Connecting the Troopers of Today with the Veterans of Yesterday.
PFC Langevin and I were road testing a 151 we had just serviced. wheel bearings packed, all oil/grease points hit etc. it was a beautiful day and we just wanted to get off Camp May for a little bit. no sooner had we got onto the bundestrasse when the hood (which we had forgotten to latch) flew up and the rolled up excess strap that secured the c-rations to the hood smashed a hole in the windshield.
knowing that SSG Trombley was a total DICK who wold love nothing more then to write up a statement of charges on us, we slid the excess strap around to the front edge of the c-rats, found a rock of approximate size, and claimed that a passing dumptruck had kicked it up into the windshield.
SSG Trombley didn't buy it for second, but he couldn't prove otherwise. Lange and i skated that time.
This is more like a Border Iniation story...July 1988, I became a member of B-Trp, 3 rd platoon scouts.November/December rolls around and we get border duty at Camp Gates...... Ya'll old border dogs know what happens to the border pups, took three weeks of duty but another pup and I were descended upon by two platoons of scouts ( 1st and 3rd ). Redbellies with flipflops, shocks with a TA-312, as well as kiwi shoepolish from head to toe with a shaving creme topper. Then I was thrown into a 4 foot snowbank naked, except for kiwi and shaving cream, and had to circle the barracks, Hazing my ass, I now belonged and shame on the new cruits I got to play with.....Became a border dog that day and wound up being in the SOC. Still got pics, LOL.........Oh and TOP got pissed cause we woke him up!
It was a holiday, I think Christmas Eve. A party was planned at the border camp for the wives and kids of the troopers working up on the border. A selected group of us were hand selected to work the OPs in our sector, because we weren't married, or had kids overseas with us, so we could miss the nice dinner. I was sent to the OP in Furthimwald with two other guys to start our Christmas border surveillance.
Shortly after we settled in we decided to make an end-run to a butcher shop down in Furthimwald which was still open for another hour or so, to buy some roaster chickens that had been turning in the window when we went past; screw the c-rations, it's Christmas! Myself and another trooper grabbed a border jeep and shot down the road to snatch a couple of birds and anything else that looked like it would go good with them.
My partner in crime ran into the butcher shop to get the goodies, while I sat outside in the jeep. Just as he jumped into the jeep with the bags of goodies and we started to pull out to start back to the OP, we passed our Troop Captain, Captain Baird in his personal owned vehicle a Porsche with the green tags. Seeing the jeep, he stopped … we didn’t!
We took off up the hill in that four-wheel drive buggy just as fast as that little vehicle would go trying to get to the OP before him. Upon arrival, I popped open the hood and we started to shovel snow all over the engines and tailpipe just in case he checked them, which he didn’t, then we stashed the chicken and waited.
He showed up a short time later and questioned us briefly about being in town, which we vehemently denied and blamed on another unit from another squadron, (sorry) and then gave us our Christmas presents? Yep the good Captain came all that way up to our OP to give us little c-ration boxes all wrapped in Christmas paper.
He thought it would be funny, we didn’t, but we laughed anyway and then after he left we pulled out our roast chicken dinners and enjoyed our own little Christmas celebration, after of course we reported him to the ZOLL for being in the 5-K Zone with a civilian vehicle and green tags. Now we thought that was funny … Merry Christmas Captain Baird…
So, I'm in a bush, on Border Patrol laying down on my belly, somewhere outside of Hof with a PRC-77 on my back. They radio me, saying the C.O. is gonna be at my position in a couple of minutes, right behind me! I'm figuring about 400 meters,"right behind me"! Well as I crawl backwards out of the brush and stand up~ Bamm! There's the C.O. and this guy in a pollo shirt and one of those black Navy baseball caps with gold letters and some ships U.S.Navy emblem on it! The Captain says, Hey "Joe", this is my uncle Tom. He wants to ask you a few questions... So, I'm answering all these questions...still a little rattled as to why they are actually here and the fact that I almost shot them as I turned around from my position and they were actually 10 feet from me! Thought I really was gonna shoot the SOB's! Years go by and one day I'm in a bookstore and come across a book, "Armored Cav". I notice 2nd ACR in it, some pictures and references of Capt.Toby Martinez. I read a little more... things are getting a little familiar here... I look at the back cover and there's a picture of the Author in a black Navy Baseball cap! That was the guy with the C.O. on the Border!
So, if anyone runs into Uncle Tom... Tell him I'm glad I didn't shoot em' ! I really enjoyed "The Hunt for Red October"!
Great story, Joe. I've got a couple copies of "Armored Cav" sitting on my bookshelf.