Vets of Cold War Spanned Three Generations

By Kolb, Richard K.; Moran, Joe | VFW Magazine, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Vets of Cold War Spanned Three Generations


Kolb, Richard K., Moran, Joe, VFW Magazine


The longest-running generation of veterans (1945-1991), those Americans who served during the twilight struggle against communists had a tremendous impact on society for half a century.

JIMMY CARTER

(1924- ) b. Plains, Ga. 39th President of the U.S.

As President (1977-81), James L. Carter championed human rights. His greatest achievement was the Camp David Accords -- the 1978-peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. He institutcd civil service reform, expanded the National Parks, deregutated major industries and created two new federal departments.

Carter earned the China Service Medal as an electronics officer aboard the USS Pomfret. The submarine patrolled the western Pacific from December 1948-April 1949. It spent about two months along the China coast between Hong Kong and Tsingtao and in the Yellow Sea during the Chinese Civil War.

Carter's political career began in the Georgia Senate ('63-- '67). He was governor of Georgia ('71-'75). He founded the Carter Center in Atlanta, is a regular volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and is the author of 15 books on various subjects.

ELVIS PRESLEY

(1935-1977) b. Tupelo, Miss. Entertainer

One of the greatest entertainers of all time, Elvis Presley was the undisputed king of rock'n'roll. He made rock an art form and a multi-billion dollar industry. Recording nine popular kinds of music, he sold more than 1 billion records worldwide. He made 63 gold, platinum or multi-platinum albums and had 18 No. 1 hit singles. Isis impact oil American culture was immense.

Presley served in Germany for 18 months between Oct. 1, 1958 and March 2, 1960. Stationed at Friedberg, he was a jeep driver in the Recon Pit., (Co., 1st Med. Tank Bn., 32nd Armor, 3rd Armored Div. Most of the unit's time was spent on field maneuvers. He was a sergeant when discharged.

Besides paving the way for a generation of recording artists, Presley made 32 financially successful movies. tie was a highly versatile performer -- actor, musician, singer and songwriter.

H. ROSS PEROT

(1930- ) b. Texarkana, Texas Businessman & Political Figure

An entrepreneurial success story, H. Ross Perot perhaps gained his greatest notoriety as a government reform advocate. Founder and CEO of Electronic Data Systems (1962-84), he has been head of Perot Systems since 1988. As a presidential candidate in 1992, he garnered 19% of the popular vote and created United We Stand, a grassroots political organization.

Perot's destroyer, the USS Sigourney, served in Korean waters from August to Dec. 10, 1953, attached to the Fast Carrier Force and the U.N. Blockading & Escort Force. Starting in October 1955, he was assistant navigator aboard the aircraft carrier Leyte. As the flagship of Carrier Division 18, it conducted anti-submarine warfare tactical operations along the eastern seaboard and in the Caribbean Sea.

A crusader for POWs during Vietnam, Perot earned the Pentagon's Medal for Distinguished Public Service for focusing attention on their plight. He now funds studies of Gulf War-related diseases.

JAMES A. BAKER, III

(1930- b. Houston, Texas Statesman ia Political Figure

Secretary of State from 1989-1992, James Baker helped free t-ast Europe from Communist control and was instrumental in creating the Persian Gulf War coalition. fie was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. In domestic affairs, he has been 'treasury secretary ('85-- '88) and under secretary of Commerce ('75), as well as White House chief of staff for two presidents.

Baker was a lieutenant in the Marines from June 1952-June 1954. A naval gunfire spotter vith 2nd In., 6th Marines and 2nd Anglico Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, he served with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. He was aboard the USS Monrocia from the spring to the fall of 1953 (6 months).

Presently, Baker is a senior partner in a law firm, occasionally a diplomatic mediator and the honorary chairman of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. …

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