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Ground Breaking – Press


Introductions by Chris Hays

From Senator Reid’s office –  Marcos Ibarra.

USFS Area Manager Randy Swick

Speaking will be:

TD Barnes – President of Roadrunners Internationale (retired Area 51 employees) and member of the Silent Heroes of the Cold War SHCW committee. He will be speaking on the people that were lost at Area 51 and how the memorial will honor them. TD is also a member of the SHCW committee.

Ken Walther – Retired CIA  (he will speak on the mission of the memorial to honor all who working in secret for the US during the cold war.

Ky Plaskon – Author of SHCW Declassified.  He will be signing his book about the 1955 top-secret plane crash on Mt. Charleston.

John Harris – Project manager for the Middle Kyle Canyon Project MKCP.  John will show the plans for the multi-million dollar park being built at the Mt. Charleston site.  This will be a first look for the public of the new park.  John’s presentation will be a tour of the MKCP site.

George Tate – SHCW Architect. George will explain the design and its significance in honoring the cold war heroes.  Lane Swainston, SHCW Project Manager will assist George in his presentation

Steve Ririe – SHCW Chairman (will speak regarding how the memorial will honor those who worked in secret and clandestine operations during the cold war and the memorials benefits to the So. NV community).

CH – Introduces Steve

Insurance agent for AAA. Las Vegas Resident for 50 years. Scouts Advisor for over 25 years, Recipient of the BSA District Award, Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial Committee Chairman, Member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO),  Featured on Pawn Stars (History Channel), Featured on Mysteries at the Museum (Travel Channel)

Steve Introduces TD

TD  was with Army Intelligence in Korea. Surface to Air Missiles in Germany specializing in missile and radar electronics Hypersonic Flight Support Specialist NASA High Range for X-15, Lifting Bodies, & Lunar Lander space projects Engineer on NERVA nuclear rocket engine, CIA Special Projects Team at Area 51 for CIA A-12 spy plane, Soviet MiG exploitation, stealth, and other still classified projects.

TD introduces his crew and speaks

CH – Introduces Ken Walther

Ken Walther retired from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after a 27 year career (1969-1996) where he worked as a Technical Operations Officer.  During that time he spent most of his career serving on foreign assignments on five continents and in a variety of countries.  Ken served primarily under the Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T), an Operational Group that developed many of the technical “gadgets” used in the collection of intelligence.  Prior to the Agency he served four years (1964 – 1968) in the Army Security Agency (ASA) with three years in Southeast Asia involved with tactical SIGINT collection.

During his career with the CIA, Mr. Walther spent 17 years serving on overseas assignments and his work led him live in seven International capitols and to visit and work in 102 countries.  Including Military service, a total of twenty years was spent overseas in which he experienced a variety of cultures, languages and learned how to work with a variety of people.  Living for extended periods of time in Asia,  Africa, Central and South America and Europe were building blocks that provided insight into people that could not come from purely academic study.  His insight into the true meaning of the “Human Condition” has helped in conducting successful operations that saved lives or improved the conditions in diverse environs.

His mission was to conduct intelligence operations toward a variety of objectives, to include: Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Espionage, Counter-Narcotics, Counter-Intelligence, and Arms Interdiction.  Although Mr. Walther’s background was primarily in Electronics and optics technology, he was trained in several disciplines aligned with the military’s Special Operations Groups.  Applying these skills, especially in what are called Denied Areas, was challenging.  During his travels and assignments Mr. Walther studied Spanish and French, which he speaks with moderate fluency, and has survival language capabilities in Mandarin, Korean, Thai, Swedish and German.

Upon Retirement from the CIA, he was allowed to retire “open” and his cover status was removed thus allowing him to reveal his Agency affiliation.  Since retirement Ken has focused on entrepreneurial projects and is the co-founder and Director of a private consulting company founded in 1996, dealing with security and technical problem solving.  He is also CEO of a small research company, Nevada Technology Catalyst Group, Inc.  In the years since retiring from Federal Service, Ken has devoted his time to activities having an impact on bettering the lives of people through technology.

CH – Introduces Ky Plaskin

Ky Plaskon has more than 20 years experience in multi-media journalism, owns the investigative Reporting Independent Service and holds a masters degree in Journalism and media studies from UNLV. He is also an avid skier and loves to try new things. Writing a book was a lifelong goal and he is author of Silent heroes of the Cold War declassified.

CH – Introduces John Harris

Middle Kyle Canyon Project Manager, USFS

John speaks and gives the tour.

We regroup

CH – Introduces George Tate and Lane Swainston

George Grew up in a small town (McGill, NV) Graduated White Pine HS in 1950. Graduated U of Utah with degrees in architecture. Commissioned, served in Corps of Engineers (was at Ft. Belvoir, VA on Nov 17, 1955) Married HS sweetheart, also from White Pine.  Two great kids: Marcel & Jason. Settled in Las Vegas in 1957.  Became licensed and started practice in 1960. Founded firm: Tate Snyder Architects, now Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects. Retired in yr. 2005.  Active member of the American Institute of Architects, for 55 yrs in LV. Currently serving on Board of Directors for Henderson Space & Science Center.

Lane is a native of Las Vegas. He can remember as a little boy watching an above ground test. Currently, Lane Swainston owns and operates four companies. During his career, he spent a period of time working at the Nuclear Test Site in Nevada. Through his life, he had an interest in the Cold War and the men, weapons, and strategies that led to the end of the Cold War.  Lane’s role related to the Silent Heroes of the Cold War Committee relate to logistics and planning for the construction of the memorial. Lane participated in the group that retrieved the propeller from the crash site at the top of the mountain.

Everyone grabs a shovel

Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial

Ground Breaking Proclamation

Gentlemen, the shovels you are now holding are the color black.  They are black for two reasons.  First, they are black to honor of the 14 men who lost their lives 57 years ago today on Mt. Charleston, not but a few short miles west of this place.  The color black is in representation of the U2 reconnaissance aircraft for which they were instrumental in developing.  The U2 spy plane played a vital role in preserving the United States through the cold war.  The names of those lost to us on November 17, 1955 are:

William H. Marr of Hyattsville, Md., chief CIA security officer for the U-2 project. He was awarded the CIA’s Intelligence Medal of Merit posthumously.

• James F. Bray of Houston, the CIA’s regional deputy chief security assigned to Groom Lake.

• James W. “Billy” Brown of Savannah, Ga., a CIA security member.

• Staff Sgt. Clayton D. Farris of Walnut, Iowa, USAF 9068 flight mechanic technician.

• Airman 2nd Class Guy R. Fasolas of Nephi, UT United States Air Force 9068 flight attendant.

• Sgt. John H. Gaines of Ripley, Tenn., United States Air Force 9068 flight navigator.

• Richard J. Hruda of Burbank, CA,  Lockheed aeronautic and structural engineer.

• Edwin J. Urolatis of Brockton, Mass, CIA security officer.

• Rodney Kreimendahl of San Fernando Valley, CA,  Lockheed aeronautic and structural engineer

• 1st Lt. George M. Pappas of Amarillo, TX,  United States Air Force 9068 pilot. He was promoted to captain posthumously.

• 2nd Lt. Paul E. Winham of San Antonio, TX, United States Air Force 9068 co-pilot.

• Fred F. Hanks of Sierra Madre, CA,  Photographic specialist.

• Harold C. Silent of Glendora CA 59 Photographic Consultant and Physicist.

• Terence J. O’Donnell of Parkchester, Bronx, NY,  CIA security officer

The second reason your shovels are the color black is in honor of ALL those who served our country in covert missions and clandestine projects during the cold war, those who lost their lives in black operations for whom their contributions have been purposefully erased from history.  Today, November 17, 2012, we break ground with black shovels in representation of the secret nature of their work and ultimate sacrifice.  When this memorial is constructed and dedicated, it will bring into the light the gratitude of the people of the United States of America for all such heroes.  Gentlemen, at this time I would ask you to begin the construction of the Silent Heroes of the Cold War by breaking what will then become sacred ground…

 (after breaking ground)

Gentleman – thank you.

Call Up Steve for closing remarks



Researchers find US Air Force Douglas C-124A Globemaster II that crashed 60 years ago in Alaska

Globmaster II Alaska CrashAs reported by the Daily Mail UK, Wreckage found on an Alaskan glacier is the remains of a missing Air Force plane that crashed in the 1950s, killing all 52 people on board.

Authorities revealed today the site has been identified after it was discovered on Knik Glacier near Anchorage earlier this month.

It means the victims’ families may finally get answers as to why their loved ones died nearly 60 years on from the tragedy.

This is near to our hearts as we know what they will have to go through to contact all of the families of the victims as we did for the Mt Charleston crash.

View full article here.

© 2011 Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Monument
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