January 28, 2008
Washington, DC—Nevada Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley introduced bills in their respective chambers to identify sites and resources to commemorate heroes of the Cold War. This includes a site at Mount Charleston where 10 workers from the Nevada Test Site and four aircrew died when their plane crashed into the mountain in 1955.
"Nevada played a significant role in winning the Cold War," said Reid. "In addition to the Nevada Test Site, Fallon's Naval Air Station, Nellis Air Force Base, and Hawthorne Army Depot greatly contributed to the fight. It's a terrible shame that the people who perished when their plane crashed near the Mount Charleston summit were never truly honored. The people who sacrificed their lives serving our country in the Cold War worked in such secrecy their families only recently learned about the true circumstances of the crash that took their loved ones. We must do more to honor their sacrifices and ensure future generations have detailed and accurate accounts of the Cold War." "This study will recognize the Nevada Test Site and other historic and important locations that played a significant role in America's Cold War victory," said Berkley. "America must continue to honor the legacy of all those in Nevada and across the nation who kept our families safe during the long decades of the Cold War, many of whom worked in secret and never received recognition for their heroic service. Detailing how the Nevada Test Site and other locations like Mount Charleston played a role in the Cold War will also help to keep alive the memory of those who gave their lives and those whose work – often hidden from the public eye – enabled freedom to ultimately triumph." The legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to establish a "Cold War Advisory Committee." The committee would oversee the inventory of Cold War sites and resources for inclusion with the National Park System, as national historic landmarks, or other appropriate designations.
The bills sponsored by Reid and Berkley provide $500,000 to mark historic landmarks including the Mount Charleston crash site. The Advisory Committee will work closely with state and local governments and local historical organizations. The Committee's starting point will be a Cold War study completed by the Secretary of Defense under the 1991 Defense Appropriations Act.
Cold War sites of significance include:
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch sites;
Flight training centers;
Communications and command centers (such as Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado);
Nuclear weapons test sites (such as the Nevada Test Site); and
Sites of other strategic and tactical significance (Mt. Charleston).
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