My Favorite Characters
Posted: 20 September 2008 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Reported by Wes Eller.

Mad John
I remember when I first got to Rimbach, one of the MPs went by the name of Mad John. I believe his name was John Walters. Mad John was a resident of the Bird House (probably why his legend grew to such proportions). And in the Bird House residing with Mad John was his loyal and faithful dog, Spook. When I asked around to find out why they called him “Mad John” I was told because during full moons, Mad John and Spook could be found outside, howling at the moon. Some people may remember Mad John as the person who put a bullet hole in the floor of the guard shack while playing quick draw.

Spook, the Wonder Dog
And Spook, was there ever a more famous dog in Rimbach? Spook was purported to be a mix of German Shepherd and wolf and had many unique abilities besides howling at the moon with Mad John. While we would walk down the lane to catch the truck/bus, Spook would grab at your heels, often causing you to trip. He was a huge dog, but gentle, to human beings that is. Every once in a while, Spook would show up at the door with his coat bloody red. The Jägermeister would then show up at the door and warn Mad John that if Spook killed one more deer, he would be put to sleep. Somehow Spook must have understood, because he developed a taste for chicken. It wasn’t unheard of for residents of Lichteneck and Rimbach to wind up missing a chicken or two at morning roll call. His ultimate fall from grace came when the I.G. (or some other big shot) came to town, only to be greeted on the front step of the Silberbauer by Spook holding the Burgermeister’s half-eaten chicken in his mouth. Spook was a dog about town and sired many a Gl’s pet. Barry Beith had one, Harvey Saulmon, and I believe Brad Roberts did, too. After Mad John left, Eric Nartic adopted Spook and had him neutered.

George Beattie
George Hamilton Beattie III – The ASA motto was “Always Vigilant.” “Eller,” Beattie would always admonish me, “Just remember that vigilance is the price of paranoia.” My favorite GHB III stories came out of DLIWC, Monterey, where he led a candlelight/flashlight vigil in the latrine for an 87-year-old Monterey schoolteacher who had passed away. Or even better, the time he stood a formal inspection proudly sporting a pair of Pan Am Jr. Pilot wings on his dress blues.

Don Orgel
Dan Hagy got part of the Don Orgel story right, but he didn’t do Don justice. Don was more the “a rather hefty GI.” Don had been an interior lineman for the University of Iowa football team and just plain didn’t like the French. After a few drinks, Don would challenge any new person coming into the Ratskeller with “Parlez vous Francais?” If the answer was no, Don would resume his consumption of an adult beverage. If the answer were “oui,” the person would immediately take up astronomy as a hobby, after which Don would return to consuming his adult beverage.

Events: Dinner at the Bird House
The notorious Bird House did indeed have a degree of civility. About once a week, someone would attempt to make a meal, at which we would all sit down and try to remember/practice up on table manners. On the particular night I remember, Ron Bell was the chef of the evening, and had prepared his usual excellent meal, including strawberry shortcake, with fresh strawberries as dessert. Whilst bringing the meal to the table, Mike Basileo made a comment about Ron’s culinary abilities which somewhat displeased Ron. Shortly thereafter, Mike was sporting a shiny new saucepan complete with string beans atop his head. The food fight that ensued lasted about 15 minutes with no winner declared. I really didn’t realize how badly strawberries stained until we tried to clean up the walls. We spent the next three days repainting the Bird House, top to bottom.

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6913th Security Squadron USAF
Rimbach, West Germany
1974-1975

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