Dragoon Base

Connecting the Troopers of Today with the Veterans of Yesterday.

When I arrived at Amberg in 1987, I was told that one of the news agencies had done a story on Pond Barracks because of prior rampant drug use and out of control behavior. They named our post "The Armpit of the Army" because of this. Has anyone else heard this story and does anyone have any information on the validity of it? Thanks

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I heard it from another vet just a few years ago. He called the 2nd a "rogues gallery". There were no drugs in my time but there sure were a lot of alcoholics. 

When I arrived in Amberg I was 18 years old.  I was assigned to K-Trp, 1st Platoon, Scout Section.  My roommates were William "Wild Bill" Collier, Carl Powell, Frazier (discharged for drug use), and Leach (went on emergency leave to Chicago and never came back).  I went through a pretty tough initiation that involved a bunch of Jack Daniels.  I realized that this was going to be an interesting 3 years (later shortened to 2 by the DOD).  Wild Bill was my homey and he took me under his wing during in processing.  He told not to fall for peer pressure and who to hang with and who to stay away from.  Drugs were available along with tons of alcohol.  Young men under pressure tend to blow off a lot of steam as we are all aware.  I was never pressed to do anything I didn't want to do and drinking and picking up smoking cigarettes was my choice.  I stayed away from drugs but I did enjoy a good night on the town letting the girls chase me!  LOL I had barely drawn my TA-50 when we left for a border tour at Camp May.  We left Camp May straight for Reforger 80 and I was assigned to drive a gun jeep.  I had never driven a jeep but in the 2nd Cav you had to learn fast.  We smoked the 3rd ID's ass and the Dueller's tactics caught lots of attention.  On a night railhead from Reforger one of our tanks behind my gun jeep erupted in flames.  The antenna had touched a power light and set off some rounds.  I saw my brothers in action during an emergency and was impressed.  We extinguished the flames and tended to the crew, SFC Parret, SGT Baker, Sp4 Ganeshow and PFC Smith. Smith wasn't injured because he somehow exit out of the top of the drivers hatch with the main gun in travel lock.  He said he forgot about the escape hatch!  The rest of the crew received burns and shrapnel injuries.  When we rolled into Amberg the windows rattled and power sliding a M113 is in my blood.  I can still hear the sound of M60's shifting from low to high and the massive power in our hands was amazing for a young man to digest.  When we finally got an instant of downtime we were like caged men set free and drugs, booze, women and fighting were common.  Many of our NCO's were combat vets and they knew their jobs.  Garrison was tough for them but in the field they were 2nd to none.  I arrived in Amberg a PVT/E-1 and left a SGT/E-5.  I credit this to SSG David Thacker who was the best NCO I have ever known.  He just couldn't keep a grip on his stripes!  I PCS'ed to the real armpit of the Army....the 194th Slave Brigade at Ft Knox.  PVT's in the 2nd Cav knew more than most of the NCO's there.  It was a suck pit and turned me against re enlistment.

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8th Colonel of the Regiment Nelson B. Sweitzer 9 Jun 1886 – 29 Oct 1888

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