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Oral history interview of Jeffrey Ford. Interview conducted by Brandon Kirk in Orlando, FL on Zoom on December 2nd, 2020.


:32 date and location of birth; :44 Discusses siblings and parents; :57 Older siblings military service; 1:34 Family influence on choice to join the military; 1:58 Enlists in 1985; 2:08 Specialized as an electronic signal analyst; 2:26 Stationed in West Berlin; 2:43 Basic training and six months of technical training; 3:12 Goes into detail about six months of technical training; 3:43 Somewhat prepared for basic training; 4:16 Initial reaction of being stationed in West Berlin; 4:40 Flew from Florida to New York to Frankfurt; 5:05 How he traveled to the Russian sector; 5:25 Apprehension of first time going through the eastern zone; 5:45 Differences between West Berlin and East Berlin; 6:25 Years stationed in West Berlin; 6:43 Role in electronic security command; 7:32 Tensions in Berlin and tensions with the Berlin Wall; 8:03 Not allowed to travel to East Berlin unless it was chaperoned; 8:30 How tensions started de-escalating during his time in Berlin; 8:56 Allowed to wear civilian clothes but had to wear uniform in East Berlin; 9:33 Briefings about operational security and communications security; 10:00 Description of Berlin when he arrived; 10:28 Culture shock in Berlin and wanting to understand the culture more; 10:53 Why he wanted to learn German; 12:10 Anecdote with German civilian; 13:16 How Berlin was cosmopolitan; 13:53 Stationed near Tempelhof Airfield; 14:48 Berlin Airlift memorial; 15:44 Berlin civilians stories of occupation; 16:35 How the architecture of Berlin was still affected by WWII; 17:29 Lack of modern construction in East Berlin; 18:17 Landmarks in Berlin; 18:44 Holocaust museums in Berlin; 19:07 Berlin natives reaction to the Holocaust; 19:55 More details about his role in electronic security command; 21:10 Military presences during nearing peacetime; 22:21 Present for Ronald Reagan Berlin Wall speech; 23:12 West Berlin's reaction to the speech; 23:47 Left Berlin in October 1989; 24:54 Felt that the Berlin Wall was going to fall soon; 25:26 Russians losing control of East Berlin; 25:46 Reaction to the fall of the Berlin Wall; 26:03 Homecoming to the United States; 26:56 Reaction to being back in United States; 27:15 Easy shift back to daily life; 27:30 Perspective of American culture changed; 27:54 Worked in telemarketing; 28:29 Lessons learned from time in military; 29:44 Work did not overlap with the military after he left; 30:19 Monumental shift in the world after the Cold War ended; 31:00 His view on his time served during the Cold War; 31:48 Description of West Berlin Army; 33:20 German nationalism during his time in Berlin; 34:39 Closing; 34:55 End of interview

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Sacramento (CA)




White - Non Hispanic

Home State


War or Conflict

Cold War Era



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Air Force

Unit of Service

US Air Force Europe Command, Support of Peacetime Arial Reconnaissance Program

Location of Service

West Berlin, Germany

Highest Rank


Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury



Occupying Army Europe Badge

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Brandon Kirk

Interview Date


Location of Interview

Virtual using Zoom


Ford, Jeffrey.; Cold War Era, 1985-1989, Personal Narratives. United States Air Force.

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES University of Central Florida


Kirk, Brandon.

Length of Interview


Accessibility Status

Closed captioning is available for the embedded video.


Department of History, University of Central Florida




All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type


Transcript_JeffreyFord .pdf (265 kB)
Transcript - J. Ford