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U.S.S. Wright

USS Wright (CC-2)

I crammed in a lot of Navy living during the few months I served on the most strategic ship* in the U. S. Navy during the Cold War. (I was aboard during 1968--the height of the Vietnam "Conflict" and a really wild year for America!**)

The USS Wright was a National Command Communications ship designated as an escape for the president and top government officials had a nuclear attack upon the United States occurred. Two officers aboard the Wright had orders to be present if the top secret authentication codes for nuclear war orders were handled. Each officer knew the code to one of the two combination locks that secured the launch codes. She was a Lady with a Secret containing the (for that time) best communications technology in the world. If you want to read fasinating facts about the Wright and the Cold War see “Ghosts of the East Coast:  Doomsday Ships”. Also see "Russia Reality".

While aboard, I became the best pot scrubber in the Navy, worldwide.

Not long after I left the Wright, I experienced the verses of the hymn Love Lifted Me. See the details in my testimony.

Click on each picture for a larger image.
(Then hold CTRL and roll the mouse wheel to enlarge.)

<---Entering NYC--< ^With parents on pier^ >--Helo in evening--->

Sometimes it was smooth sailing. The left photo has ripples caused by the ship or it would have almost looked like a sheet of glass. --->


Both photos (click to enlarge) were taken from the same place,
but I could not go outside during the storm.

<--- A rough sea was in store when we heard, “All hands stand by for high seas and heavy rolls.”

The design is based on the National Shield
with an American eagle and globe in the lower right.
The lightning bolt in the eagle's talons represents
command and communications, Wright's mission.
The motto "Vox Imperii" is translated "voice of the leaders".

USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7)
^Dress Blues


^Manning the Rails


^Entering berthing compartment



<-------<BOOT CAMP>------->

(click for article)

Company 23, 1st Regiment, 11th Battalion
United States Naval Training Center
Great Lakes. IL
Jan.-Mar 1967

<----< Me in the barracks.

Outside the barracks. (I am not in the photo.) >---->

GRADUATION (The arrow points to me.)
(There is no larger image.)

*The crew of the Wright’s sister ship--the USS Northampton (CC-1) —would disagree.


**Few years in America’s history were as wild as 1968.

Nuclear tests, rampant illegal drug use, riots and anti-war protests occurred throughout the year across the USA and in other countries. I included some baseball items because I used to love the game. Some headlines:

January 5 Dr. Benjamin Spock and others were indicted for conspiring to encourage draft law violations.

January 16 The anarchist Youth International Party was founded.

January 21 20,000 North Vietnam troops attacked an American air base.

January 23 The U.S.S. Pueblo (spy ship) was captured by North Korea. (I was at sea and my ship was near Florida for a port visit when we got orders to return at full speed and stand by off the coast of D. C.)

January 31 The Tet Offensive in Vietnam began. (By the time it was over U. S. forces had over 9,000 casualties--over 1500 killed.)

February 1 The Pulitzer Prize winning photo of the execution of a Viet Cong war criminal.

February 8 Three students were killed by police during a segregation protest at South Carolina State University.

February 21 A Delta Airlines jet carrying 169 passengers was hijacked to Cuba. (More hijackings followed.)

April 4 Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. (Race riots erupted all over the country.)

April 6 The USS New Jersey was recommissioned as the world's only active battleship. She left Philadelphia on May 16, visited Norfolk, and headed to the Panama Canal in early June on her way to Vietnam. (The Wright was at sea and I was able to watch the New Jersey sail past us.)

April 9 Opening Day of Major League Baseball was postponed because of the funeral for Martin Luther King Jr.

April 11 The Civil Rights Act was signed. (This strengthened the 1964 Act.)

April 23 Anti-war activists at Columbia University seized five buildings.

April 27 In New York, 200,000 students refused to attend classes to protest the Vietnam War.

April 29 The musical, Hair, opened on Broadway featuring profanity, nudity, drug-taking and the desecration of the American flag.

May 12 The Poor People’s Campaign began in DC with about 5,000 demonstrators and Resurrection City was setup with hundreds of plywood and plastic-sheeting huts near the Lincoln Memorial.

May 16 An earthquake in Japan killed 47 people.

March 16 The My Lai massacre occurred in Vietnam.

May 22 The U.S.S Scorpion (submarine) disappeared. (I remember the stunned silence of my shipmates as we listened to the news about our fellow sailors.)

March 31 President Johnson announced he would not run for reelection. (He also announced a decrease in the U. S. efforts in Vietnam. This led to an early release of several thousand troops which effected me.)

June 5 Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.

June 12 The film, Rosemary’s Baby, came out about a baby conceived by Satan. It launched many more movies about Satan worship and black magic.

June 28. The USS Liberty was decommissioned. (In June of 1967 the spy ship Liberty was attacked by Israel during the Six-Day War. 34 sailors died. I was assigned to the pier detail when the Liberty came into the Portsmouth shipyards in 1968. I distinctly remember the reverence I felt as she was nudged alongside the pier.)

July 13 The Hong Kong flu was detected. (It arrived in the USA in September. Deaths peaked in late December with a final toll of about a million (34,000 in the USA.)

July 14 Hank Aaron hit his 500th homerun.

July 20 Iron Butterfly's "In-a-gadda-da-vida" became a hit. The title resulted from the slurred speech of a drugged or drunk band member.

July 30 Washington Senator infielder Ron Hansen made an unassisted triple play.

August 8 Richard Nixon was nominated by the Republican Convention. (He was elected president on November 5.)

August 20 The Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia.

August 26-29 Violent confrontations, between police and 10,000 anti-war protesters, erupted at the Democratic Party convention. There were numerous anti-war protests throughout the year (and for several years) causing a lot of anti-military hatred toward those of us who served.

September 1 An earthquake killed 2000 in Ferdows, Persia.

September 7 Feminists protested the Miss America Pageant.

September 11 Air France Flight 1611 crashed killing 95.

September 14 Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain won his 30th game of the season.

September 19 Mickey Mantle hit his 535th career homerun.

October 2 Bob Gibson struck out 17 batters in the first game of the World Series.

October 27 About 50,000 protested the Vietnam War in London.

October 31 President Johnson announced he was halting bombing in North Vietnam. The war went on until April 30, 1975 when Saigon fell to North Vietnam troops.

Novemeber 5 Republican Richard M. Nixon narrowly defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey for president.

November 11 John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared naked on the cover of the "2 Virgins" record album.

November 20 An explosion at a coal mine, at Farmington, WV, killed 78.

December 20 The Zodiac Killer began to murder in California.

December 20 The famous author John Steinbeck died.

December 24 (Christmas Eve) Nearly one billion people watched on television, or heard on radio, as the Apollo 8 became the first manned mission to a celestial body and listened to the astronauts read the first 10 verses of the book of Genesis from the King James Bible. (Madalyn Murray O'Hair, an atheist, sued the United States government for allowing what she perceived was a violation of the First Amendment.)

In 2007 Newsweek ran a cover story "1968: The Year That Changed Everything."


(The below is from Cold War Veteran.)

“The Cold War was waged to stop the spread of communism. Communism (in a nutshell) required (1) abolition of religion; (2) government ownership of communication, transportation, factories, agriculture; and (3) government control of labor and education. Communism resulted in bloody purges, lethal labor camps, and the cold-blooded murder of multiple millions of innocent people. Lasting from September 1945 to December 26, 1991 many experts refer to the Cold War as World War III. It was global, with many facets and changing strategic considerations. During some parts of the period, actual shooting wars were involved, but always it was a political and military confrontation. Many of the personnel losses in the Cold War were on missions that were under the veil of secrecy because it involved various shades of warfare--conventional and unconventional; open and in the shadows.” 
(Adapted from various Internet sources.)

An April 14, 1950 National Security Council Report to the President (“United States Objectives and Programs for National Security”) stated “ A program for rapidly building up strength and improving political and economic conditions will place heavy demands on our courage and intelligence; it will be costly; it will be dangerous. But half-measures will be more costly and more dangerous, for they will be inadequate to prevent and may actually invite war. Budgetary considerations will need to be subordinated to the stark fact that our very independence as a nation may be at stake. ( )

The report concluded that “The whole success of the proposed program hangs ultimately on recognition by this Government, the American people, and all free peoples, that the Cold War is in fact a real war in which the survival of the free world is at stake.”  

Cold War Veterans answered the call -- drafted or volunteered, when it was popular and when it was not -- America needed it's guardians of freedom and we were there. Cold War Veterans served around the globe for 46 years ensuring freedom would not disappear at the hands of totalitarian communist regimes. Cold War Veterans served at places most of the world never heard of and at locations that made routine headlines. Cold War Veterans  served in the air, on land and at sea. Cold War Veterans  served with active duty forces, reserve forces and with the National Guard. Cold War Veterans served with conviction and honor. Cold War Veterans served in all kinds of roles from the mundane headquarters jobs to the front lines, in the bunkers of NORAD and over Soviet airspace, tracking Soviet submarines and detecting enemy radar and signals along the coast of North Korea and the USSR, deployed to Nike Hercules nuclear missile units that defended such familiar places as New Jersey to forward locations along the Iron Curtain and Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and in places of which many had never heard.  Sometimes, the Cold War turned very dangerous and Cold War Veterans accepted that risk.”
(This paragraph was adapted from:  American Cold War Veterans NOTE: website is no longer active)

Vietnam and Korea were major parts of the Cold War.

“On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began when some 75,000 soldiers from the North Korean People’s Army poured across the 38th parallel, the boundary between the Soviet-backed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the north and the pro-Western Republic of Korea to the south. This invasion was the first military action of the Cold War.”

“The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, was a major conflict during the Cold War… The Vietnam War represents the fight between communism and capitalism, the fight of the Cold War.  Basically, the Vietnam War was a microcosm of the Cold War during that time period.”

"For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence — on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.”
(President John F. Kennedy 27 April 1961

In his first State of the Union speech President Dwight Eisenhower said, “There is but one sure way to avoid total war--and that is to win the COLD WAR.”
(Sauer, Frank. Atomic Anxiety: Deterrence, Taboo and the Non-Use of U.S. Nuclear Weapons. page144. 2017, Palgrave McMillan Hampshire, England)

The Cold War is considered one of the most important historical events in world history. It spawned many things from infrastructure to spy novels, such as James Bond, the space race and more…The term Cold War came from Bernard Baruch, an adviser to presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Harry S. Truman. He coined the term to describe the “chilly” relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was a state of conflict between the nations that did not involve direct military action, but was pursued through economic and political actions, propaganda, espionage and proxy wars. Despite the term Cold War, there were still soldiers on the front lines…The cold war was the longest war in United States history. Because of the nuclear capabilities of our enemy it was the most dangerous conflict our country ever faced. Those that won this war did so in obscurity. Those that gave their lives in the Cold War have never been properly honored.”

The Cold War was “a war. The Cold War is sometimes referred to as World War III, which is apt. At its quietest moments, the Cold War was warm…It was global. The Cold War was not just about parts of Europe and Asia--every region of the world was involved. The conflict was usually central to politics, diplomacy, and trade. No matter the issue, it was impossible to escape the Cold War… It was a battle of ideologies in every possible realm--political, economic, moral, and spiritual. But there was no equivalence between the two sides. The Cold War was a conflict between good and evil, freedom and tyranny, liberal democracy and totalitarianism, capitalism and communism, theism and atheism.”

“The Cold War, which lasted 50 years, was the longest war in United States history, and the most expensive, costing trillions of dollars. At its conclusion, America emerged as the only remaining superpower in the world. Because we faced an enemy with tremendous nuclear capabilities, it was the most dangerous conflict our country ever faced. The threat of mass destruction left a permanent mark on American life and politics. Those that won this war did so in obscurity…(There are) thousands of stories of men and women who worked in secret to bring us safely through the Cold War conflict. Our nation needs to recognize the veterans of the longest war in United States history--a battle which also had the highest stakes.” Harry Reid, U.S. Senator

After Ronald Reagan became president he put in place policies that put pressure on the Soviet Union and said, “Here’s my strategy on the Cold War – we win, they lose.” (Ronald Reagan, June 1988

We won!

“But the biggest thing that has happened in the world in my life, in our lives, is this: By the grace of God, America won the Cold War.”—President George H.W. Bush, State of the Union address, January 28, 1992.

"And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." (Robert M. Gates, 1996 )


Cold War veterans seek due recognition for their service

“They may have served in the U.S. military overseas or at a missile base in America. They may have been on secret missions in submarines, in aircraft or on the ground. They are millions of Cold War veterans, who served in the military from September 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991 — the day the Soviet Union dissolved — during pockets of peacetime tension that came during the expansion of communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“Frank Tims, historian and past chairman of the American Cold War Veterans, said a medal or a memorial would "at least get some formal recognition that the Cold War was more than just a period of unpleasantness and that the Defense Department has never owned up to recognizing it."

“Supporters say there are small memorials around the country for Cold War veterans, but they think there should be one in Washington, D.C., which is home to numerous other memorials, such as for World War II and the Vietnam War.

“There has been federal legislation for a Cold War service medal, but the Defense Department, some veterans said, has stymied the idea in prior years.

“A Cold War recognition certificate, established in 1999, is available for service members and civilian workers, according to the Defense Department. There also are commemorative medals sold by private vendors, but they cannot be worn on military uniforms, the department has said.”

(Snips from 2014:

House Resolution 900

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

March 21, 2010.

Whereas the Cold War involved hundreds of military exercises and operations that occurred between September 2, 1945, and December 26, 1991;

Whereas millions of Americans valiantly stood watch as members of the Armed Forces during the Cold War; and

Whereas many Americans sacrificed their lives during the Cold War in the cause of defeating communism and promoting world peace and stability: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved,  That the House of Representatives--

(1) honors the sacrifices and contributions made by members of the Armed Forces during the Cold War; and

(2) encourages the people of the United States to participate in local and national activities honoring the sacrifices and contributions of those individuals.

429 Ayes, 0 Nays, 1 Present/Not Voting.



Disgrace: Barack Obama Broke Promise to Honor Cold War Veterans  11-11-12

“President Barack Obama once promised, as a U.S. Senator, to honor veterans of the Cold War, who have never received official recognition and are therefore prevented from full participation in many Veterans Day celebrations. But he never fulfilled that promise--neither in the Senate nor the White House--leaving Cold War veterans in the cold.

“The U.S. has thus far failed to honor those who served in the long struggle against communism, which began almost as soon as the Second World War had ended. Though communist regimes--especially Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China, and satellites such as Pol Pot's Cambodia--committed more murders than the Nazis, few Americans are aware of the absolute moral evil that communism represents, or the sacrifices made to stop it.

“The U-2 pilots who provided essential intelligence; the soldiers who kept watch in Berlin; the sailors who were silent sentinels aboard submarines, tracking Soviet movements, ready to strike--all have gone unheralded, and largely uncelebrated, even on Veterans Day.

“It is possible that the reluctance to honor Cold War veterans springs from a political motive. Many on the left opposed the tough line taken against communism... They won the longest and most important war of our nation's history, freeing millions from totalitarianism. But the nation they served has yet to commend them--and the president has, disgracefully, failed to honor his promise.”

(Snips from

“When many of our Cold War veterans returned from their service, they went back to their families, jobs and lives without public fanfare. Freedom is passed down from one generation to the next by the American patriots who are willing to stand between a threat and our civilian population. It is long overdue that our Cold War veterans receive the respect and recognition of our grateful nation.”
( NOTE: website is no longer active)

Perhaps President Trump will award all Cold War veterans the Cold War Victory Medal.

The Cold War Certificate

Under the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Secretary of Defense approved awarding Cold War Recognition Certificates to all members of the armed forces and qualified federal government civilian personnel who faithfully and honorably served the United States anytime during the Cold War era, which is defined as Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991.



10 Reasons Why the Cold War Matters
Allied Forces Cold War Association 
Cold War History
Cold War Museum  
Cold War (TV series)  
Ten Histories of the Cold War Worth Reading
Thoughts of the Cold War  (blog)
US Navy Museum Cold War Gallery
What Was the Cold War?  (Great 5 minute video.)

There are interesting YouTube videos by searching for “Cold War,” “Continuity of Government (COG),” “Cold War bunkers,” “MAD,” etc. You can actually see the USS Wright’s sister ship, the USS Northampton, from 5:55 to 6:47 in THE ANSWER TO THE PRESIDENTS CALL: Military Cold War Exercises in the 1960’s.


USS Wright Association
USS Wright Novelty Items
USS Wright Unit Page


Boot Camp Blizzard
Close Calls
Going Home
I Jumped
Mess Hall Message
Number One “Deep Sink” (have a smile)
Seeking Shelter in a Hiding Place
Stores on the Pier

Trust the Captain


“Why is anarchy so attractive to Gen Z and millennials?...Unlike older generations, this age group didn’t live through the Cold War, where every American was acutely aware of the realities of communism…”

“The Left reached its hand out in solidarity to the communist enemy in the Cold War. Now it is doing the same thing in our terror war, but this time the totalitarian adversary that garners the Left's veneration and devotion is Radical Islam. The Left is always engaged in a pathological romance with our despotic enemies who wish us harm.”


A fellow Cold War vet called me (Karl Priest) a “Cold Warrior” and I pointed out that I was only a flunky. So, who would qualify to be labeled a “Cold Warrior”?

I volunteered for Vietnam duty, but Uncle Sam had other plans (God’s perfect plan). Besides being a Cold War veteran, I am a Vietnam  Era vet. “A  Vietnam Era Veteran is a person who served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days, any part of which occurred between August 5, 1964 and May 7, 1975, and was discharged or released with other than a dishonorable discharge.” ( NOTE: website is no longer active)


Just a historical note:

In 1967 I went to join the USN. There were no slots available and the recruiter suggested I try the USNR.

Instead of 6 years (4 active and 2 inactive) I signed up for 6 years (2 active and 4 inactive).

I went to boot camp with the USN recruits (in our company there were about 70 USN and 10 USNR). After boot camp, the USN guys had two weeks at home and then reported to their duty stations as E2s.

I had about 6 months at home with weekly drills and two weeks active and then reported to my duty station as an E3.

My honorable discharge is from the United States Navy.