“We’re Just Soldiers A Long Way From Home”: Service With The United States Military Liaison Mission In East Germany

Tom Wyckoff


Tom Wyckoff grew up in an Air Force family and lived around the world as a young boy, spending time in Oklahoma, Germany, and Libya. He remembers seeing concentration camps in Europe and Roman cities in North Africa. He attended college at Oklahoma State University, and graduated from Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) as an Infantry Officer. He gained combat experience in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division. He then trained as a Foreign Area Officer (FAO) and attended the U.S. Army Russian Institute in Garmisch, Germany. He later served in Russia as an INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) compliance inspector before being assigned to the United States Military Liaison Mission in East Germany from 1982 to 1986. He retired from the Army in 1993. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, highlighting his travels as an Air Force brat, and his Army experiences. He describes his service with the United States Military Liaison Mission, recalling several interesting incidents, such as getting stuck in the mud in East Germany and meeting the Chief of the Warsaw Pact at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He remembers when Major Arthur D. Nicholson was killed, remarking that the Russian Military had no discipline related to their politics. He explains his operational routine during 24-48 hour patrols armed only with five cameras. He once he took pictures of a Soviet SS-21 mobile missile launcher after being chased through the woods by one, and he photographed the 8th Guards Army Air Defense Command Bunker. On another mission, he was chased by a Soviet T-80 tank. At the end of the interview, he expresses what his service means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War Cold War
topics USMLM United States Military Liaison Mission Leadership Camaraderie Wartime Decisions
interviewer David Siry
date 28 April 2017


name Tom Wyckoff
institution Oklahoma State University
graduation year 1969
service Infantry
unit 9th Infantry Division; United States Military Liaison Mission
specialty Foreign Area Officer (Russian); Defense Intelligence Agency
service dates 1971 1993