BERLIN (AP) — U.S. Col. Roland Lajoie had just arrived home in West Berlin on a cool March day in 1985 when he got the call from his headquarters: the Soviets were demanding to see him immediately in East Germany
As chief of the U.S. Military Liaison Mission, Lajoie regularly sent intelligence-gathering patrols into communist East Germany and confrontations were not unusual. But he’d never gotten a call to respond personally to an incident. He remembered worrying that his men may have run over an East German civilian.
What he actually faced had even deeper political ramifications: A Soviet sentry had shot and killed unarmed U.S. Maj. Arthur Nicholson, letting him bleed out where he fell on the tank firing range he had been reconnoitering.