Title: A Dangerous Business
Author: John R. Schindler
Schindler, John R. (2004) A Dangerous Business: The U.S. Navy and National Reconnaissance During the Cold War; Commemorating Silent Sacrifices.. Fort George G. Meade, MD: Center for Cryptologic History, National Security Agency
LCCN: Not available
Date Updated: April 7, 2017
This brochure was produced for the Center for Cryptologic History at NSA and may be downloaded from that site. It is 15 pages long, too long to be included here.
During the Cold War, the U.S. Navy was a full participant in the secret war in the ether against the Communist bloc. For decades, Naval aircrews waged a daily struggle against enemy air defenses to gain desperately needed intelligence regarding the military capabilities of the Soviet Union and its Communist allies. This conflict, hidden from public view, constituted an integral component of America’s national security strategy throughout the Cold War, and was fraught with risk for the sailors who took to the air to defend freedom.
Many Naval aircraft and lives were lost in this secret struggle—to enemy fighters, to the elements, to mishaps—and 90 men who gave their lives are commemorated in this publication. This brochure is published by the National Security Agency to celebrate the dedication of the U.S. Navy memorial at National Vigilance Park. It is hoped that it will provide readers with a glimpse into a world that was long hidden from view, a world of dedication, heroism and sacrifice. This brochure outlines the history of Naval aerial reconnaissance during the Cold War, and commemorates the many veterans of that long, secret struggle, especially the sailors—fathers, husbands, sons, and shipmates—who gave their lives.
Although aerial reconnaissance remains filled with hazards by its very nature, it is hoped that no more lives will be lost in defense of freedom—though old sailors know this is unlikely to be so. The sacrifices of the naval aircrews who gave their lives during the Cold War, the 90 brave men remembered in this booklet and at National Vigilance Park, deserve to be remembered by a grateful nation. The missions they flew and lives they lost were shrouded in secrecy for decades. Now, at last, can their story of dedication and sacrifice—for fellow sailors, for the Navy, for the country—be told, celebrated, and commemorated.
THEY SERVED IN SILENCE