“There Is No Country Like Ours”: A USMLM Officer Behind The Iron Curtain Reflects On Service And The Soviets

Joel Anderson


Joel Anderson graduated from West Point in 1979 and became an Infantry Officer in Baumholder, Germany. After his first tour in Europe, he attended the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and USARI, the United States Army Russian Institute in Garmisch, Germany in preparation for assignment to the United States Military Liaison Mission in West Berlin. He served in the USMLM from 1988 to 1991, and was the last Tour Officer to operate in East Germany when the mission ended. After returning to the United States, he was assigned to the Department of Foreign Languages at the United States Military Academy, where he taught Russian until he retired from the military in 1996. In this interview, Joel Anderson talks about attending West Point during a tumultuous period that included the end of the Vietnam War, the Class of ’77 honor scandal, and the introduction of women into the Academy. He describes his time in Europe, and the East Germans’ perceptions of both the Soviets and the Americans. Finally, he discusses the fall of the Berlin Wall and his experiences teaching at West Point. Throughout the interview, he provides compelling stories of his time in the United States Military Liaison Mission.


name Joel Anderson
institution USMA
graduation year 1979
service Infantry
unit USMLM United States Military Liaison Mission
specialty Russian FAO
service dates 1979 1996