Veterans with secret war roles reunited in Kansas City

LENEXA, Kan. - If you drove by Shelter #1 at Shawnee Mission Park around noon on Thursday, you wouldn't think anything of the group of citizens gathered.

But that group holds a lot of secrets, many their parents and spouses will never even know.

"What we did was classified. How's that? I don't know how much I can tell you about that!" Veteran Christi Scaduto told 41 Action News.

"Our job was... in intelligence," another veteran, Bob Harvey, said. Thursday marked the anniversary of his homecoming from Vietnam in 1969.

These veterans, who served all over the world, met to talk about their time in the Army Security Agency, the intelligence branch predating what is now the NSA.

"When things would happen, and get real exciting, you get nervous and scared, but it's exciting. And these are the only people who understand that," Scaduto said.

Agents in the ASA intercepted messages, copied Morse code, and monitored communications for the U.S. during wartime, along with a long list of other duties that many people will probably never know about.  

"We were never there, and are not here today. That's pretty much what was drilled into us: keep it secret, what you're doing," Harvey said. "So it's a joke now."

Many veterans were meeting the only people they could swap stories with for the first time. Their silence was considered a necessity.

"It was very necessary for security and safety, so you felt you were a very, very small wheel in a very big, important job that needed to be done," Scaduto said.

When we asked Scaduto what she did in the early 70s in South Korea, she twisted her mouth up, paused, and said: "Hang on just a minute - I don't know what's classified anymore!"

She runs it by her husband, who is also an Army Security Agency veteran who worked alongside her.

And the final answer?

"I was a Morse code intercept operator and we listened to other people." 

But she can't say who she listened to or what the U.S. ever did with the information.

Harvey said monitoring communications still goes on around the world, especially today in our relations with Russia.

"It doesn't surprise me, amaze me that, oh, Russia is doing it. We're doing it, England does it, China does it. That's life. And that's what we know," Harvey said.

Harvey said his service made him more aware of what was said around him versus what he knew as the truth.

Those days are now behind them -  and today they unite under their unofficial motto: "In God we trust, all others we monitor."

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