MAY 1, 2008

The numbers of killed and wounded in Cold War Operations has been an unresolved matter for years, although VFW has recognized the number as being at least 382 hostile fire deaths at the hands of Communist forces. We believe the number should be much higher, and include operational losses such as the crew of 99 lost on the submarine USS Scorpion, lost at sea in May 1968. At numerous times during the Cold War, large losses were taken in ambiguous circumstances, and were often shrouded in secrecy. Combat deaths were classified as “accidents” due to political or security reasons, and thus the public at large (and too often, the next-of-kin) were denied the truth.

We are determined that this will not remain so for those who gave their lives in silence during the Cold War. In addition, we would like to honor representative figures of little-known or understood operation of the Cold War.

On May 1 of each year, the American Cold War Veterans and cooperating organizations, including the White House Commission on Remembrance, will hold ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and at other locations in the United States (such as the USS Thresher/ USS Scorpion memorial at Seal Beach, California) to honor the men and women who were heroes of the Cold War.

May 1 of each year, the American Cold War Veterans and cooperating organizations, including the White House Commission on Remembrance, will hold ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and at other locations in the United States (such as the USS Thresher/ USS Scorpion memorial at Seal Beach, California) to honor the men and women who were heroes of the Cold War.

Van Fleet

Presentation of Cold War Victory Medal at grave of General James A. Van Fleet.
He gave free nations “The Will to Win” in the Cold War.

The next “Day of Remembrance for Forgotten Heroes of the Cold War” will be at Arlington Cemetery and other locations May, 2008, following the annual meeting of the American Cold War Veterans in Washington, DC. Please plan to participate.

MAY 1, 2008

To view photos of event at Arlington National Cemetery click here.


ACWV’s ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING: April 30th kicked off with a very productive meeting at the Best Western Iwo Jima Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Speakers included Frank Tims, Jerald Terwillger, Scott L'Ecuyer, Lloydene Hill, Sean Eagan each giving department reports, and a presentation by Ernie Gallo, President of USS Liberty Veterans Association. A call for nominations and election schedule was announced. Of ACWV’s Board of Directors 7 seats, 3 are up for election. Anyone who was a member as of April 30 is eligible to run for election (for more information, go to our discussion forum – Jerry Terwilliger is chairing our elections committee). The Annual Meeting started at noon and ran until 4 p.m.

On May 1st, we gathered at the Hart Senate Office Building for our Congressional Breakfast. This meeting was well attended with representatives from Congressional offices, the US Army, The American Legion, Cuban Missile Crisis Veterans, the Coalition of Families of Korean and Cold War POW/MIA, the USS Liberty Veterans Association, Reserve Enlisted Association, Reserve Officers Association, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The breakfast was highlighted by Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who spoke eloquently about the sacrifices made by Americans to win the Cold War and how appropriate it was to remember this on the anniversary of the old communist party holiday. The Breakfast wrapped up with Col. David Griffith presenting Dr.Tims with a Freedom Team Salute Commendation for his efforts to bring respect, recognition and awareness to veterans of the Cold War era as well as embodiment or core Army values.

The group assembled again in the lobby to visit their elected officials in force. We are still waiting for confirmation of additional Co-sponsors of S.1097.


At Noon on May 1, we gathered at Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery, under a somber sky with a light rain, to honor the memory of the many “forgotten heroes” who lost their lives in the Cold War, as members of the US Armed Forces and the Intelligence Community. After the Invocation and presentation of the colors, speakers included Frank Tims, Chairman of ACWV, Ernie Gallo of the USS Liberty Veterans, and our National Chaplain, Dr. David Clevenger. After Dr. Clevenger’s emotionally moving tribute, a bell was struck 21 times in salute to the forgotten heroes, followed by “Taps,” played by a lone bugler on a hilltop overlooking the service. We are committed to remembrance of these forgotten heroes each and every May 1.

At the end of the ceremony, roses were placed at the graves of many Cold War Heroes, buried at Arlington. Special care was taken to include military honors at the graves of these heroes, including Captain William McGonagle (MOH), who saved the USS Liberty after a devastating attack, General James Van Fleet, who led the first successful Advisory and Assistance Mission and turned back the Communist advance in the Greek insurgency of 1947-49, and Francis Gary Powers. Flowers were also placed at the graves of SGT Fred Bates, LT John DeClaspel, SGT Harold Miller, and LT Edward Smith (crew of US Army aircraft lost in mission over China in 1946), LT Richard Wurgel (KIA Berlin Airlift), CIA pilot James McGovern (shot down over Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam, May 6, 1954), the crew of a USAF C-130 shot down over Soviet Armenia 1958, MAJ Willard Palm, USAF, shot down by Soviet Migs over Barents Sea, July 1, 1960; SP4 Peter kern (Korean DMZ 1969), CPT William Reisner, Jr., USMC killed in helicopter crash in Norway (NATO operation “Strong Express”) Sept. 23, 1972; PFC Walter Boyd, USMC (KIA in Mayaguez rescue operation, off Cambodia) May 12 1975; CAPT Peter Nordeen, USN (killed by terrorists in Greece); CAPT George Tsantes, USN, killed by terrorists in Greece, Nov. 15, 1983; LTC Arthur Nicholson, shot by Soviet soldier in East Germany, 1985; and LTC Gerald Hannaford, USAF, (shot down over East Germany 1964); grave of a USN antisubmarine patrol crew of 5 lost during a mission over Greenland, 1962, and COL Nick Rowe, US Army, killed by terrorists in Philippines 1989. Roses were also placed at graves of a number of CIA casualties.

Individual visits to memorials followed, including the Korean War memorial and Vietnam War Memorial, as well as at the Laos Secret Army Memorial. Ceremonies were also held at the USS Thresher/ USS Scorpion Memorial at Seal Beach, CA, and the USS Thresher Memorial, Portsmouth, NH, with the USS Liberty Veterans Association and VFW as out partners in these services.

We plan to have a similar ceremony at Arlington next May 1, as “The Other Memorial Day” for America’s Forgotten Heroes of the Cold War.

We gratefully acknowledge the gracious assistance provided by the Arlington National Cemetery Superintendent, the White House Commission on Remembrance, and the faculty and cadets of the Carson Long Military Institute. We also thank Senator Clinton’s office for helping to arrange the Congressional Breakfast.

American Cold War Veterans
“We Remember!”


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