An Incredible Story From Soviet Times

October 13th, 2011

This was written by Tom Dailey, and I’ve lightly edited it:

In 1965, I was stationed at the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Center in San Diego. I was a Radioman 2nd. Class in the USN, at the time.

One evening, at our radio club station (W6DCM – different license holder, now), I called CQ and got UAØKKC (it’s no longer around), with Ivan at the mic. After a time of the usual signal reports and such, we asked what each did in their lives – I said that I was US Navy radio operator.

He answered that HE ALSO was a Navy radio operator in the Soviet navy. Then we discovered that his station was at the SUBMARINE base at Vladivostok, and I of course was his DIRECT opponent.

Yes… we really DID laugh at that, and I shall never forget what he said (that I heartily agreed with):

“Thomas, isn’t it shame that we’re supposed to hate each other?”

“Yes, Ivan, it is – someday we’ll share a vodka, da?”

“Da”, he replied.

We’re often told we should hate people. Messages I have heard on the media over the last 10 years have said we ought to hate illegal immigrants, CEOs, radical Muslims, the French, Iranians, Mexicans, presidents, UN diplomats, climate scientists, oil company employees, Chinese people, conservatives, liberals, religious people, atheists, and oh yes, still Russians.

But I get to choose who to hate, and in fact, I choose NO HATE. Not only does it keep my stress level way lower, but it also lets me enjoy life more, and makes the world a better place.

We can all talk to people in other countries and with other backgrounds and viewpoints so easily thanks to the Internet. Sadly we rarely have very deep online conversations to the point of getting to know people. For whatever reason, ham radio lends itself to that better.

Even better: visit other places. I wonder how many people that say they hate some group of people have visited them and made an effort to make a connection? It is, after all, really hard to hate someone that is kind to you. Perhaps they’re afraid to let go of their hate.

Think also about this: for whom is it convenient if you hate people? There is usually a reason that hatred is stoked, and it doesn’t usually lead to good things for individual people.

Tom W0EAJ added:

I actually tried to locate him and the station, but both appear to have vanished. Ivan (his name was pronounced Eee-von) could have, it occured to me later, gotten into trouble for saying such things. I think both of us realized AT THE TIME, what an astounding counterpoint each of us was to the other.

Proof that if it were left up to the simple little guys like us, and not to the politicians, we might actually pull off living in peace.

Categories: War & Peace

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  1. Damon Lynch

    That is a great story! It is infinitely better to hate a state of affairs than it is to hate people. We can hate injustice and racism for instance, but not the people who are doing it. As Gandhi said “I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.”

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  2. Suppa

    I don’t want to ruin the story, but most likely Ivan was a member of KGB or GRU.
    Subs operations were the most “interesting” during Cold War, getting information from someone involved using comradery would have been a success.

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