U.S. Marine Corps (1977-1998)

PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS The following Reflections represents MSGT Terry Bacon's legacy of his military service from 1977 to 1998. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The following Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life. Start recording your own Military Memories HERE. Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Marine Corps. When I was about 7 or 8, I had an uncle who had returned from Vietnam. It was in '67 or '68. He was a door gunner and crew chief on a UH-34D. When he got home, he gave me an eagle, globe, and anchor to play with, and I carried it with me everywhere. It left a lasting...

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Service Reflections of CPL Chandra Duncan, U.S. Marine Corps (1981-1986)

Service Reflections of CPL Chandra Duncan, U.S. Marine Corps (1981-1986)

As a child, I always wanted to be a Marine and spent many hours watching movies and playing “war” with friends in the backyard wearing surplus WWII, Korea, and Vietnam apparel and gear given to me by my “uncle” Jr. The late 90s, while I was in high school, was a relative time of peace, and the few people I did see joining the military were doing it for college money, which, while making sense to me, also kind of soured the idea for me. In my senior year in 2000, the Army National Guard ran a recruiting event in the quad area at lunch, and a friend and I added our names to a list to get more information; my mother always told me that the military would brainwash me and that I was flat-footed and wouldn’t be accepted anyway (I’m not flat-footed) and when that Army Sgt called the house I heard my mother quickly give him a piece of her mind and then abruptly hang up on him, and that was the end of that, I wasn’t fully committed to the idea myself and had apprehensions and concerns about whether I’d be up to military life and honestly was unsure that I even had what it takes to make it through boot camp. After high school, I worked for my family, got engaged, and took out a loan for my first home. Then September 11th happened. I was angry, and silly as it may sound, I was filled with guilt as I saw on the news the brave men and women my age who answered the call to service both before and during this unprecedented time in our country. Still, I had obligations here at home and continued on my current course at the time. Years passed, and I grew older and feared that my youth would quickly pass me by. Then, the economic recession of 2008 hit.

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SSG Victoria Ryan, U.S. Army (1973-1988)

SSG Victoria Ryan, U.S. Army (1973-1988)

List the names of old friends you served with, at which locations, and recount what you remember most about them?:

In late 1976, I reenlisted for my second tour of duty. I had chosen my next duty station as West Point, NY, which was close to my parent’s residence. The year prior, while I was stationed in Hawaii, my mother had undergone major surgery in order to amputate one of her legs that had been destroyed by osteomyelitis. Her diabetes had exacerbated the disease. The only solution was amputation, a risky endeavor because the diabetes could cause the procedure to end her life. The surgery was a success and in due time, she was fitted with a prosthesis.

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PFC Eugene Broyls, Jr. U.S. Marine Corps (1980-1990)

PFC Eugene Broyls, Jr. U.S. Marine Corps (1980-1990)

List the names of old friends you served with, at which locations, and recount what you remember most about them?:

My best friend from Chicago, Miguel Morales, and I joined the U.S. Marine Corps together. In boot camp, we were required to stand on our footlocker every evening, and when the Drill Instructor stood before us, we had to yell, “Sir, recruit (so-and-so) has no physical or mental problems to report, Sir!” We had to yell this loud and so fast that you could barely understand what the recruits were saying. Well, my friend Miguel’s bunk was right next to mine. Miguel, always the joker, whispered *watch this*, and when Staff Sargent Martinez came before him, he yelled, “Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra!”

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Service Reflections of CPL James Foster,  U.S. Marine Corps (1973-1977)

Service Reflections of CPL James Foster, U.S. Marine Corps (1973-1977)

I guess it started back when I was around 9 or 10. My dad showed me pics of him when he was in the army, stationed in the Azores. He told me about his experiences, and I was like, “Wow!”. I started playing with these little, plastic army men on the front lawn in the grass, acting out battles and everything. I even began drawing pics of bombs exploding and things like that. One time in class, a teacher caught me…but I won’t go into that.

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Cold War Double Agents Within the CIA

Cold War Double Agents Within the CIA

How much do you know about Cold War double agents within the CIA? Just recently, news has been released by a CIA analyst that, during the Cold War, there were double agents who worked for the CIA while remaining secretly loyal to communist spy agencies. There were nearly 100 fake CIA “agents” in East Germany, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. These “agents” made up false intelligence that was then passed on to the U.S. policymakers for years.

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Service Reflections of LTCOL William Dolley, U.S. Marine Corps (1981-2005)

Service Reflections of LTCOL William Dolley, U.S. Marine Corps (1981-2005)

PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS The following Reflections represents LTCOL William Dolley's legacy of his military service from 1981 to 2005. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The following Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life. Start recording your own Military Memories HERE. Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Marine Corps. MCRD San Diego Bootcamp Photo 1981 As an indelible U.S. Marine imprinted in your heart forever, we all know we come into this world without pockets and will leave this world with only accumulated wisdom, life lessons for our Higher Soul, and much love. Your...

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Sgt Elvis Aaron Presley, U.S. Army (1958-1960)

Sgt Elvis Aaron Presley, U.S. Army (1958-1960)

American singer and actor Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), widely recognized as The King of Rock-N-Roll, is the celebrity whose military service is probably best known. He enlisted in the US army at the peak of his career, in 1958, when he was already world-famous and had wide success as a rockabilly and rock-n-roll singer also encompassing other genres, including gospel, blues, ballads, and pop music. Elvis Presley: Birth of the Star Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. He was a twin, but his brother was stillborn. Elvis had a strong bond with his parents, especially with his mother Gladys. His father Vernon was doing odd jobs, and the family often depended on the goodwill of neighbors or government food support. Elvis was an average student at best, but impressed the teachers with his singing. One of the teachers encouraged him to enter a singing contest, which turned out to be Elvis’s first public appearance at the age of...

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