In 1984, the quintessential RedScare film ''[[Film/RedDawn1984 Red Dawn]]'' came out and opened with a shocking invasion of the American heartland. It covered a small band of Resistance fighters in the opening months of WorldWarIII as they attacked the DirtyCommunists that invaded their homeland and were gradually destroying their town, until eventually, only two of them survived to escape to American lines.

Someone, however, was intrigued by [[MrExposition Colonel Andrew Tanner's]] review of the War in North America by November 1985. With [[CrypticBackgroundReference vague talk of things such as]] TheSiege of Denver, unspecified horrors being inflicted on the population of Texas, and the Mississippi River becoming a frontline, John Milius's take on the Third World War had rich potential for expansion...

[[ExpandedUniverse And so they did]]...

''Red Dawn +20'' originally started as a thread on an Alternate History message board that ran ''[[LongRunner 335 pages]]'' before relocating to [[http://www.tboverse.us/HPCAFORUM/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=31 this members only message board dedicated to organizing the available information and subject matter]]. (TheWikiRule [[http://reddawnwwiii.wikia.com/wiki/Red_dawn_alt_hist_wwIII_Wiki is also enforced]].) After some considerable [[RetCon RetConning]] to separate some wheat from the chaff, a coherent, believable timeline for WorldWarIII emerged. A bloody conflict lasting from September 3, 1985, to October 14, 1989.

This extended story, told from the points-of-view of posters roleplaying as veterans of the war, covers every facet of the fight imaginable.

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!!This thread provides examples of:

* AcePilot: Several tell their stories, including one who enlisted with the Canadians as a teenager lying about his age, got found out after scoring several kills, joined the Marines (where they didn't care how old you were as long as you could fly), shot down quite a few more Commies, then, after turning 18, joined the Kentucky Air National Guard to score still ''more'' kills flying with the Kentucky ANG... winding up with a confirmed score of 70.
* AllohistoricalAllusion: Many RealLife contemporary figures played a big part in the war.
** Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell led the defense and offenses that saved America. The latter would become President of the US in 2004.
** UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush becomes President "early" as UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan was killed when UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC got nuked.
** National Security Advisor and retired General H.R. [=McMaster=] distinguished himself as a young lieutenant in charge of a scout platoon in the 1st Armored Division.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gus_Hall Gus Hall]] is made the [[TheQuisling president of the American puppet government]].
** Former musician, record producer, and Lieutenant Governor of California Mike Curb is mentioned; he served as an appointed Senator from 1985-1989, and played a USO-recruited has-been singer in the remake of [[Film/KellysHeroes Kelly's Heroes]].
** Creator/SandraBullock served in World War III, flying F-15s and scoring 22 kills. Creator/AnneHathaway and Creator/AnnaKendrick have made cameos as Air Force Reserve officers.
** Bill Clinton is elected President in 1996; Hillary Clinton serves as a Senator from 1985 to 2012, when she is elected President.
** ''Film/BlackHawkDown'' author Mark Bowden is embedded with the 7th Light Infantry when they relieve the Siege of Denver. His book ''Mile-High MOUT'' receives the same accolades as the real-life book, hailed as "a masterpiece of modern war."
** An F-4 pilot recounts hitting a Russian/Cuban armored column retreating from Stillwater, Oklahoma. A reporter later dubs it the [[https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_of_Death “Highway of Death”]] in a news story that is evidently sympathetic to the Cubans and Russians. The F-4 pilot says, “Oh yeah? Where the hell was that guy on Invasion Day?”
** Creator/HeathLedger plays Franchise/CaptainAmerica in a movie directed by Creator/StevenSpielberg that shifts the title character into WWIII. ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' is set during the Battle of Houston.
** Marvel and DC Comics are both victims of the nuclear strike on New York. However, Creator/StanLee survives by virtue of having been in Los Angeles on a business trip. He promptly sets up a new publishing concern with some local publishers and is soon turning out new editions of ''Franchise/CaptainAmerica'', ''Franchise/IronMan'', and ''Franchise/TheAvengers''. These comics are not only distributed to the US military for morale purposes, but are also dropped by the Air Force on the occupied states, where they are incredibly popular, despite the KGB making their possession punishable by death.
** An InUniverse AlternateHistory book titled ''With a Whimper, Not a Bang'' describes the "alternate" history of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain exactly as it happened in RealLife. The person who describes it dismisses it as [[RealityIsUnrealistic as way too unlikely,]] [[ItWillNeverCatchOn even in retrospect]].
* AmazonBrigade: A very famous and successful US Army attack helicopter battalion nicknamed the Cobra Chicks has all-female flight crews flying AH-1 Cobra gunships. Multiple all-female B-52 crews are also mentioned. Many of them politely refuse modeling offers from ''Playboy'' after the war.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: When a Marine unit shoots the hell out of an ALA[[note]]American Liberation Army, i.e., US citizens who fight on the side of the Soviets; see ''Les Collaberateurs'', below[[/note]] unit that committed an atrocity, one of the members of that unit gets arrested on charges of treason, murder, arson, unlawful destruction of personal and real property, violation of civil rights under color of law... and ''violating the Clean Air Act of 1970.'' (Those Soviet combat vehicles do NOT meet federal emissions regulations, particularly after they brew up.)[[note]]This was after the platoon corpsman talked the Marine making the arrest out of shooting the guy out of hand. [[FateWorseThanDeath Shooting him might have been merciful compared to siccing the EPA attorneys on him]].[[/note]]
* BadassBiker: Most biker gangs end up volunteering for the Army as light cavalry regiments. The Hell's Angels are especially famous as the 13th Irregular Light Motorized Cavalry. They trade in their Harleys for [=LAV-25s=] and gun jeeps, though. They also are known to have [[PayEvilUntoEvil dispensed some biker justice]] to some high-profile ALA members caught trying to sneak back into the general populace at the war’s end, including a particularly vicious, sadistic, and notorious woman known as The Harpy.
* BadassNative: In addition to American Indians serving in regular roles, the US Army establishes several "Indian Scout" units that serve in long-range reconnaissance, airbase security, and counterintelligence/counterinsurgency roles. The Apache Scouts quickly become the most feared, as they submit communist scalps as proof of their body count, collect body parts as trophies, and have close air support on speed-dial in the unlikely event that they actually get cornered. The Army also runs a campaign to convince the invaders’ grunts that the Indians are cannibals (which the Apache find funny as hell).
* BoardingParty: During the Battle of the Baltic Exits, HMS ''Yarmouth'' (the "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Crazy Y]]") managed to board and capture a crippled ''Krivak'' class frigate, towing her prize into Rosyth Harbor two days later.
* BreakOutTheMuseumPiece: Happens a lot, as anything that can move, fly, and/or shoot gets pressed into service.
** It starts with three of the four museum-ship battleships (and even ''Texas'' packs a HAWK surface-to-air missile battery), and goes on from there...
*** Old-school gunnery duels between warships are a thing, as the Soviet Navy starts the war with 14 operational ''[[https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sverdlov-class_cruiser Sverdlov]]''-class cruisers. One of them, ''Admiral Lazarev'', sinks the Chilean light cruiser ARC ''[[https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSwMS_Tre_Kronor Almirante Latorre]]''[[note]] Formerly the Swedish HSMS ''Tre Kronor''[[/note]], but is sunk the next day by another Chilean light cruiser, ARC ''[[https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Brooklyn_(CL-40) O’Higgins]]''[[note]] Formerly the American USS ''Brooklyn''[[/note]]. Another, ''Aleksandr Suvorov'' loses a fight with the reactivated battleship USS ''North Carolina''.
** Lots of "vintage warbird" aircraft get a chance to see combat one last time. The "Boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Bass is rapidly stripped of every stored aircraft that even ''might'' still be able to fly, many of them dating as far back as Korea. These include, but are not limited to F-100 Super Sabres, F-105 Thunderchiefs, and C-119 Flying Boxcars.
*** A flight of World War II-vintage TBF Avengers is used in anti-submarine patrols in the Gulf early in the war, while all three surviving Martin Maulers form a flight for counter-insurgency work.
*** Taken UpToEleven by a private pilot with a restored WWI-vintage Sopwith Camel biplane fighter. The Air Force appreciates his tenacity, but don’t let him anywhere near the front line, so he flies air support for Army units hunting ''Spetznaz'' in Kentucky and southern Ohio instead. Amazingly, he and his plane survive the war.
** When the 14th Armored Division assaults a town southeast of Denver in 1986, they find the local Resistance fighters have already rolled up the defending Nicaraguan infantry using a fully-restored and armed WWII-era M4 Sherman tank (an [=M4A3E8=], as seen in ''Film/{{Fury}}'', to be exact). The Abrams gunner telling the story wonders where they found ammo for the Sherman’s main gun—they ''did'' have some, and even had some left afterwards. It is recorded in the history books as one of the last combat engagements of a Sherman tank.
** An enthusiast in Missouri donates his entire collection of restored American, British, and German WWII/Korean War armored vehicles to the Army. The sight of a crew of "black [=GIs=] riding an ex-SS Panther with a Confederate Battle Flag whipping from the aerial leading a column of Shermans, Centurions, and M36 Jackson tank destroyers against Ivan" turns quite a few heads. After the war, his collection is short a couple of destroyed vehicles, but the Army compensates him with a fleet of captured Soviet armor.
* LesCollaborateurs: The ALA (American Liberation Army) is a military/security force raised in the occupied states. It's membership ranges from people who are forcibly conscripted, reluctantly join for free food, criminals looking for a reduced sentence and a lot of power, and of course, true-believers. While the conscripts are generally pitied, the rest are regarded as beneath contempt. One USAF veteran says that he still thinks it "would be worth ruining a perfectly-good million-dollar J-79 engine just to [[TurbineBlender toss one of those scumbags down the intake]]."
* CoolBoat: The U.S. Navy battleships ''Alabama'', ''North Carolina'' and ''Massachusetts'', all museum ships, were reactivated for the war and were fairly active. ''Texas'' was too old for reactivation, but did have a HAWK surface-to-air missile battery set up on her quarterdeck, becoming the only ship to see combat in all three world wars.
* CoolPlane: Cool planes infest the series, but among the coolest of the cool mentioned are the SR-71E Blackbird (in RealLife, the SR-71 series only went up to C) and the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TR-3_Black_Manta TR-3B Black Manta]].
** Several posters note that while it was already old by the mid-80s, the F-4 Phantom still lives up to its reputation as "The Leading Distributor of [=MiG=] Parts."
** An Army veteran fondly describes the reactivated Vietnam-era F-105 Thunderchief as “big, loud, and very accurate with the ordnance.”
* CurbStompBattle: Several. The Soviet drive through Alaska, the initial attempt to halt the Combloc advance in Texas, and the first major American counteroffensive are all disasters. On the other hand, an attempted invasion of southern Arizona by the Mexicans on Day 1 gets routed in a matter of hours, US and allied combined naval and air forces rip apart an attempted Soviet amphibious landing at New Orleans (a USMC pilot says that the sharks ate well that day), and another attempted landing at Seattle is utterly slaughtered by the US Navy.
* DeadlyGas: Chemical weapons are used on occasion by the combatants; one infamous example given is where a TV reporter, taking a firm grasp on the IdiotBall, dismasked to prove that it was all just propaganda and there were no chemical weapons being used... as the unit she was embedded with ''was being nerve gassed''. The [[SemperFi Marines]] with her were frozen with shock, then horror at the act and its results, some of ''them'' becoming casualties when they had to [[NauseaFuel dismask to vomit]], and after the first few seconds the video of the event [[GoryDiscretionShot is classified at the highest level]] as too horrific to be viewed.
* DressingAsTheEnemy: The US Air Force’s 999th Tactical Fighter Squadron (the "Triple Nines") flies Soviet-built aircraft helpfully supplied by the Israeli Mossad—don’t ask how they got their hands on them, especially the brand-new [=Mi-26=] Halo helicopter [[AceCustom with some highly-effective nonstandard ECM gear]]—for a variety of special missions.
* EliteMooks: A KGB unit ends up holding off a Marine regiment for two days at an airport, the worst possible terrain for defense. Then again, they ''were'' guarding the [[UsefulNotes/MoscowCentre TVD Amerika]] [[UsefulNotes/FromRussiaWithNukes nuclear weapons stockpile]].[[note]] A veteran of the fight compares them to the Spartans. Their commander was named, fittingly enough, Leonidias.[[/note]]
* EnemyCivilWar: One starts to afflict the Soviet Union just before they sign a ceasefire with the allies.
* ExactWords: It takes 22 years after the end of the war before the Veterans of ''Foreign'' Wars allows WWIII veterans to join. Needless to say this causes many hard feelings.
* ExpandedUniverse: For ''Red Dawn''
* FullFrontalAssault: A female USAF MP enjoying a weekend pass with some squadronmates chases down and captures a Cuban soldier who took her encampment by surprise while she's wearing combat boots... and ''only'' combat boots. She ''really'' didn’t appreciate having her weekend interrupted!
* GreatEscape:
** The battleship ''Texas'', a museum ship in its namesake state, is dragged off by tugboats to avoid it being captured.
** UsefulNotes/{{NASA}}'s Johnson Space Center in Houston is also evacuated. And has everything inside taken along with the evacuees. '''Everything.''' ''To the bare walls.''
* GroinAttack: When a Libyan colonel with a pelvic wound captured by a Marine unit refuses to talk, his interrogators point to their Jewish battalion surgeon, who supposedly has already taken the liberty of castrating other Arab [=POWs=]. He becomes ''very'' cooperative. The surgeon (who didn’t actually cut anyone’s balls off) thinks it’s hilarious.
* HoldYourHippogriffs: [[HitlerAteSugar Chebrikov Ate Sugar]].
* KarmaHoudini: The Cuban general who commanded the infamous Rape of Casper (an atrocity by Cuban and Nicaraguan forces following a major defeat by the US Army in northern Wyoming, likened to the Rape of Nanking) only got “10 years and a plane ticket home” from a war crimes tribunal, thanks to a few technicalities.
** Some WWIII veterans feel this way about the fact that no attempt was made to hit Moscow with nukes, despite Washington DC and New York having been vaporized in the first hours of the war. While the fear of escalation is understood, many say that it would have been "only fair" to glass the Soviet capital as well.
** Fidel Castro is tried in absentia and convicted of war crimes, but [[LoopholeAbuse stays in Cuba and hides behind the ceasefire agreement]]. He still tries to hold American [=POWs=] hostage in violation of the ceasefire (no official peace treaty is signed), prompting a blockade by the US Navy (Castro loses), and shelters high-profile American collaborators. Almost every poster refers at some point to having a lot of unfinished business with Cuba in general and Fidel and Raoul in particular.
* KlingonPromotion: Happens a couple of times to one Soviet officer mentioned by several, bumped up after being proven right for ''not'' toeing the party line, then again when his commanding officer orders a massacre and he [[EvenEvilHasStandards objects]] [[UnusualEuphemism strenuously]]. [[LampshadedTrope Lampshaded]] in that he's said to hate Klingon Promotion jokes.
* MacrossMissileMassacre: A Soviet air raid on Los Angeles makes the fatal mistake of crossing the Port of Long Beach, where the missile testing ship USS ''Norton Sound'', testing the AEGIS radar and vertical-launch SM-2 missile system, was docked... and the officer in command of the ship put the system in 'Special Auto'. [[RocksFallEveryoneDies Missiles flew, every plane died]].
* MadeOfExplodium: The battleship ''Massachusetts'' manages to drop a 16" high-explosive shell into a group of fully-filled liquid natural gas tanks while bombarding the Port of Houston. Her captain's first reaction is that they'd accidentally fired a nuclear round; he wound up getting the nickname [[EarthShatteringKaboom Marvin]].
** A Navy surgeon witnesses two American warships destroying a Soviet freighter packed with munitions on July 4th, 1987. "Best 4th of July show ever!"
* MassOhCrap: A quadruple missile launcher salvaged from a Soviet cruiser sunk in the [[NoodleIncident Battle of Puget Sound]] was mounted in front of an American Legion post in Washington state. Several years after the war, it was opened up for refurbishment... and [[OhCrap found to still be loaded]]. A U.S. Navy [[BombDisposal EOD]] squad is called in... and discovers the loading is ''nuclear''. Cue [[DefconFive SPAZCON ONE]].
* TheMutiny: ThePoliticalOfficer of ''K-236'' decides to incite a mutiny at the end of the war against the... less-politically-enthusiastic... officers. [[spoiler:He winds up being [[ThrownOutTheAirlock shot out of a torpedo tube]].]]
* MutualKill:
** Following the war, Dr. Robert Ballard dove on the wreck of the aircraft carrier USS ''Forrestal'', which had been sunk by a submarine attack. Not too far away from the carrier he found the wreck of a Soviet "Victor II" sub.
** Another Victor II scored a "tie" with the cruiser USS ''Yorktown''.
* NeverSmileAtACrocodile: The Soviet/Cuban/Nicaraguan invasion bogs down [[IncrediblyLamePun (get it?)]] in the Louisiana swamps, due to impassable terrain and blown bridges. The Cajun Guerillas keep it that way by attracting alligators to the bridge sites. The Soviet combat engineers are said to be too busy being a buffet table for the gators to repair any bridges.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: The Chernobyl Raid. Intel said the reactors were not yet completed, so an air strike was ordered to hit them before they were brought online. Turns out Intel was wrong. [[InSpiteOfANail Oops]].
* NobleDemon: A captured Red Air Force fighter pilot named Igor Kantarev formed a network of informers among his fellow [=POWs=] dedicated to exposing Soviet war criminals hiding in captivity to their American captors. Kantarev is described as a true-believing communist and Russian patriot who was determined to see justice done against anyone who "sullied the name of the Soviet armed forces, no matter where the orders came from."
* NoodleIncident:
** The uprising on Jamaica and the Bermuda Insurrection.
** One poster mentions a chapter (titled "Cheeseburger in Paradise") in ''Long Walk to Denver'' as being the funniest war story he's ever heard.
* NuclearOption: Although many details are [[ClassifiedInformation classified]], it's known that nuclear weapons were used to bring about the end of the rump states of the USSR fairly recently, not to mention the limited nuclear exchange at the start of the war.
* NukeEm: Speaking of the above, Washington D.C., New York, Omaha, Kansas City, and various nuclear silos in the Dakotas and Wyoming are wiped out. Most of China goes up in smoke as well, though duds spare Hong Kong, Macao, Fuzhou, and presumably a handful of other cities and military bases. The Chinese, likewise, manage to hinder Soviet air defenses by successfully firing a handful of nukes at Russia itself before they're destroyed, creating holes in its air defense shield, which the pilots of Operation EASTERN EXPRESS exploit over the next few years.
* OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness: Until recently, the Soviet Politburo fell under this, with none of their membership ever being referred to by name until the events of [[OperationBlank Operation ROYAL FLUSH]] were covered. UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler in particular finds his SpiritualSuccessor and Communist Counterpart in an AlternateUniverse version of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Chebrikov Viktor Chebrikov]], a RealLife KGB Chairman who ended up becoming the General Secretary of the Communist Party prior to the war instead of Mikhail Gorbachev.
* OneSteveLimit: Averted and lampshaded with warships. USS ''Chicago'' (CG-11), built in WWII as a ''Baltimore''-class heavy cruiser and rebuilt in the late 50s as an ''Albany''-class guided missile cruiser, [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece is pulled out of mothballs and reactivated]], with nobody bothering to give her a new name. This is said to occasionally cause confusion when she operates alongside the submarine USS ''Chicago'' (SSN-721).
* PowerOfLove: A series of stories tells the tale of how two veterans, who broke up the night before the war started, were reunited after the war, and ultimately reconciled by helping each other heal from their traumas. They marry and are now cheerfully living HappilyEverAfter.
* PunnyName: After the invasion, Congress passes a Selective Service law that uses student loan data to find EVERYBODY of military age (including the ones who didn't--or, in the case of women, didn't have to--register for Selective Service. It's known as the [[CurbStompBattle Curb-Stomp Act]].
* RedShirtArmy: Aside from the [[IncrediblyLamePun obvious quip]] about the DirtyCommunist armies, the [[LesCollaborateurs ALA]], the Mexicans, Libyan, and Angolan armies are described by their own allies as "Worse than useless."
* [[ReformedCriminal Reformed Enemy]]:
** Several mentions are made of [=ComBloc=] soldiers and pilots who, after the war, decide not to return to the Motherland upon their release from Prisoner of War status, instead remaining in America to become successful businessmen.
** One poster mentions that piping C-SPAN with appropriate subtitles into EPW camps was very effective in convincing prisoners to flip sides; they got to see what a truly representative government looks like.
** TokenEvilTeammate: [[DefectorFromDecadence For a given value]] [[GoingNative of evil]], one of the posters was a ''Russian'' [[TankGoodness T-80 crewman]] who fought throughout the first half of the conflict before being captured alive at The Battle of Wichita and applying for citizenship after the war.
* LaResistance: Quite a few. Some were [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeVillified heroic]], some [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized weren't]].
* {{Retcon}}: While many were inevitably made as part of an agreed-upon timeline, the most notable one is that initially, England submitted to a [[TheQuisling Quisling government]] that kept control of it until the war's end. This was changed to England successfully fending off Soviet air and naval attacks despite Colonel Tanner's [[UnreliableNarrator thoughts to the contrary]].
* RuleOfCool: It's pointed out on occasion that some elements of the scenario (above and beyond the [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief inhererent oddness of the movie's plot]]) are unlikely when looked at with a realistic eye; for instance, the [[CoolBoat reactivated battleships]][[note]] This example is a bit controversial as battleships are able to survive (heavy armor, air purification) and fight (EMP-proof steam engines and analog fire control) in a nuclear environment, cruise missiles have very poor armor-penetration capability, and 16-inch shells, though shorter-ranged than missiles, are ''much'' harder to shoot down—and the ''Iowa''-class is fast enough to catch most Red Fleet surface combatants anyway, so range is less of an issue (which is why the real-life Soviets ''feared'' the fast battleships in the 1980s). Battleships are no longer the all-important centerpieces they once were, but are still very potent, dangerous, and hard-to-kill warships. The only real drawback of the old ''North Carolina'' and ''South Dakota''-class museum ships—other than cost (screw it, we’re at war!)—would be their lower speed[[/note]]. A combination of [[StatusQuoIsGod inertia from having been around in the story so long]] and plain old [[WesternAnimation/InvaderZim Because It's Cool]] keeps them around despite this.
* SemperFi: The 5th Marine Division (the guys who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi) is reactivated using Marines from grounded West Coast helicopter units. (The definitive history of the division is titled ''Every Marine a Rifleman''.)
* ShoutOut: The series is full of them, including but not limited to:
** One of the posters speaks highly of a fighter pilot named [[Series/BattlestarGalactica2003 Kara Thrace]]; there's also a RAF exchange pilot named Kara Shaw, Athena flies a RF-4C Phantom II, and a Colonel Tigh is mentioned.
** [[Film/IronEagle Doug Masters]] is stated as having received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the war, while Chappy Sinclair wound up with [[TheBrigadier two stars]], and eventually became Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
** The 5th Marine Division Sniper School was run by [[Film/{{Shooter}} Bob Lee Swagger]], who had returned to active duty after a Spetnatz team attempting to kidnap then-Arkansas Governor Clinton and his family trespassed on his property and shot his dog when it began barking. [[DisproportionateRetribution That was a bad move on their part]].
** A [[Literature/TheBigOne DEMOCRAT-hating Senior Chief]] makes an appearance.
** A BadassBiker named [[FanFic/HalfLifeFullLifeConsequences John Freeman and his son Henry Freeman]] prove pivotal in capturing Sergei Khvostov.
** [[Series/{{JAG}} Vice Admiral Chegwidden]] is in charge of the JAG office after the war, investigating a Marine general's misconduct, with assistance from [[Series/{{NCIS}} Jethro Gibbs]] and company. [[Series/NCISLosAngeles Hetty Lange]] also shows up. In World War III, Mike Franks and Leon Vance also turn up.
** The Brits' Special Investigation Branch gets some work during the war, with both [[Series/RedcapClassic John Mann]] and [[Series/RedCap Jo McDonagh]] being mentioned as involved in investigations.
** A UsefulNotes/{{NSA}} hacker named [[Literature/{{Neuromancer}} Henry Dorsett Case]] is mentioned as being on a Soviet hit list.
** [[Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry Colonel Chang]] takes over a troubled Idaho National Guard attack helicopter unit postwar following a major cock-up, and ''very'' efficently cleans house.
*** Interviewing a prospective pilot: "[[VideoGame/StarTrekKlingonAcademy I am not interested in the names of your parents, nor in your family's lineage. What I am interested in is your breaking point.]]" [[note]] The interviewee was the daughter of a Medal of Honor recipient and a woman who is a major-league war hero in her own right (she is eventually awarded the Medal as well). The daughter acquits herself well and gets nominated for flight training.[[/note]]
** A pilot of KC-135s and B-52s in Strategic Air Command happens to be named [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy Somers]]. (The title of her autobiography? ''[=BUFFy=] the Communist Slayer'').
** [[Creator/HaroldCoyle Nancy Kozak]] commands a mechanized infantry combat team in south Texas, while Scott Dixon is an aide to General Powell at war's end.
** The 5th Marine Division JAG tells an officer turning himself in for war crimes that writing the officer up for murder would be like "[[Film/ApocalypseNow passing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500]]."
** [[Series/DangerUXB Brian Ash]] of the Royal Engineers is involved in post-war cleanup of unexploded ordnance. [[note]]Actually, it's his grandson--he even mentions that EOD is sort of the family trade.[[/note]]
** The captain of a Soviet "Sierra" class submarine is the son of [[Film/TheHuntForRedOctober Admiral Yuri Padorin]], while [[Literature/RedStormRising Chairman Kosov]] heads [[UsefulNotes/MoscowCentre the KGB]] late in the war.
*** [[Literature/JackRyan Jack Ryan]] gets around during the war, and afterwards, as well; so does Arnold Van Damm.
** A man named [[VideoGame/NoOneLivesForever Dimitri Volkov]] is a major figure during the final days of the Brownsville Pocket.
** [[Series/ParksAndRecreation Chris Trager]] is a former Green Beret who earned the Silver Star, and attended the funeral of a recovered MIA.
** [[Literature/TheStand Randall Flagg]] is a "Tier One" fugitive still being sought for war crimes in 2012. Some veterans muse on how he seems [[EldritchAbomination a bit beyond the mundane]]. In one story, a female soldier held prisoner by Flagg's people gets a literal DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu moment. [[note]]Gets away with it, too; in this interpretation, Flagg has no power at all over those who do not freely give themselves to him.[[/note]]
*** A PAC spy takes a photo of some cops in San Francisco in the days leading up to the San Francisco uprising and finds [[Franchise/TheSlendermanMythos a tall, faceless figure standing in the background]]. Flagg is [[HorrifyingTheHorror spooked by this development]] and warns the PAC spy not to look into it, but after that, the spy in question vanished without a trace.
** A post-war prank by appropriations officers results in [[Series/{{Airwolf}} File A56-7W]] and Film/BlueThunder being designated as prototypes for acquisiton.
** [[Creator/MichaelDiMercurio "Patch" Pacino]], commander of the submarine ''Bremerton'', scores a Medal of Honor for taking out a Red convoy on the first day of the war. ''All the way'' out, as it were.
** [[Series/HouseOfCardsUS Francis J. Underwood]] is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee circa 2013.
** [[Film/TheFifthElement A Marine with the surname Dallas]] shoots a recalcitrant political officer in the head and asks [[CatchPhrase "Anybody else want to negotiate?"]]
** [[Film/{{Stargate}} Colonel Jack O'Neil]] commands an [[UsefulNotes/TheModernDayRambo Air Force Special Tactics Squadron]] during the first part of the war.
** [[Series/{{GreysAnatomy}} Meredith Grey-Shepard]] is an Air Force flight surgeon.
** [[Film/{{Megaforce}} Ace Hunter]] commanded a battalion with the 9th Infantry Division (Motorized) during World War III, then retired after the High-Technology Testbed TOE was dropped.
** [[Literature/{{Team Yankee}} Richard Kelp]], formerly an Army enlisted man, is a reserve Marine officer with a tank unit, and mentions a former platoon sergeant named Polgar and works with the son of his old first sergeant. Sean Bannon also commanded a company-sized unit during the Battle of Wichita.
*** A comic book adaptation is also mentioned, and a former tank gunner mentions his loader having been a devoted fan.
-->''I used to ask him, "Why the hell do you read that, Frank? You '''live''' the fuckin' thing every day!"''
** [[Series/{{The West Wing}} Jed Bartlett]] is Vice President of the United States, while Josh Lyman is a Senator from Connecticut and C.J. Cregg is his chief of staff.
** ''By Dawn’s Early Light'' gets one in the form of a B-52 copilot named Moreau, who is said to bear an uncanny resemblance to Creator/RebeccaDeMornay.
* StuffBlowingUp: A U.S. Navy pilot, rolling in for a [[StandardHollywoodStrafingProcedure strafing run]] on a Soviet destroyer, suddenly finds himself having to dodge flying destroyer ''bits'' as an incoming [[{{BFG}} battleship-caliber salvo]] blasts the ship to pieces in his face.
* TankGoodness: The Battle of Wichita is explicitly said to be the SpiritualSuccessor of the Battle of Kursk.
* TookALevelInBadass: The Mexican army is laughably incompetent and easily thwarted during the first half of the war. As the tide turns and America starts forcing the [=ComBloc=] forces back to the Rio Grande, though, they're consistently described as "fighting like demons."
* UnfortunateNames: the [[Website/AlternateHistoryDotCom AH.com thread mentions]] a Soviet general by the name of "Yuri Jurkov." 'Nuff said.
* UnusualEuphemism: The "Gold List" of high-value enemy personnel who were to be turned over to "OGA" (read: Central Intelligence Agency); the Marines referred to this document as the [[FunWithAcronyms Special Human Intelligence Target]] List.
** A former OGA operator who assisted the re-formed Wolverines mentions that [[BigBad General Bratchenko]] had been on his "to-do list" before the Eckert brothers took him out.
* WarIsHell: Invoked in several pieces of fiction and many posts.
** One character recalls being under chemical & high explosive artillery bombardment (where even a minor shrapnel wound can be a death sentence)
** Many cases of witnessing (or, in one case, [[SlowlySlippingIntoEvil arguably committing]]) war crimes
** There are multiple stories of [[ShellShockedVeteran veterans trying to come home]]
** One story deals with a female POW's experience of torture (including rape).
* WartimeRomance: Several examples.
** One major example: a fighter pilot becomes romantically involved with his female back-seater; they marry after the war, and eventually command two different fighter wings (at the same time, no less) in the Air Force Reserve.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue:
** From [[Film/RedDawn1984 the original film]], Colonel Ernesto Bella defected to the United States a few months after the events of the movie and testified at various war crimes trials. Likewise, Wolverine veteran Erica Mason writes a memoir titled ''Red Storm: A Young Guerilla’s View of the Third World War'', serves as a Colorado state senator, and is elected Governor in 2010.
** The other Wolverine survivor, Danny, is not mentioned by name, but indirectly referenced as having returned to Calumet with several Green Beret and OGA advisers to reform the Wolverines as part of Operation Long Arm.
** Despite being an unwilling [[TheQuisling Quisling]], Mayor Bates and an unspecified number of other collaborators native to Calumet were killed by [[StateSec Black Operatives]]. The posters, particularly one of the aforementioned black operatives, show him NoSympathy. Admittedly, they had no way of knowing his reasons for collaborating.
** A Cuban officer nicknamed [[RedBaron the Grim Reaper]] and heavily implied to be Bella’s aide from the movie (“Seems he was a combat officer early in the war, but somehow his face and an RPG backblast got acquainted”) is tried for war crimes and not only shows no remorse, but actually ''brags'' about torturing prisoners (and raping the female ones). There is discussion as to whether he was always such a nasty bastard or if his injury made him that way.
* WorldOfBadass
** Considering they survived--AND WON--a war that started with a nuclear strike and reduced the American population by 13 million, yeah, they're going to be badasses.
** TruthInTelevision: In the 1980s, some teenage punks decided to go over to a mostly-[=WW2=]-era VFW post with the avowed purpose of "beating up the geezers." The punks ended up in the hospital with broken limbs, missing teeth, and one eye gouged out...by some guys who were collecting Social Security.
* WretchedHive: ''Most of China'' has become this, thanks to mass bombardment by nukes. Only Hong Kong, Macao, and two provinces across the sea from Taiwan are still ruled by any sort of authority, with the rest of the land under the control of bloodthirsty warlords and bandits ala ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}''. [[UsefulNotes/SuperiorFirepowerBombers Strategic Air Command]] has a [[NoKillLikeOverkill standing offer]] to the British forces in Hong Kong, just in case any of the warlords start getting uppity.
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