Summer Memories, Part II
Posted: 20 September 2008 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1438
Joined  2008-08-18

Reported by Ed Sachnik, 1963-64.

Continued From Previous Post »

The van came back for a return engagement the following year. I don’t remember which year it was, but we had a special antenna that was like serial No. 1 or 2 from Vint Hill Farms. It was in enormous plywood packing boxes. When we unpacked it, we found it all full of sand. They never did get that to work either! We had a manufacturer’s rep build one out of aluminum tubing, plastic and rope. We would change the polarity by pulling or dropping the rope. It was great!

In ‘64 things were a lot more strict. Knabel was gone. The drunks were gone, too, for the most part. I didn’t get there until several weeks after the site was set up, but I made it. We were still on generators and in huts and vans that year. Our sergeant was Sgt. Phelps. He had been a class behind us in Monterey. He had been a Polish Mary and took a second trip around as a Czech Mary. Dave Jackson was his assistant for want of a better term.

That year I started out at a house on the right side of the street a block or so from the Silberbauers. I then moved up to the Kassel’s where I had the pleasure of rooming with Dave Hubbard. Frau Kassel was very nice. Every Sunday when the bakery was closed she made a special Kuchen for us to have for breakfast.

That summer they had us get ready for an IG inspection. Can you imagine a full field layout on a Gasthaus bed!. Our commanding officer was Captain Harris. I remember him as a thin wiry person, complete with swagger stick. Drove a Pontiac Grand Prix as I remember.

That year I had my VW purchased on the savings of the previous summer’s $7.50 a day subsistence allowance. I was very mobile that year.

There had been a restaurant built on the hill that year. Oftentimes we would have to encourage the tourists to wander some other than through the site. One morning when I was on mids I had knock at the van. The woman who worked at the cafe had cut her finger and came to her neighbor’s looking for a Band-Aid!

We had a rule that we weren’t suppose to drink within 8 hours of going on duty. This was not always the case… One night we went up the hill with a young commo person who had not quite met that requirement. That happened to be the night that there was some info that was very important that it be sent in. When we got up the hill, there was no coffee made. The key to the commo hut was misplaced or something like that. I was trick chief as it turned out. I told Al Hagen who was the voice operator to let the operator sleep in the aisle between the racks until the coffee was made, then wake him, give him some coffee, and send him on his way. I then went to the hut that was backed up to the van and started driving the mill. Next thing I know, I see Hagen pushing the commo guy backwards up at the far end of the van. I took off my earphones and went to see what was going on. The commo operator had pissed into the typewriter we had sitting at the front of the van! Oh, hell, what to do??? We tried to clean off the typewriter as best we could. I knew I had to say something to Sgt. Phelps because I was afraid we couldn’t hide the smell. So we sent the commo guy on to his hut and I guess he got the commo off for the night.

The next morning, I took the dispatches in the jeep down the hill. The jeep decided to lose its clutch that morning. So I nursed it down the 19-percent grade to the bottom of Hoherbogen. I almost made it into town, but the rise on the main road was just a little too much to get the jeep to the crest. It would be downhill the rest of the way. There was a woman who came out to put milk out for the milk truck. I tried to get her to understand that I needed to use the phone. But she refused to understand my German. And I knew Fernsprecher and Telefon by that time.

So I walked on down the hill with the dispatches and my rifle slung on my shoulder. I was only half an hour late. Dave Jackson wanted to know what took so @*#&$^ long!

I told Phelps what happened up the hill. He said absolutely nothing. Well, he reported it in to Herzo Base. The poor commo guy (name withheld until I know where this is going) got a Court Marshal. Capt. McCullough, of the 182nd, if I remember right. The SP4 got busted, fined $90, and restricted to base for a month or so. The adjutant set aside the bust and the fine. A week or so later they needed a commo person at Coburg and out he went.
When we went back to Herzo in September, I happened to run into him in the snack bar. I was afraid he would be mad, but it must have done him some good. He had decided to get out of the Army and was applying to his tribe (he was an Indian) for a college scholarship. I hope he’s still doing well.
We left the site in early September in ‘64. Before the annual Church feast. Frau Kassel was very disappointed. She had planned to celebrate with us. So she fixed us a special meal. I remember roast goose quarters, red cabbage and I don’t know what else.

I took my discharge in Europe. Made it back to Rimbach in February ‘65. Had a cold. Mutti laced me with wine, put me to bed, and nursed me back to health. I never did get Rudi his Prince Albert.

Those were good memories.


6913th Security Squadron USAF
Rimbach, West Germany