The following information request on Project Alpine Cactus is a long shot, but given SurvivalBlog’s large and diverse readership, it is worth a try:
As a young Lieutenant back in 1986 I was posted TDY to the U.S. Army 2nd Military Intelligence Battalion (AE), at Echterdingen, West Germany. That unit was part of the 207th Military Intelligence Brigade, under VII Corps, at the Stuttgart Army Airfield kasserne. While there, I worked a Guardrail live mission. While working at the Integrated Processing Facility (IPF), I read a classified report on an mission that had been conducted a few years earlier. As I recall, the mission was under code name Project Alpine Cactus (or perhaps it was Operation Alpine Cactus.) The report probably would have been dated sometime in 1982 or 1983. Since 36+ years have now elapsed, there is a good chance that I can get approval in a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR), under the terms of EO 12958 or EO 13526.
Because this was a classified project and presumably still classified, I cannot mention what operational tasking the mission involved. (The project code name was not classified, but the report’s content were classified.) It was fascinating to read. To put this in context, this was at the tail end of the Cold War. Germany was still divided. I was doing analysis in a Guardrail IPF at the time of the Chernobyl meltdown, the Operation Eldorado Canyon attack on Libya, and the La Belle West Berlin disco bombing. So it was an exciting time to be alive and Behind The Green Door. But when I read the Alpine Cactus report written just a few years earlier, I just sat for a while in stunned silence. It was one those great “something you can only read in a SCIF” experiences. I’m hoping to do some interviews and write a retrospective book about Project Alpine Cactus, following approval of my MDR.
No Luck Thusfar
To date, my MDR requests submitted to the National Archives at College Park, Maryland and to the NSA at Fort Meade have been fruitless. Both organizations have told me that my request “lacks specificity,” and have asked me to “refine and resubmit” my request. Specifically, what I’m lacking is the exact after-action report title, and/or its document number and/or the report’s date. The other key piece of information I need is: Where were the classified holdings from the 2nd MI Battalion’s SCIF sent, at the time the unit was inactivated, in 1991? (The unit was reactivated in 2001, and now headquartered at Wiesbaden Airfield, Germany. But I doubt that all of the archived 1980s intel holdings were sent back to the reactivated unit’s SCIF.)
So… Does anyone out there remember working for Colonel “Cactus Jack” at the 2nd MI, and remember any of the details on the Project Alpine Cactus after-action report’s cover sheet? Please snail mail me (NO e-mails on this sensitive topic, please!), if you can provide me this information. Please use this address:
James Wesley, Rawles
P.O. Box 303
Moyie Springs, Idah0 83845
It has been more than 36 years. So, now the truth can be told about Alpine Cactus. Credit should given to whom credit is deserved. However, because of Sources and Methods (SAM), this is not subject to automatic declassification. So unless I phrase my “Mother May I” question to the NSA just right, then the answer will continue to be no.
Thanks for your help, and Best ASA Regards, – JWR