Dear Fellow Members,
I am writing from one of my favorite places: Berlin. I am sorry that I could not attend the reunion. My daughter is getting married in August and there was a wedding shower on the same evening at the same time in North Carolina, where I live. I am excited to assume the position of President and have several ideas. I will share a few of them now; more later.
Jason Moses has agreed to help with some of the duties and I am speaking with a few others about taking over the secretary/treasurer responsibilities.
I am meeting with several people here about obtaining some Stasi records from the ‘Außenstellen’ in Magdeburg, Halle, Dresden and elsewhere. I met yesterday with Alex Pomp, who many already know, from ZDF Digital. For those who don’t know, ZDF is producing a documentary on the Tri-Missions and their role during the Cold War. They need to have clearance—by German law, apparently—and provide credits; should no one be opposed, I will simply list the contributor as “The USMLM Association.” I think this is better than listing each individual name. I found out that a team exists somewhere in the ‘Local Area’ that collects cars. They apparently have several Mission vehicles, including at least one Geländewagen. I will see if I can visit the place where these vehicles are on display.
Yesterday I met with a gentleman named Tom Sello, who was part of an active opposition in the GDR. He grew up in Großenhain, but moved to Berlin in 1979. He mentioned that they were warned in school to avoid contact with any members of the “Foreign” Military Missions, who regularly were seen in the Großenhain area. He didn’t elaborate more; we were talking about other things.
Before I left, I had several conversations with Paul Pipek of the intelligence museum at Ft. Huachuca, where they have aGeländewagen. Mr. Pipek would be very excited to receive memorabilia from anyone. Mark Beto is going to provide the museum with different pieces of equipment used while touring; he has a “Leahy bag” (I think that’s the name) and other items; if you have anything you wish to donate, please send me a description and the condition. I have an old PRA map and a few other things that I will send Pipek. It might be easier to send the description to me and I can provide the museum with a summary. Anyone can contact Mr. Pipek, but I think it is more efficient—for him at least—to have a list. He would review the list and then ask the person to send the equipment.
There have been many discussions over the past few years about producing a ‘book’ that summarizes and characterizes USMLM in all areas, from touring to admin, to producing reports, to hosting dinners. Please start thinking of what you did at USMLM and how you might describe your experiences. I believe it is important to make such a production inclusive, as one part of the MLM could not have functioned without the other. No position was unimportant.
Mr. Pipek is also in agreement that it would be valuable to develop and coordinate a digital database where the diverse pieces of USMLM could be researched. Many museums now have digital access and encourage access by researchers and others. The database could include links to the recent oral history pieces from the reunion, artifacts in the Allied Museum (in the former Nicholson Library in Berlin) and other places. There is a new Cold War Museum in Berlin that has some artifacts. While speaking with Alex Pomp, who is part of the team from ZDF (Second German Television) working on a Tri-Mission documentary, I discovered some other connections. One is a guy who collects Mission vehicles. He apparently has a collection somewhere near Berlin. I wrote to him and am waiting for a response. Incidentally, both Tom Favia and Larry Kelley have had extensive contact with Alex Pomp. Others in the U.S. have also sent pictures and descriptions of their experiences. Alex also spent time with Howard Berner, who was passing through Frankfurt on his way to another event. I hope I can get some pictures from this car collector and include a link to them as well.
Please (please) send any ideas you might have on contributions to the ‘book’ and your willingness to act on the ideas. I will gladly function as editor, but do not have the time to write an entire book. (I assume that few do.) I do however have a lot of notes I will share from the article I wrote several years ago. I will also provide some references, as I hope others will, to materials I find in different places. I have found mention of USMLM in many different books, but have not seen any place where these references are centralized.
One thing I believe would be interesting is to have some materials that can be used in schools in discussions of the Cold War. Personalized accounts of history are often more interesting to students than materials in textbooks. Should you have any ideas you believe can be developed, please forward them to me.
I look forward to representing USMLM.
Stephen V. Hoyt, Ph.D.
Head of School
1800 South Australian Ave, Suite 206
West Palm Beach, Florida