The Corner

Our Last Cold War Casualty

Several years ago, I wrote a story for NR about Arthur D. Nicholson:

Arthur D. Nicholson was the last American to die in the Cold War, but he is hardly a household name. His killing in 1985 made headlines everywhere and led to weeks of finger-pointing between the U.S. and the USSR–before it was efficiently whisked away as an unfortunate incident that could not be allowed to disrupt delicate superpower relations. Yet those who knew him well did not forget. Every spring since Nicholson was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery–in a place of high honor near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and close to the grave of Joe Louis–a group of former comrades have gathered to remember a fallen hero of freedom. Much of Nicholson’s work remains classified, yet a number of public documents as well as candid conversations with veterans who knew him make it possible to glimpse at his activities and those of his unit–and to learn untold stories of brave men who ventured everything to fight Communism.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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