COTTONWOOD Virgil Wassmuth was presented with a Quilt of Valor at the Dec. 1 Summit Academy veterans program.
Wassmuth was in the Army from 1960 to 1962 and volunteered for overseas duty. He was in stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, with the 34th Signal Corp. when the Soviet government oversaw the completion of the Berlin Wall Aug. 13, 1961, closing the border around West Berlin.
He was working in security the night of Oct. 27, 1961, when the coded message came in of a possible outbreak of war. He and his comrade decoded the message and then woke up the commanding officer. The officer reportedly stated, “Wassmuth, this better be good,” then the officer verified the message and then walked over and pressed the button for all of Germany to be on alert. The situation escalated into a standoff with the United States and Soviet Union having tanks on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall.
After communicating back and forth, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and President John F. Kennedy of the United States, agreed to reduce tensions by withdrawing the tanks, and eventually backing down to avoid a war.
Wassmuth’s Quilt of Valor was made by Jeanne Arnzen and Donna Wassmuth. Each family member stitched a blue and red square to say “I love you.”