This past week I attended a reunion in Rapid City of the Turner Tankers Association. The attendees were veterans and their spouses who were stationed in Berlin, Germany during the period 1955-1992. Most of those who attended this year’s reunion were in Berlin in the early to mid-’60s.

The ’60s were an especially turbulent time in Berlin. Berlin was 110 miles inside the iron curtain, which was erected to keep the people of East Germany from leaving for the freedom of the west. The city of Berlin was occupied, under a four-power agreement, by the Americans, British, French, and Russians. In August 1961, almost overnight, a wall consisting mostly of cinder blocks was erected between the Soviet territory and the rest of occupied Berlin. This meant free Berlin did not include East Berlin, since local control in the east was in the hands of the East German government. Access between east and west was through Checkpoint Charlie, and that was restricted to diplomats, military personnel, and foreigner passport holders.

On Oct. 22, 1961, a U.S. diplomat was stoped at the east side of the checkpoint by the East German guards, who demanded to see his papers. He refused to show them since only the Soviets had the right to inspect his papers. When East German officials continued to deny Americans entry into East Berlin, U.S. General Lucius Clay put on a show of force. The Turner Tankers were called, and we positioned 10 M-48 tanks around the checkpoint and the rest in reserve several blocks away. The East Germans’ Soviet allies responded by positioning three-dozen T-55 tanks near the eastern border.

On Oct. 27, 10 of them rode forward to meet the American armor. For some 16 hours, the two sides stared each other down in one of the only armed confrontations of the Cold War. The potential for World War III rested in the hands of the Soviets and we American tankers-many of whom were only 18, 19, and 20 years old.

On May 1967, I deplaned at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, Vietnam. I was assigned as the senior advisor to the 1st Troop, 4th ARVN Cavalry. For one year I served side-by-side with my Vietnamese counterpart, Capt. Lao and his men. During this time I saw the true horrors of the communist regime of the North. They would come into the villages at night to take anything they wanted; food, young men and women to serve with the Viet Cong. They literally raped, pillaged and plundered. If anyone was foolish enough to resist, they were beheaded, or worse.

I say all this because I have seen first-hand the effects of Socialism and its big brother, communism. Too many people in our country today are buying into the fundamental concepts of Socialism because; it sounds good, the way it’s being spun by the Biden Administration and the media, and because they have no idea of the disastrous effects it will have on our country. The Democratic Party spent four years trying to impeach President Trump, based on false information and innuendos. While they were unable to accomplish impeachment, they did end up dividing our country like never before. That set the stage for the last two summers of violence we have been experiencing in almost all of our large metropolitan areas.

It’s time we took a lesson from history. Socialism/communism have been tried in places all around the world, and it has failed everywhere it’s been tried. Look at the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and Venezuela. I don’t believe that even 5% of our country wants to live like they do in those countries. Certainly the people living don’t want to be there, that’s why we have an immigration crisis on our southern border.

The closing words of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels read “The Communist disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at the Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. The have the world to win.”

Under American Marxism, it is the people who should tremble, because this is a ruling class revolution. And “We the people . . .” will be the ultimate losers!

Bill Shea is a retired major in the U. S. Army. He also worked at K-State as an instructor in computer science and still supply preaches for MCC. He lives in Manhattan.

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