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to former soldiers assigned to nuclear duties
within the 3rd Armored Division, V Corps, or Seventh Army


September 9, 2004


We are publishing this letter as an appeal to you to come forward and share your experiences of nuclear-related duties with our website, and with the Internet community at large.

We realize that you may be understandably reluctant to share this information with others, considering that much of it was, and some still is, highly classified. However, we would like to ease your minds about these concerns. Please take a few moments to consider the following:

1. Much of the information concerning nuclear weapons either has never been classified, or has now been declassified. There is an exhaustive listing of what may and may not be discussed in "open source" material, and we are certain that you would be surprised at what it is safe to discuss.

2. Much of the information about nuclear weapons can be discussed in an unclassified manner by making generalizations; e. g., "a yield of less 20 kilotons" instead of the actual yield of a weapon; "range of less than 100 miles," etc. What would be interesting to our readership would be important but not sensitive information such as: how hard were the weapons to handle? What precautions did you have to take when handling them (nuclear safety, security, and general safety considerations such as caution in lifting, etc.)?

3. The last tactical nuclear weapons were withdrawn from the Army inventory in 1991. Many of you had experiences with nuclear weapon systems that were withdrawn long before this time. These weapons don't exist any longer, and much about them can be safely discussed.

4. We are NOT soliciting ANY classified information. If you are knowledgeable about the internal design or workings of these systems, it would be best if you kept this information to yourselves. What we ARE looking for are your EXPERIENCES: what it felt like to work with such powerful weapons; what your training regimens were like; what it felt like to undergo inspections such as the Nuclear Surety Inspection, the Technical Proficiency Inspection, etc.; what responses you had to periods of heightened tension during the Cold War, and the like. These types of information are valuable pieces of history, and we don't want to lose them to the ravages of time!

5. For the more thoughtful among you, we would welcome those thoughts that may have consumed some of your quiet times in the barracks or out in the field late at night: how would you have felt if you had had to employ one of these weapons in war? Did you think we should or should not have used them? Do you feel differently about them now than you did when you were working with them? Private thoughts such as these would add an invaluable human dimension to the body of knowledge we have on this important period of American history.

6. On the other hand, we are also interested in any humorous anecdotes you might have concerning nuclear duties. We are all aware, although the general public may not be, that humor can be found even in the most deadly serious of endeavors. Did you ever get chewed out by a lieutenant trying to get into a restricted area, only to have someone of higher rank chew HIM out for nosing around something he didn't have a need to know? Did you ever get so confused trying to guide a helicopter in that the pilot did something unexpected? Did you ever suffer a bad slip of the tongue during an important inspection? These are things we'd like to know about, too!

We hope that you, the former custodians of U.S. nuclear weaponry in Europe, will come forward with this valuable information, and assist us in preserving this important, but largely unknown part of the Division's history. If you have any questions or concerns about what you can and cannot share, please do not hesitate to contact one of us, and we will give you guidance. If you request it, we will treat you an anonymous contributor to the website. We hope to hear from you soon.

To contact us

Robert Forrest
Nuclear Section Editor

Victor Damon

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