Connecting the Troopers of Today with the Veterans of Yesterday.
Hi, I was in Bravo company 501st Military Intelligence battalion "Nightstalkers" 17 Kilo (changed to 96 Romeo in '85) Ground Surveillance Radar. Our main billet was in Katterbach. Near the 1st AD headquarters in Ansbach. I was there from 83 - 86
We had a permanent 365 nights a year presence on the border. We spent (individually) between 30-45 days on Camp Pitman (Weiden) with the 1/1 Cav "Black Hawks," and covered from Pilsen, CZ south to the Austrian/Czech border. We traveled in 3 man teams with one man from the Cav units to provide the 4th man for rear security. We used 2 men in the vehicle that set up the radar, and the 3rd man (with the cav. guy) provided rear security and would run to the nearest town to perform our hourly check-in with "command central." We occasionally had our radios blocked by Elvis or polka music courtesy of the Czech / russian border units. During the summer, we used 2 jeeps, and in the winter, we used an M113 and a jeep. When we weren't on the border, we were being whored out to every armor/cav/mech infantry units that wanted us. And then there was Graf usually 2x a year. It seems that both times were in the winter. Graf is where I first saw an M113 APC leave the ground and fly, ala Fast & Furious. They came down a small hill hit a bump/rise/ piece of earth like a ramp?? Anyway, the track went airborne, just a couple of feet, but far enough that they landed almost flat in the pond that was there. I think it took them about 3 days to clean out the track. The open drivers hatch, TC cupola, and bay hatch all provided the large wave that came over the trim vane and covered everything inside in dirty-pond water. The only thing that was not covered in mud on the driver and TC (Sgt Jaime Nieves) was the area around their eyes when they removed their goggles.
I know that Tom Punjack and Dave Harmon were both in the 2nd Cav prior to hitting Bravo Co. late 70s to early 80s
Are there any other 17Kilos/96 Romeos out there?
The Grenze sign was from my very last mission on the border Oct 5th 1985. I walked up to the border Pissed on Czechoslovakia and then pulled out my kbar and cut it off of its pole.
Douglas, if you go on eBay these days there are lots of border signs and sections of border fence for sale. You can even get East German uniforms and equipment. Some of the stuff is going for quite a bit too.