A Rimbacher’s Story
Posted: 20 September 2008 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1438
Joined  2008-08-18

Reported by Chuck Ryan.

I was stationed at Det K (Hoherbogen (HB)) in 1965, 1966 and 1 month in 1967 prior to my rotation/ETS in June 67. My recollection is that it was called Det K even in 1965—like about August of 1965. Also, no one was stationed year-round in HB while I was in Germany—through June 67, although there had been lots of talk about doing just that.

At that time, all troops lived in one of about four different buildings in Rimbach, the most “infamous” was that of Silberbauer’s. In 1966, a second “hotel” was built where I was fortunate enough to get assigned. That hotel now has a woodcarving retail store in the front of it (as of Oct, 1998) so I almost didn’t recognize it. A few guys had their assignments in private homes, but only because of overflow. There were no women assigned at that time—there were no women linguists at all at that time that I am aware of. The duty station was only for single or unaccompanied men.

In 1965, we had one operations van (long trailer), one admin van (another long trailer), another van for the three Air Force guys to use built on a ¾-ton truck. There was one zoomie per shift and they didn’t cover the midshift, so sometimes there were two guys on duty. Another ¾-ton provided commo and a third was used for ELINT. In addition there was one long van for maintenance. The guard (there were four of them, one for each shift) had his little guard shack. In 1966, it was pretty much the same but the AF truck was a 2½-ton. We also had one or two jeeps and some ¾-tons to drive us up the hill.

I remember all too well carrying jerry cans of water and diesel fuel, but in all honesty I do not recall any shit burning details at all. I know that something must have been done with the waste, but I have no idea what.
Some people also claim to have been able to see the lights of Prague and Plzen from HB, but I don’t think they could see them from the site itself. It may be possible to see Plzen’s lights (it’s at least 30 kilometers away and behind a range of hills), but neither Prague nor Plzen have much of a glow at night, even today. I do believe, however, that the site we used in 1965 was different than the more permanent site that came afterwards. We were only a couple hundred yards (if that much) from the Haus Schönblick. We were not able to see the German site at all from where we were.

If I remember correctly, we had a master sergeant as Det commander in 1965, although naturally we reported to a captain at Herzo base. Being very anti-military at the time, I honestly cannot remember which officer that was. In 1966, Captain O’Brien was the company commander for Company A, who “owned” HB.

One thing I remember vividly was doing the courier runs from HB to Herzo base. At least one E5 had to go on the run because of TS material, and you had to carry a carbine. We also carried .45 pistols. I was absolutely terrified of carrying one. I didn’t qualify on the .45 until almost 1 year after I started carrying it on the runs. Even then I never hit the target! There were at least 20 of us that “qualified” with me—several of us from HB, others from Schneeberg and some from Herzo. We used the same 5-inch square paper target for all of us to qualify. We each fired one magazine (I think 5 or 6 rounds) and the target was still pristine when all of us had finished. It didn’t give me much cause for joy on the courier runs to know I was armed with a .45!

Despite the guns, volunteering for courier duty was OK because you got to have hamburgers, etc. at Herzo. Even a meal in the cafeteria was good because it was so different from being at HB (although none of us would have ever traded). Aside from Amberg, that was also the only PX we had. For that matter, we didn’t have a Class VI either. I still remember that one of the “landmarks” on our way to/from Herzo was a Nike battery and the white rockets on their launchers.

We also did not receive foreign duty pay in 1965, but we did in 1966. I have no idea why one year and not the other.

We were there from second week of May to mid/late September. Both before and after HB, troops were assigned to getting the vehicles either prepared or cleaned up. That took about two weeks before going to HB and about one week after coming back. Most of the linguists were then reassigned to Schneeberg for the winter. Only married linguists stayed at Herzo! (Actually there were a couple of single guys who were assigned there for various reasons. Even I ended up there for the winter of 66/67 because I was on flight status flying in the Caribou doing ELINT reconn missions a couple of times a month).

In September of 1966, a bunch of us 98G-CZ were pulled out of HB with a contingent of weeds and sent to Det X in Mauth (down in the corner of Austria, Czech, and Germany) near Passau. Aside from my one month in 1967 at HB, that was the last of my outpost duty.

At the time, I loved being in Germany and hated the military. But I sure owe the military for the people and places and actions I remember so fondly today.


6913th Security Squadron USAF
Rimbach, West Germany

‹‹ My Favorite Characters      The Acid Test ››