Academic journal article Military Review

LICENSED TO SPY: With the Top Secret Military Liaison Mission in East Germany

Academic journal article Military Review

LICENSED TO SPY: With the Top Secret Military Liaison Mission in East Germany

Article excerpt

LICENSED TO SPY: With the Top Secret Military Liaison Mission in East Germany, John A. Fahey, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2002, 209 pages, $25.95.

To old Cold War warriors, Berlin duty had a particular appeal. Berlin, once located 110 miles inside East Germany and in the middle of 22 Soviet divisions, gave an immediacy and sharper focus to soldiering. A small group of skilled military personnel had even closer contact with the Soviets. Some 14 officers and men were assigned as part of the U.S. Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) to the Group of Soviet Forces in East Germany. They lived outside Berlin in the city of Potsdam and performed various liaison functions for Soviet and U.S. theater commanders and, unofficially, collected information throughout East Germany.

Information-collection was dangerous, and sometimes USMLM vehicles came back with crushed fenders or as burnt-out hulls. In 1985, a Soviet soldier shot USMLM Major Arthur (Nick) Nicholson. The Soviet general who arrived on the scene deliberately denied first aid to Nicholson, and Nicholson bled to death.

Normally, USMLM officers spoke Russian, and the enlisted drivers spoke German. The Soviet Military Liaison Mission was stationed in Frankfurt, West Germany, and the British and French Military Liaison Missions were stationed outside of Berlin.

During 1960 and 1961, Commander John A. …

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