Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Our Former Allies: Training Iranian MIssile Technicians at Lowry AFB
Until the Ayatollahs took over in 1979, Iran was an ally of the United States. They were a very close Cold War ally, bordering the Soviet Union. Until the Shah's government fell, tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers and airmen trained in the United States.
For eight weeks in 1972, I was part of the training.
After Basic Training in April 1972, I went to Lowry Air Force Base near Denver, Colorado, for an 8-month missile electronics school. The first eight weeks was basic electronics. I learned basic electronics from a Ham Radio operator in the town where I grew up, so I tested out of the course, but had eight weeks to wait.
During that eight weeks, I was a tutor for lagging students and foreign students. During the Spring of 1972, many of those students were Iranian sergeants. They needed help with vocabulary in addition to the electronics themselves. It was fun to be able to teach these older guys how a capacitor worked or how to calculate resistance and power in a circuit.
The Iranians really wanted to learn. The chance to go to school in America was a big privilege, so these guys worked hard. It was weird to have these mid-20s and older sergeants addressing me formally: "Airman Gussman, may I ask. . . ".
Iran has always been and still is the most sophisticated and civilized of all the Middle Eastern countries.
The guys I trained would be in their 70s now, if they survived The Revolution.
Right now, Iran is the enemy and no one wants a nuclear Iran. But Iran was our ally until their particular group of Fundamentalists took over. They could return to sanity. Some day.