The U.S. and Soviet navies spent the Cold War building for the possibility of a hot war. After nearly half a century the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union collapsed, and peace developed with the Russian heirs of the Soviet navy.
The time was 0600, 2 July 2004. In Peter the Great Bay outside Vladivostok, Russia, I felt the effects of 25-knot winds, intermittent rain, and 8-foot swells. The USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) stood calmly at anchor while a Russian Navy tugboat rubbed violently against the side of the ship. In the dark, three Russian Navy officers and I scrambled up a rope ladder and announced ourselves to the officer of the deck. We were escorted to the bridge, where the Russians assisted the captain and the navigation team in the transit from anchorage intt) the port of Vladivostok. Despite the summer date, we shivered in the damp, cold wind coming off the Sea of Japan. Golden Horn Bay was beautiful: surrounded by small mountains on a rugged coastline that was more pristine than I had imagined.