“James Bond Cars”: A Military Liaison Mission Driver’s View of the Cold War

John Stegner


John Stegner grew up in Missouri, and after a few years of college, he enlisted in the Army as a Military Policeman to avoid being drafted. The MPs were overstrength when he arrived in Germany, and he was reassigned to the Infantry, where he guarded a State Department post. He then reenlisted for assignment to the United States Military Liaison Mission (USMLM) after being interviewed and passing a driver’s test. In this interview, John Stegner discusses his time as a driver for the United States Military Liaison Mission, which operated behind the Iron Curtain in Germany during the Cold War. He describes the intense modification and testing that the vehicles underwent. Each car had special features designed to help the driver evade the East German police. Stegner also describes a time that he and his tour officer were detained by the East Germans, and his interactions with Soviets during that period. Stegner fondly recalls the East German people, and particularly enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate Mardi Gras in Dresden. He also shares his perspective on the American response and concerns about the 1968 Prague Spring.


conflicts Cold War
topics USMLM United States Military Liaison Mission Courage
interviewer Ben Griffin
date 29 April 2017


name John Stegner
service Military Police / Infantry
unit USMLM United States Military Liaison Mission
service dates 1966