The Cold War Museum, in cooperation with Old Bust Head Brewing Company, invites you to attend a presentation by former Army Security Agency NCO Lonnie Long and former Air Force Security Service airman Gary Blackburn.
In early May 1961, soldiers of the United States Army Security Agency arrived in Vietnam under an Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy. Every man carried copies of his orders and records in an identical brown Manila envelope, and each man’s medical records were stamped “If injured or killed in combat, report as training accident in the Philippines.” In such clandestine fashion, the first fully operational U.S. military unit arrived in Southeast Asia. This singular event marked the beginning of a transition from strategic Cold War to tactical intelligence. Some lessons learned during the Korean War would be used, but most were forgotten or ignored.
Gary Blackburn and Lonnie Long, co-authors of the book UNLIKELY WARRIORS: The Army Security Agency’s Secret War in Vietnam 1961-1973, will discuss the history of signals intelligence, the Army Security Agency, and the Air Force Security Service during the transition from Cold War to tactical military operations, and their service together in Taiwan (Cold War) and Lonnie’s service in Vietnam. They will discuss the problems that were encountered, along with the successes and failures of the various units.
Gary B. Blackburn is a native Iowan and served with the U.S. Air Force Security Service from April 1961 to November 1964. He studied Chinese at the Institute of Far Eastern Languages, Yale University and Technical Chinese at Goodfellow A.F.B., Texas. Overseas assignments included the Joint Sobe Processing Center; Torii Station, Okinawa, working for NSA; and the 6987th Security Group, Shu Lin Kou Air Station, Taiwan. After his duty in the Far East, Gary returned to Goodfellow A.F.B. as a member of the elite 6948th Security Squadron (Mobile), USAFSS, to fulfill the last year of his military commitment.
Gary is a graduate of John Wesley University in High Point, North Carolina, and is retired from Eastern Air Lines and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He served as Commandant of Cadets and Vice-President/Director of Public Relations and Alumni Affairs at Oak Ridge Military Academy, Oak Ridge, North Carolina, for ten years. He is a published author and photographer. Gary and his wife Myra live in Oak Ridge and have two sons, Aaron and Brendan Blackburn; a daughter, Hope Brotherton; and two grandchildren, Ethan and Audrey Brotherton.
Lonnie M. Long was born in North Carolina, and served with the U.S. Army Security Agency from August 1962 to November 1965. After completion of his ASA training at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, Lonnie began a fifteen-month tour with the 76th Special Operations Unit at Shu Lin Kou Air Station, Taiwan. In 1964, he volunteered for duty in Vietnam and began a fifteen-month tour with the 3rd Radio Research Unit, Aviation Section, flying airborne radio direction finding (ARDF) missions out of Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon.
Lonnie is a graduate of the University of Miami and the Wharton Executive Education program, University of Pennsylvania. He is retired from Morgan Stanley and Bank of America and is a published author. Lonnie and his wife Randie live in Davidson, North Carolina. They have two sons, Graham and Greg Long; and two grandsons, Ben and Ford Long.
This is the twenty-seventh in a series of presentations sponsored by the Museum, in cooperation with Old Bust Head Brewing Company, featuring expert eyewitnesses to significant Cold War events and activities. Presentations occur at the Brewery, followed by special access to the Museum (next door) with a tour for event participants.
Date: Sunday, October 20, 2019
(NOTE: FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE THIS PRESENTATION BUT CANNOT ATTEND BECAUSE THEY ARE AT A DISTANCE, HAVE A CONFLICT, ETC., THEY MAY BUY A TICKET VIA EVENTBRITE LIKE ATTENDEES, THEN ACCESS THE EVENT VIDEO ONLINE AFTER THE EVENT VIA A LINK THAT CWM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JASON HALL WILL SEND THEM. TO ARRANGE, EMAIL JASON AT JASON@COLDWAR.ORG.)
Time: 2 p.m. (Arrival: 1:30-2 p.m.)
Cost: $35, including the presentation; a $7 credit toward a craft beer draft, Kombucha, or other drink; a $20 contribution to the Cold War Museum; and special access to the Museum (next door) with a tour for event participants following the presentation. TICKETS AT THE DOOR, IF STILL AVAILABLE, WILL COST $45.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TICKETS, PLEASE SEE THE EVENTBRITE WEBSITE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/by-order-of-the-president-the-army-security-agencys-secret-war-in-vietnam-1961-1973-tickets-67896055931
- Occurred Sunday, October 20th, 2019 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm