Sunday, June 09, 2013

Another Small Treasure

See these guys?  Rooshian soldiers...

Click for larger and note their belt buckles.  I wanted one of those shiny brass buckles ever since I saw my first one, back in the late '60s when I was assigned to Wakkanai Air Station.  I knew some Russian linguists who had been assigned to the 6912th Security Group in Berlin before coming to Wakkanai and it seemed like every single one of those guys had one of those belt buckles.  Soviet military paraphernalia was fairly rare back in the day, unless you traveled from West Germany to Berlin on the Duty Train, which was one of the few ways for American armed forces to get to Berlin.  Minor digression: One could fly into Berlin or ride the duty train and in VERY rare cases, drive in a convoy, if you had the proper permits.  So what does that have to do with belt buckles?  This:  the duty train would stop three or four times on its way into Berlin and its occupants would be "inspected," as in "show me your papers."  It also turned out that the Russian troops doing these inspections would give up just about anything on their person for a carton of cigarettes or a bottle of Jack Daniels.  And I mean ANYTHING... hats, belts, uniform items, badges, rank insignia, and so on.  I think the only thing those guys wouldn't trade away were their sidearms, or so I was told.

So.  Fast forward 20-some years, when EDS sent me off to Moscow on bid'niz.  One of the big off-duty attractions while I was there was this big-ass open air flea market about six or seven subway stops from our hotel and we went to that market a couple o' times.  It was there that I found it... this:

It took me over 25 years but I finally got my Red Army belt.  I wear it sometimes and most people don't notice the hammer and sickle in the star, which is prolly a GOOD thing.  I picked up some other military junk at that flea market, as well.  The pics and stories are here and here.


  1. Way cool, Buck. I have to wonder if those guys found any action? :-)

    1. GIs always manage to find action, Jim... regardless of nationality.

  2. The photo is great. The belts are cool too. I have a Philmont Boy Scout buckle and belt that I got from different boy scouts visiting Red River - back in the day when I could turn a head or two.


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