BMI Post 40



On February 3rd, 2012 USFS (United States Forest Service) Regional Forester Harv Forsgren officially approved of the construction of the Silent Heroes of the Cold War Memorial. It will be built as part of the Kyle Canyon Project at Mt. Charleston. The Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial will be the first and only memorial built on USFS land. Ground breaking was held in November of 2012 and construction has begun.

The Silent Heroes of the Cold War Memorial is dedicated not only to those that made the ultimate sacrifice on the hillside of Mt Charleston on a cold November morning in 1955, but to honor  all (Military, Government,  and Civilian) veterans of the cold war era.

The cold war was not only the longest and most costly war in American history, it also posed the greatest danger our country and the world ever faced.  For the first time weapons existed with destructive power capable of annihilating most of the world’s population.  Someone once compared it to several men standing waist deep in a room filled with gasoline, each man trying to stare down the others as they struggled to hold the most matches.  Had any one of them struck a match, all would have gone up in flames.  Mutually assured destruction was guaranteed.

America emerged victorious from the cold war, in large part due to those who worked in secret.  Without their contributions, the cold war could very well have had a different ending.  To ensure the continued safety of our country many of their contributions were purposefully left out of our history books.  We now share an obligation and a responsibility to honor these secret heroes by telling their stories and giving them their rightful place in history.

The inspiration for this National Memorial started on November 17, 1955 at 7:25 a.m., a USAF Military Air Transport Service aircraft took off from Burbank, CA with an air force crew, engineers, CIA personnel and scientists bound for Watertown, now known as Area 51. At 8:40 a.m. the aircraft was first reported missing. The full story of the fourteen men aboard and the U2 reconnaissance plane they helped build remained classified for over 40 years. Also classified as top-secret was the account of the men who risked their lives while they braved subzero temperatures at 11,500 feet elevation to attempt a rescue on Mount Charleston. We honor these men and the hundreds of individuals who have worked in obscurity during the Cold War, many of whom have paid for our freedom with their very lives.

American Legion BMI Post 40 has been honored to be asked to be a significant part of this project. This was not a monetary request – although any monetary donation would be appreciated – but rather a request for operational assistance.   Jim Klump