COLD WAR: 1945-1991
NATO Cold War Unit Citation
Above are only proposed medals for Cold War veterans. Other proposed medals include: A European Defense Service, and
Currently there is no medal issued for the Cold War period.
The veterans of the Cold War, America’s longest war, deserve to be recognized, honored, and remembered.
The Cold War Victory Medal is both an official medal of the National Guard and an unofficial military medal of the United States. It is awarded by the States of Louisiana and Texas, and in ribbon form only by the State of Alaska.
Louisiana and Alaska Cold War Victory Medal
Texas Cold War Service Medal
The National Guard Bureau does not issue nor recognize the Cold War Victory Medal
Cold War Victory Commemorative Medal
Cold War Victory Commemorative Medal
Cold War Medal Commemorative Medal
Cold War Commemorative Ribbon
The United States Government, State Governments, Veterans Organizations, private mints and individuals have a long tradition of striking commemorative medals to recognize and honor specific military victories, historical events and military service to our great Republic. Until the 20th Century the United States did not issue military service medals recognizing service by veterans in the different wars, battles, campaigns or other significant military events.
The tradition of honoring U.S. military heroes began when the Continental Congress awarded gold and silver medals to our triumphant commanders of The Revolutionary War. While these were struck as table display medals, General Gates the victor of Saratoga, wasted no time hanging his from a neck ribbon and wearing it for his official portrait. General Washington was awarded the first commemorative medal for driving the British from Boston and the first commemorative to a naval hero was awarded to Captain John Paul Jones. These Congressionally authorized medals were the forerunners of modern combat decorations. Some medals commemorate events such as the Mexican War and the Civil War, with reverse designs depicting famous battle scenes.
During the Mexican War certain states such as South Carolina issued medals to veterans of the state regiment which fought in the war. Other times veterans formed societies and issued medals commemorating their service. Some of the more famous examples are the Grand Army of the Republic reunion medals and the Aztec Club medal struck by veterans of the Mexican War. In some cases commanders during the Civil War issued privately commissioned commemorative medals such as the Kearney Cross.
The U.S. Mint regularly produces commemorative medals typically to celebrate and honor American people, places, events, including medals honoring military heroes, veterans and the Armed Services. For example The Vietnam Veterans National Medal commemorates the courage and dedication of the men and women who served in that conflict. The Missing in Action medal is a 15/16 inch miniature replica of the 3-inch medal authorized for presentation to the next-of-kin of American military and civilian personnel missing or other unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. The 200th anniversaries of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard were also celebrated with the striking of national medals and the Persian Gulf National Medal honored Persian Gulf War veterans. Only bronze medals are available for sale to the public.
While the federal government issues commemorative medals from the U.S. mint, state and county governments who were particularly active after World War I used private mints and contractors to issue hundreds of different commemorative medals honoring World War veterans and providing a visible symbol of gratitude to their returning veterans. All of these medals were especially meaningful to both returning veterans and their families. Veteran’s associations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and even the Daughters of the Confederacy issued commemorative medals. For the past two hundred years these groups coupled with private mints have issued medals honoring historical military events, victories, deeds and service that honor American veterans.
Commemorative medals reflect typical American ingenuity and spirit, where local government, veterans associations and private leadership step forward to facilitate honoring service and deeds the federal government fails to recognize. In recent years the 75th Anniversary of World War I and the 50th Anniversary celebrations of both World War II and the Korea War were the occasions for well-deserved commemorative medals to honor the veterans of these conflicts. The most recent example is the Cold War Victory Commemorative Medal struck to fill the void created when Congress authorized a Cold War Victory Recognition certificate but never funded a medal.
Although unofficial in nature and usually struck by private mints or associations, commemorative medals provide a very tangible memento to honor all veterans and families for their service and sacrifice.
The term “cold war” goes back to a 14th-century medieval writer named Don Juan Manuel, who referred to the uneasy peace between Muslims and Christians in Spain.
But it was the English writer George Orwell, in a 1945 essay called “You and the Atomic Bomb,” who applied the term as we know it best.
The Cold War began almost immediately following World War II and lasted through most of the 20th century.
First Lieutenant John Morrison Birch an American intelligence officer and a baptist missionary is considered the first victim of the Cold War.
On August 25, 1945 Birch was leading a party of Americans, Chinese Nationalists, and Koreans on a mission to reach Allied personnel in a Japanese prison camp, they were stopped by Chinese Communists near Xi’an. Birch was asked to surrender his revolver; he refused and harsh words and insults were exchanged. Birch was shot and killed; a Chinese Nationalist colleague was also shot and wounded but survived.
Birch was posthumously awarded a Distinguished Service Medal.
In June 1950, the first military action of the Cold War began when the Soviet-backed North Korean People’s Army invaded its pro-Western neighbor to the south. Many American officials feared this was the first step in a communist campaign to take over the world and deemed that nonintervention was not an option.
During the Cold War period of 1945-1977, a total of more than 40 reconnaissance aircraft were shot down. The secrecy of the reconnaissance programs prevented recognition of the slain military personnel at the time of the incidents. Their loss was mourned by their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in similar programs, but the fallen could not be accorded public honors. The end of the Cold War has allowed the United States to lift some of its security restrictions concerning the reconnaissance programs, permitting us at last to accord due recognition of the achievements and sacrifices of these intrepid military personnel, and to tell their stories.
The Cold War heated up again under President Ronald Reagan. Like many leaders of his generation, Reagan believed that the spread of communism anywhere threatened freedom everywhere. As a result, he worked to provide financial and military aid to anticommunist governments and insurgencies around the world. This policy, particularly as it was applied in the developing world in places like Grenada and El Salvador, was known as the Reagan Doctrine.
Even as Reagan fought communism in Central America, however, the Soviet Union was disintegrating.
In November 1989, the Berlin Wall–the most visible symbol of the decades-long Cold War–was finally destroyed, just over two years after Reagan had challenged the Soviet premier in a speech at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” By 1991, the Soviet Union itself had fallen apart. The Cold War was over.
The only war that categorically could have ended all wars through total and complete annihilation — the Cold War.
COLD WAR FACTS:
The cold war was not only the longest and most costly war in American history, it also posed the greatest danger our country and the world ever faced. For the first time weapons existed with destructive power capable of annihilating most of the world’s population.
In 1945 a group of Soviet school children presented a US Ambassador with a carved US Seal as a gesture of friendship. It hung in his office for 7 years before discovering it contained a listening device.
During the Cold War, the US military developed a rifle that fired nuclear war heads. It was called the Davy Crockett and production of this smallest nuclear weapon began in 1956, with a total of 2,100 being made. The weapon was deployed with U.S. Army forces from 1961 to 1971.
In 1963 the US Military created an artificial ring around the earth, similar to that of the planet Saturn. The ring was made of copper needles and was used for worldwide communications in the case that the Soviets disabled all other methods of communication.
Nikita Khrushchev reportedly had an emotional breakout upon hearing of JFK’s assassination. He feared a new president would greatly increase the likelihood of nuclear war.
During the Cold War America used bears to test their ejector seats in supersonic jets.
Inside one of the giant stone arches below the bridge’s main entrance on the Manhattan side is a hidden Cold War bomb shelter, packed to the gills with supplies in case of a nuclear attack on New York City. In 2006, a routine structural inspection revealed the previously-forgotten vault, which was stockpiled with Civil Defense All-Purpose Survival Crackers, paper blankets, water, and even medication like Dextran, which was used to treat shock. Many of the boxes of supplies were stamped with two very telling dates– 1957 (when the Soviets launched Sputnik) and 1962 (the Cuban Missile Crisis).
“A wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.”
– John F. Kennedy, August 1961 (on the construction of the Berlin Wall).
“Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”
– John F. Kennedy, September 25, 1961.
“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting.”
-Richard M. Nixon, 1964.
“We don’t propose to sit here in our rocking chair with our hands folded and let the Communists set up any government in the Western Hemisphere.”
-Lyndon Johnson, US president, 1965.
“Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: we win, they lose.”
― Ronald Reagan, U.S.S.R. U.S.A. Summit, Moscow, May 29 June 2, 1988.
“Freedom is not free”
― Ronald Reagan.
CAUSALITIES OF THE COLD WAR:
Thousands of soldiers have died during times of peace.
Peacetime casualties usually occur during military training and exercises’, transportation of troops, accidents, acts of aggression, bombings, assisting in international conflicts, homicide, disease and other causes.
In 1980 almost 2400 American soldiers died while President Jimmy Carter was in office. Just over 17,000 members of the armed forces lost their lives during the years Ronald Regan was Commander and Chief. Under the President Bill Clinton Administration almost 7,500 military casualties were incurred.
Here is a just a small list of some well known and not so well know operations, conflicts, acts of aggression, incidents and acts of terrorism, during the Cold War Period. Soldiers lost their lives, were wounded, taken prisoner or even executed. In some cases American civilians would also be in harms way.
According to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, as of 2000 there were still 126 U.S. servicemen unaccounted for from the Cold War.
In total, thirteen marines were killed and forty-three wounded in clashes with Communist forces during Operation Beleaguer. Twenty-two marine aircrew members in fourteen aircraft perished during the same period.
On 8th Apr 1950 a version of the wartime Liberator bomber, the PB4Y-2 Privateer 59645 operated by VP-26 of the US Navy Detachment A, based at Port Lyautey in French Morocco, became the first casualty of the missions to probe the boundaries of the USSR. Commanded by Lt Jack Fette, the aircraft took off from Wiesbaden in West Germany and headed north towards the Baltic. The plan was for the aircraft to gather intelligence on Soviet naval activity along the Latvian coast.
The United States Navy airplane carried ten persons. All lost.
One National Guardsmen killed, Six wounded.
This incident happened at the height of the Cold War, in which the Soviet Bloc and the West faced each other down on either side of the Iron Curtain. Their respective military forces were constantly probing each other’s defenses along the geopolitical fault line of Central Europe.
On March 10, 1953 Czech pilot Jaroslav Šrámek, flying a MiG-15, shot down an American F-84.
The American pilot, Lt. W. G. A. Brown, managed to eject himself from the plane before it plummeted to the ground, and he survived.
Col. Sramek is best known as the only Czech pilot to have engaged and shot down an American fighter plane during the Cold War.
Was part of the First Indochina War.
American casualties 2 dead, Captain James B. McGovern and his Co-pilot Wallace A. Buford.
The only Americans to die in combat in the First Indochina War.
November 7, 1954- United States Air Force B-29 aircraft was shot down by two Russian-built MiG-type fighters in Japanese territorial air space over Hokkaido, Japan.
Ten crew members survived, Sadly, one crewman died: 2LT Sigfredo Angulo, Navigator, of Los Angeles, CA.
July 15, 1958. This was the first application of the Eisenhower Doctrine under which the U.S. announced that it would intervene to protect regimes it considered threatened by international communism.
On September 2, 1958, Soviet MiG-17 pilots shot down a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance-configured C-130 aircraft over Soviet Armenia; 17 crewman were aboard. The MiGs attacked the unarmed aircraft after it inadvertently penetrated denied airspace. It crashed near the village of Sasnashen, 34 miles northwest of Yerevan, the Armenian capital. At that time, the Soviets denied downing the aircraft, claiming that the C-130 “fell” on their territory. On September 24, 1958, the Soviets returned six sets of remains, but, when queried, stated they had no information regarding the eleven missing crewmen. On February 6, 1959, seeking to get the Soviets to reveal more details, the United States in a session at the United Nations made public a tape recording of the Russian fighter pilots’ conversations as they attacked the C-130. The Soviets continued to deny responsibility for the shootdown, and the fate of the remaining crew members remained unknown during the Cold War.
On 1 July 1960, a PVO Strany MiG-19 shot down an RB-47H (AF Serial No. 53-4281) reconnaissance aircraft in the international airspace over the Barents Sea with four of the crew being killed and two captured by the Soviets, but released in 1961.
US President Eisenhower oversaw plans to depose Communist Cuban leader Fidel Castro as early as 1960, using much the same model as the one used in Guatemala. Castro had deposed the US-backed Batista regime in the Revolution, and had since developed close ties with the Soviet Union. The plans came to fruition under the Kennedy administration. A force of anti-Castro Cuban exiles were landed in southern Cuba on April 17, 1961, supported by strikes on Cuban airfields. By this time, however, Castro’s forces were well equipped with advanced Soviet weapons and the invasion was defeated. Tensions between the US and Cuba would be strained to a breaking point with the Cuban Missile Crisis the following year.
August, 1961, Frederic L. Pryor was arrested and held without charge by the East German police.
January 9, 1964 U.S. Army units became involved in suppressing the violence after Canal Zone police were overwhelmed, and after three days of fighting, about 21 Panamanians and four U.S. soldiers were killed.
Most US accounts put the number of Americans killed in these events at four, though others put the death toll at three or five. Those who died on the American side include Staff Sergeant Luis Jimenez Cruz, Private David Haupt and First Sergeant Gerald Aubin who were all killed by sniper fire on the 9th and 10th in Colon and Specialist Michael W. Rowland, whose death was caused by an accidental fall into a ravine on the evening of the 10th. Another 30 US military personnel were wounded in operations to separate the Panamanian and Canal Zone protesters. Most of the 17 injuries suffered by U.S. civilians resulted from thrown rocks or bottles.
The incident is considered to be a significant factor in the U.S. decision to transfer control of the Canal Zone to Panama through the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.
On January 28, 1964 an unarmed United States Air Force T-39 Sabreliner on a training mission was shot down over Erfurt, East Germany by a Soviet MiG-19 fighter aircraft. The occupants of the aircraft were Lieutenant Colonel Gerald K. Hannaford, Captain Donald Grant Millard and Captain John F. Lorraine. All three died, becoming some of the few confirmed direct casualties of the Cold War.
KOREAN DMZ CONFLICT, 1966-1969 AKA (SECOND KOREAN WAR)
The second-deadliest attack on an American ship since World War II, during the brief but bitter attack on the Liberty, 34 American sailors and Marines were killed and at least 173 were wounded.
The Pueblo was attacked and seized by the North Korean Navy on Jan. 23, 1968. One sailor Fireman Duane Hodges was killed in the assault and 82 were captured and held prisoner for 11 months before they were freed.
The ship is still listed as a commissioned U.S. naval vessel, and a U.S. Senate resolution in 2008 declared the Pueblo was the first U.S. Navy ship to be “”hijacked”” by a foreign military in more than 150 years.
Today Pueblo remains the second-oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, behind the USS Constitution.
On April 15, 1969 a United States Navy Lockheed EC-121M Warning Star on a reconnaissance mission was shot down by a
North Korean MiG-17 over the Sea of Japan. All 31 Americans on board were killed.
US GOVERNMENT INSTALLATIONS, 1972/1985
During the Cold War, especially in the 1970s, West Germany experienced severe terrorism, mostly perpetrated by far-left terrorist groups.
During the 1970s, force protection concerns grew as various groups conducted terror operations targeting U.S. facilities and personnel with bombings, kidnapping and assassinations
U.S. installations were attacked sporadically throughout the remainder of the decade, including a failed 1977 attack on a U.S. Army base in Giessen.
Terrorist incidents also took place in the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the terrorist groups had connections to international terrorism, notably Palestinian militant groups, and were aided and abetted by the communist regime of East Germany.
On May 11, 1972 a bomb explodes at the Headquarters of the United States 5th Army in the IG Farben Building in Frankfurt, Germany,
killing US Army officer Paul A. Bloomquist and injuring a further 13.
May 24, 1972 two large car bombs are detonated at the US Army Supreme European Command within the Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg, Germany
killing three. The dead are identified as Ronald A. Woodward, Charles L. Peck and Captain Clyde R. Bonner.
The year 1979 was a turning point in international terrorism. Throughout the Arab world and the West, the Iranian Islamic revolution sparked fears of a wave of revolutionary Shia Islam.
On August 31, 1981 the Red Army Faction exploded a bomb at the U.S. Air Force Base at Ramstein, West Germany.
Sept. 15, 1982, an assassination attempt was made on USAREUR commander Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen and his wife as they were driving through Heidelberg—the automobile trunk lid was hit by a RPG-7 anti-tank projectile.
August 8, 1985 Edward F. Pimental a U.S. Army soldier in the rank of specialist, was murdered in West Germany by members of the Red Army Faction (RAF) militant group. He was killed after leaving a Wiesbaden discotheque.
August 8, 1985 a car bomb explodes outside the headquarters building at the Rhein-Main Air Base, where members of the United States Armed Forces are stationed, killing two Americans and wounding about 20 people.
The dead were Airman Frank H. Scarton, 19, who was serving with the 437th Military Airlift Wing, and Becky Jo Bristol, the wife of Senior Airman John Bristol, who was with the Medical Airlift Squadron at the base.
Korea Defense Service Medal
Two United States Army officers were killed by North Korean soldiers on August 18, 1976, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Three days later, the U.S. and South Korea launched Operation Paul Bunyan.
Shaba II was an invasion of the Shaba separatist movement FNLC (6,500 Katangese gendarmes) into the Zairian province of Shaba on 11 May 1978.
The U.S. worked with France in repelling the invaders, the first military cooperation between the two nations since the Vietnam War. U.S. Air Force elements involved included a Combat Control Team (air traffic controllers) of the 435th Tactical Airlift Wing, the 445th Military Airlift Wing, and other airlift wings.
SECOND COLD WAR
The term second Cold War refers to the period of intensive reawakening of Cold War tensions and conflicts in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The period known as the ‘Second Cold War’ had begun in 1979-85, when relationships between the two superpowers deteriorated following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and an escalation in the arms race. Ronald Reagan, followed on from President Jimmy Carter in an interventionist approach to undermining the Soviet Union’s relationship with its allies, with what was known as the Reagan Doctrine.
Only four days after the overthrow of the Pahlavi regime, the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was attacked. The attack occurred at 10:15 a.m. on February 14, 1979. It was carried out by hundreds of supporters of the communist OPFG who climbed over the walls of the large compound.
As they [the attackers] dropped into the compound they opened up with everything from G3 rifles to machine guns, spraying the main Embassy building and other offices with bullets. The Embassy’s  U.S. Marines returned the fire with bird-shot to give official time to destroy secret documents and coding equipment, but were then ordered by the Ambassador [William H. Sullivan] to unload and discard their weapons.
The Embassy staff, about 100 to 150 were taken to the communication room on the first floor, while marines filled the ground floor with teargas. But, this had only a temporary delaying effect. Gunmen eventually broke into the Embassy, forcing many of the staff at gunpoint to lie on the floor. Others ransacked the East Wing, broke up communication equipment and smashed the main switchboard.
One Iranian employee of the Embassy was killed, and U.S. Marine and three other Americans were wounded.
But after only an hour armed men led by the deputy prime minister of the provisional revolutionary government, Dr. Ebrahim Yazdi, arrived at the embassy and convinced the attackers to leave the Embassy.
U.S. State Department spokesman Hodding Carter, III, thanked the provisional government for its efficiency and speed that ended the embassy seizure. Through Iran’s embassy in Washington, the Bazargan government relayed a message to the Carter administration, expressing deep regrets for the incident, and promised complete security for the Embassy and its staff.
STATE DEPARTMENT AWARDS:
Award For Heroism
Prisoner of War Medal
Islamic leftist students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 69 people hostage. Seventeen of them were released at various times, but the remaining 52 remained captive for 444 days.
In November 1979, Pakistani students, enraged by a radio report claiming that the United States had bombed the Masjid al-Haram, Islam’s holy site at Mecca, stormed the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, and burned it to the ground. Grand Mosque had suffered a terrorist attack, but the U.S. was not involved. The diplomats survived by hiding in a reinforced area, though Marine Security Guard Steve Crowley, 20; another American, Army Warrant Officer Bryan Ellis, 29; and two Pakistan staff members were killed in the attack.
WINTER OLYMPICS 1980
February 13—24, 1980
The New York National Guard was used in support of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid. Among its various duties, the New York National Guard was tasked with providing medical assistance and directing traffic during the games.
Americans were taken hostage when militant students of radical Islam stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Shortly thereafter, U.S. President Jimmy Carter ordered a complete embargo of Iranian oil; stronger economic embargoes followed. On April 8, 1980, Carter severed diplomatic relations with Iran after negotiations for the hostages’ release failed.
Later that month, Carter authorized a top-secret mission, named Operation Eagle Claw, to free the hostages. Helicopters were to carry Delta Force commandos from a carrier in the Persian Gulf to a point outside Tehran, where they were to spend the night and begin the rescue the next morning. The complicated mission, which involved refueling the helicopters at a spot in the Iranian desert labeled “Desert One,” was aborted April 25 after three of the eight helicopters suffered mechanical failure. Eight U.S. servicemen were killed when one of the helicopters collided with a refueling plane.
The hostages were finally released just hours after Ronald Reagan’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981. They had spent 444 days in captivity.
June 5, 1981 well south of the DMZ, American troops were killed not by the North Koreans, but by fellow soldiers. The incident occurred during M-16 live fire training at Ingram Range outside Camp Casey, South Korea. The two accused shooters were black and the four murder victims white and Hispanic, raising concerns that racial tensions had led to the shooting. Racial unrest between white and black soldiers had been a problem in US military bases in Korea during the 1960s and ’70s, but appeared to be getting better in the 1980s.
It’s interesting to note that the primary shooter, described by the Army as insane, was also reported to shout in English and Arabic shortly after the shooting, praising Islam and describing his victims as “devils.” Teachings of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X were found in his room.
April 18, 1983 was a suicide bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 63 people, mostly embassy and CIA staff members, several soldiers and one Marine. 17 of the dead were Americans. It was the deadliest attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission up to that time, and is thought of as marking the beginning of anti-U.S. attacks by Islamist groups.
October 23, 1983 suicide bombers detonated two truck bombs. One was on the building serving as a barracks for the 1st Battalion 8th Marines the death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States military since the first day of the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II. Another 128 Americans were wounded in the blast. Thirteen later died of their injuries, and they are numbered among the total number who died.
Click here for a list of the U.S. Soldiers killed.
This conflict saw the first use of the UH-60 Blackhawk in combat.
On October 25, U.S. Forces parachuted onto the island to begin what was ultimately a brief battle to liberate the people and protect American citizens. Over a period of several days the American presence grew to 7,000 Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, Airmen and Marines who engaged rebels and their Cuban advisors in action that resulted in 19 American combat deaths and 116 American wounded.
BOMBING OF THE U.S. EMBASSY IN KUWAIT, 1983
On December 12, 1983 The American embassy in Kuwait was bombed in a series of attacks whose targets also included the French embassy, the control tower at the airport, the country’s main oil refinery, and a residential area for employees of the American corporation Raytheon. Six people were killed, including a suicide truck bomber, and more than 80 others were injured. The suspects were thought to be members of Al Dawa, or “The Call,” an Iranian-backed group and one of the principal Shiite groups operating against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
Operation Intense Look was launched in response to the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez mine crisis, when naval mines were discovered in these vital shipping lanes. Libya’s mining of the Red Sea in 1984 focused attention on the need to protect shipping lanes leading to the Suez Canal and the need for more advanced mine countermeasure vessels.
USS SHREVEPORT (LPD 12) deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in July 1984. While in Rota, Spain, SHREVEPORT received mission tasking to off-load her embarked Marines and embark Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fourteen (HM-14). Crossing the Mediterranean Sea, and transiting the Suez Canal in record time, SHREVEPORT participated in Operation INTENSE LOOK, conducting mine clearance operations in the Red Sea. For her actions in support of this critical operation, SHREVEPORT was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
The attack on September 20, 1984 killed a total of 24 people (including the suicide bomber). Only two of the dead were American: Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth V. Welch of the U.S. Army and Petty Officer First Class Michael Ray Wagner of the U.S. Navy, who where both assigned to the U.S. Defense Attache Office in Beirut.
Silver Star Medal
MIZUSAWA, BERT K.
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Bert K. Mizusawa, Captain (Infantry), U.S. Army, for exceptional valor and gallantry in action while serving as Commander of the Joint Security Force Company, United Nations Command Security Force at Panmunjom, Korea, on 23 November 1984. In reaction to thirty attacking North Korean soldiers in pursuit of a Soviet defector, Captain Mizusawa’s outstanding leadership and aggressive actions in leading his company while under fire were instrumental in defeating the enemy and ensuring the safety of the defector and other personnel in the United Nations Command sector of the Joint Security Area. He was responsible for providing sustained suppressive fires and stopping the enemy force with an M-203. Throughout the intense firefight, Captain Mizusawa displayed a complete disregard for his own personal safety while accomplishing his mission. Captain Mizusawa’s bravery and outstanding leadership under extremely hazardous circumstances are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect great credit upon him, the United Nations Command and the United States Army.
TWA Flight 847 was hijacked en route from Athens to Rome and forced to land in Beirut, Lebanon, where the hijackers held the plane for 17 days. They demanded the release of the Kuwait 17 as well as the release of 700 fellow Shiite Muslim prisoners held in Israeli prisons and in prisons in southern Lebanon run by the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army. When these demands weren’t met, hostage Robert Dean Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, was shot and his body dumped on the airport tarmac.
Stethem was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near other American victims of international terrorism.
On August 24, 2010, in Yokosuka, Japan, on board the ship named after him – the USS Stethem (DDG-63) – Stethem was made an honorary Master Chief Constructionman (CUCM) by order of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. His brother, Kenneth, accepted the certificate and decorations on behalf of the Stethem family.
April, 2015. Divers in 1985 Lebanon hijacking receive POW medals
FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR – Six former Navy divers held hostage for 19 days in an ordeal three decades ago received Prisoner of War Medals.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus presented the medals to the retired divers: Lt. Stuart Dahl, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tony Watson, Master Chief Equipment Operator (DV/SWC) Jeffrey Ingalls, Master Chief Constructionman (DV/SWC) Kenneth Bowen, and Construction Electrician 2nd Class (DV/SWC) Clinton Suggs,
The parents of Steelworker 2nd Class (DV) Robert Stethem, who was killed by captors, accepted his award on his behalf.
The Prisoner of War Medal hadn’t been authorized in June of 1985, but Reagan signed it into law in November of that year.
On October 7, 1985, four men representing the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) hijacked the Italian MS Achille Lauro liner off the coast of Egypt.
As many of the hostages were American tourists, U.S. President Ronald Reagan deployed the Navy’s SEAL Team Six and Delta Force to stand-by and prepare for a possible rescue attempt to free the vessel from its hijackers.
One elderly American man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered by the hijackers and thrown overboard.
Two U.S. soldiers were killed and countless others wounded on April 5, 1986.
After the close of the Vietnam War, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal was issued for various military operations in Panama, Grenada, and Libya.
President Ronald Reagan in response to the April, 1986 Berlin discotheque bombing which killed two U.S. Soldiers, unleashed Operation El Dorado Canyon, a series of retaliatory airstrikes involving warplanes from the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps against Libya-the origin of the terrorists as discovered in cable transcripts between Tripoli and the Libyan embassy in East Berlin which were obtained by West German and US authorities.
Two days after the U.S. retaliatory attack, the bodies of three American University of Beirut employees — American Peter Kilburn and Britons John Douglas and Philip Padfield — were discovered near Beirut shot to death. The Arab Revolutionary Cells, a pro-Libyan group of Palestinians affiliated with terrorist Abu Nidal, claimed to have executed the three men in retaliation for Operation El Dorado Canyon.
EL SALVADORE, CENTRAL AMERICA, 1987
From 1983 to 1992, twenty-one members of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps were killed while serving in covert actions as military advisors in El Salvador. Because their involvement in the conflict with pro-Cuban, Marxist forces was highly classified and denied at all levels of government, the sacrifice of these and others who served in El Salvador went un-recognized until 1998 when, at last, these American heroes were recognized for their service under combat conditions. One of these heroes was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.
On May 17, 1987, during the Iran–Iraq War an Iraqi jet aircraft fired missiles at the American frigate USS Stark. Thirty-seven United States Navy personnel were killed and twenty-one others were wounded.
OPERATION BUSHMASTER, 1987
Was the use of infantry units to supplement Military Police patrols of areas surrounding the Panama Canal and other American installations in Panama during the period of tension that culminated in the US Invasion of Panama. These patrols began in December 1987 as a response to increased criminal activity during the period before the American invasion.
The largest military action since the Vietnam War, more than 50,000 troops supported by more than 300 aircraft participated in the action that successfully captured Noriega and accomplished the remainder of its objectives in a two-week period. Sporadic but bitter fighting resulted in 23 Americans Killed in Action and 325 wounded. Two Navy SEALS earned the Navy Cross in that action and THIRTEEN members of the multi-branch force were awarded Silver Stars.
COLD WAR TRIBUTE
COLD WAR LEFTOVERS