The author Robert (“Bob”) Quinn enlisted in the United States Army at age sixteen in 1954. Quinn completed his time at sea aboard the US Army Cable Ship Niles from 1957 to 1958. He went on to serve twenty more years in the United States Army. After being commissioned Second Lieutenant of Infantry, Quinn graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Benedict’s College in Atchinson, Kansas, in 1969. Post graduation Quinn was selected to receive a commission as a Regular Army Officer. His career included service as a Platoon Leader, and Company and Battalion Commander in the 2nd Armored Division, 4th and 24th Infantry Divisions. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College. While in the Army Quinn was stationed in Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Formosa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaya. He served three tours in Vietnam on a Green Beret “A Team,” and was Operations Officer of the 1st Battalion 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, and a MACV Advisor on Team 36, in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. He was also a Green Beret in the 1st and 5th Special Forces Group. At the conclusion of his military career, Quinn served as a Test Officer for the Dragon Missile System at the US Army Infantry Board, and then as Chief of Training for the US Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. Quinn retired from the US Army as a Lieutenant Colonel and now resides in Brunswick County, North Carolina. Quinn is the author of “Rock and Roll Cable Ship: A Sea Soldier Remembers,” published in 2011. This is Quinn’s second book.
In early 1961 The Cold War became colder and the activity in the 2d Armored Division became more intense. President Eisenhower was leaving office and his replacement was the much younger John F. Kennedy. President Eisenhower was the man that won the war in Europe and was considered a master at dealing with the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. The Warsaw Pact was a euphemism for the East European countries that the Soviet Union occupied and controlled when World War II ended and the Cold War began. The Cold War was a stand-off between NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the Western Powers led by the United States and the Warsaw Pact led by the Communist Soviet Union.
President Kennedy was tested very early in his presidency by the older more experienced Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev. The provocations were serious ranging from missiles in Cuba, closing the border between Eastern and Western Europe and building a wall around West Berlin. To make matters worse, the Warsaw Pact outnumbered the NATO Forces in soldiers and most significantly in armored vehicles. To deal with this numerical disadvantage, President Eisenhower initiated the development of a special weapon that would give the NATO Forces time to respond to an attack.
This special weapon and its effective tactical employment were to fall on the shoulders of young officers in the infantry. The challenge, the weapon, the tactics and the officers were all new. Could the challenge be met? The army leadership at the highest levels wanted to know.