Steve Gerber was born in Portland Oregon, in 1947. As a young man, Steve had been interested in joining the Navy or the Coast Guard, but was rejected from the Navy for being red/green colorblind and the Coast Guard wasn’t accepting at the time. Steve had taken the ASVAB and scored highly, so he was drafted into the Army. He found out he was drafted and immediately marched down to his drafting office and said that he didn’t want to go into combat. He was asked what he wanted to do instead, and he decided that he wanted to become a spy. In order to transfer he had to agree to serve two additional years of service. He was shipped out to Fort Ord in California, where he arrived at 3 in the morning, only to be greeted by a grumpy corporal who was none too happy about being woken up by a new recruit arriving so early in the morning. He was promptly sent with 60 other men to have his head shaved and receive his uniform. Steve initially felt fear and anxiety, but soon adjusted to his surroundings. He was later sent to Turkey to monitor Soviet activity in the area. During his time there he never saw any real danger, until one day when Russian planes deviated from their usual route and instead headed directly for the base where Steve was. Steve was monitoring the planes activity when the plane switched to targeting mode and began to target them. In hindsight, Steve said that it was likely just to scare them as the Soviets were aware of their presence to an extent. Steve continued to spy on Soviets for the rest of his career in the Army, until his service ended. Steve received the rank of Specialist 5 and was awarded an Army commendation medal for identifying a Russian radar, which was breaking treaties between the US and Russia. Steve’s time in the army ended in 1971 at Fort Meade, Maryland. He remembers walking off the base for the final time, taking off his Army jacket, and throwing it in the garbage. Steve continues to live in Portland to this day. He still meets with many friends from the Army regularly. According to him, the Army was the best job he ever had, but was also the worst.
We honor you, Steve Gerber.