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What Did You Do In The Cold War, Daddy?

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What Did You Do In The Cold War, Daddy?

Old 1st Aug 2013, 16:03
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What Did You Do In The Cold War, Daddy?

I've already posted this on another thread (about the Queen's message!) but on reflection that wasn't my best idea ever - I reckon it needs a thread of its own. This is for you younger fellas . . .

Take a look at this petition -
We should honour the service personnel who protected the UK during the Cold War - e-petitions

I didn't start this petition, but I'm glad someone else has. When the Berlin wall came down, CAS Dick Johns came to HQ Strike and told us 'The Cold War is over, and we've won it'. I asked him - tongue in cheek, of course - when to expect a campaign medal. He said not to hold my breath, and we all laughed.

I didn't hold my breath then, and I haven't been for the last 20 years. I really don't mind not having a medal; it wouldn't change my own knowledge that we all did something worthwhile with our lives. But I have been getting more and more disillusioned about the lack of knowledge, never mind appreciation, in the population at large. It's almost as if the Warsaw Pact and its potential threat had never existed. Whether this petition succeeds or not, it will surely do no harm to generate a bit of a discussion. It's easy to remind people of obvious 'hot' victories like the Falklands, Sierra Leone or the first Gulf War. I'm as proud as could be to have been a member of the team responsible. But the Cold War - which demanded total and sustained commitment and professionalism, and which certainly warmed up from time to time, arguably claiming some victims - did more to keep us safe and well than any of those short campaigns. Forty years without a major war in Europe is an achievement that shouldn't be overlooked, surely? Yet most people under 35 know nothing about it.

Please sign the petition. Even if you don't, please pass it on to anyone you think will support it. Here it is again . . .

We should honour the service personnel who protected the UK during the Cold War - e-petitions
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 16:18
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Like Yellow Son, I have a personal pride in what we did and the dedication with which we did it. The longest and most inclusive war the RAF ever fought (and won).
I haven't signed the petition as I suspect it may prove to be a tool for derision. It wasn't long ago I heard that a certain 4* had referred to "The perma-frost warriors" and our supposed resistance to change (the very same changes he promoted and which have now emasculated our Service).
Rant over!

Last edited by friendlypelican 2; 1st Aug 2013 at 16:19.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 16:46
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Standby for the septics to tell us we were just bit part players!

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Old 1st Aug 2013, 16:47
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reading other posts it sounds like a lot of folk sitting round drinking tea all day at dispersal - not exactly the Battle of El Alamein or the Somme............
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 16:57
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I guess you were not aircrew on QRA during the Cold War then!

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Old 1st Aug 2013, 16:58
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Tea? Good God, one of the main ingredients of that stuff is water, and fish have sex in that..
Nasty stuff..

Ahhhh QRA, the one place no one could bother you...


Last edited by NutLoose; 1st Aug 2013 at 17:00.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 17:49
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Went to W Germany and "played" at Armageddon.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 17:59
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Standby for the septics to tell us we were just bit part players
Quite the contrary, you folks soaking up the first belt of SAMs was a much appreciated planning factor.

But as a former ICBM missileer, I always considered any airbreathing delivery system as too late, and for clean up anyway.

Still, seeing the pK calculations for those folks taking the long way to deliver instant sunshine was pretty sobering. Me? I'd have just been dug out of the ground in North Dakota, so what was the real difference there?
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 18:39
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I am the Custodian of the NLZ.......
(Fairly) happy days. Apart from being at Marham. I quite miss the Cold War. At least you knew who the enemy was back then.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 18:43
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But as a former ICBM missileer...
That takes me back to the days of that cringingly awful Combat Crew thing which SAC pushed out...

Missileer of the Month is 1/Lt Hiram B. Chickensexer III who courageously dealt with a silo air conditioning warning whilst responding to a SAC EAM....
Complete with picture of some weedy youth in a flying suit complete with shiny cravat (Spams call them 'ascots', for some weird reason)...

Mind you, perhaps there's some Spam medal for simply having had to live in North Dakota?
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 18:49
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I think the cold war will go down as one of the best ever "wars" to have fought in. I'm proud to have played my small part, but I don't think I deserve a campaign medal for having an absolute blast playing with almost unlimited pointy kit with the minimal risk of getting maimed/killed.

Let's leave medals to those who deserve them.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 18:52
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Why would cold war era troops be honoured? And what do you mean honoured, a medal? Utterly ridiculous! It was part of the job, nobody got hurt. It was an interesting time and without it many wouldn't have had nearly as good careers as they have, for me it's a big no.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 19:04
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Most of us were but 'sandalled spear carriers' in the great charade known as the cold war. At least then we had a sense of purpose and a recognisable enemy. We also had careers that gave us overseas postings and we had a comradeship that civilians will never know. There was a price to pay, not just financial. How many lost their lives in all of our armed services during this extended period? No, I don't want a medal either.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 19:05
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nobody got hurt
How many crews were lost in recce, refueling, and training?

Hardly "nobody."

Spam medal for simply having had to live in North Dakota?
Too often that wound being a NoDak wife...(not there's anything wrong with that)

Combat Crew

Ah, Beags, don't be jealous. Wearing my 'crew blues', blue-dyed fatigues with my 'dickie' was quite the chick magnet (not). We won't discuss changing into pajamas, sweats, and the like, complete with warm, fuzzy slippers once actually on alert and submerged 70-90 feet under the surface.

Dive, dive, dive....oooga...oooga...
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 19:09
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As we all read the remarks about how the Cold War wasn't a shooting war let's just give a thought for the hundreds of aircrew who made the ultimate sacrifice during training losing their lives preparing for the one that never came. I lost 4 friends and I consider myself fortunate. Some lost many more and some families paid the ultimate price.

I still struggle with the negative attitudes about what would simply be a campaign medal. Is the GSM for Northern Ireland a bad thing? I can live without a medal but I got medals for less.

RIP to my former colleagues and friends.

Last edited by Geehovah; 1st Aug 2013 at 19:18.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 19:11
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Like many, I was fiercely proud to be part of RAFG, for my part being at RAF Gutersloh. My personal contribution was at the end of the Cold War, being in Germany from 1986 to mid 1990. What part did we play?

We worked hard, but enjoyed it. I don't recollect many people monking or bitching about this and that. We would drink regularly and heavily. We would happily roll out of an all night Sgts & WOs Mess vs. Officers' Mess games night straight into Taceval. We would ensure that each field deployment diverted a 4 tonne truck to Martkauf for 'supplies'.

Equally, we flew hard. The two Harrier squadrons would each launch 16-ship waves, four times a day. 230 and 18 would fly equally hard. Inevitably, some of us died. In one relatively short period we lost half a dozen aircraft and a similar number of aircrew (Ada, Suds, John Carver, Jim Mac, Pete Stone and Phil Brewer spring to mind).

As far as the war was concerned, we were under no illusion that it would be bloody and we would probably be sacrificed but didn't overly worry about it. In hindsight, I think we believed in 'stability' of the status quo. Personally, the only worry I had was the thought of a long and painful death having got my NBC drill wrong.

I remember the Staish (Ian Stewart) briefing us all in the Mess shortly after the Wall came down. He clearly described how he didn't know what the short-term would bring but he offered that there would be a decade of global instability; that decade has not yet finished.

Was it a war? Not for many of us although some were doing very brave and important things. Most were ready to do the same. Would I go back? God, yes. It was the most stimulating, enjoyable and worthwhile part of my life. Do we deserve medals? No.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 19:15
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Jayand, rosevidney1, Gehovah and getting bigger too. well said and in total agreement.


Last edited by NutLoose; 1st Aug 2013 at 19:21.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 20:09
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How many lost their lives in all of our armed services during this extended
Very many; during my own twenty eight years, there were 22 very close friends who perished in flying accidents. But a medal - I don't think so.

Last edited by cuefaye; 1st Aug 2013 at 20:13.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 20:09
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Having served from 1969 - 1997 I hope I may be regarded as having taken part in "the Cold War". Whilst I'm aware that at certain times during my career, I partook in activities conducive to the debilitating of Soviet threats, I can not say that I ever felt in any way under serious threat or any heightened state of concern. Maybe because as a "child of the 50/60s" I had to remain "cool". I did feel under threat, several times in GW1 and Sarajevo. They gave me a few " decorative" souvenirs for GW1, nary a thing for Sarajevo. Having signed on the dotted line in 1969, I believe I understood the "threat" and the expectancy by my employers that I would do my job. Surely, we just accepted that that was the way it was, and got on with it. With the greatest respect to all who feel there should be some reward for service in that period, and those who gave their lives, I truly believe that our service and our success needs no jewellery to mark the facts of the conflict. As they say in that exemplar of British Journalism, the Daily Fail, "go on then, Red arrow me"!


Last edited by smujsmith; 1st Aug 2013 at 20:15.
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Old 1st Aug 2013, 20:55
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Thanks but no thanks.

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