Dad’s Time in Service 1955-56 Pt. 03

November 11th, 2023 Comments Off on Dad’s Time in Service 1955-56 Pt. 03

Part 03

Okay, you were talking about Sam Houston. Any other stories from there?

I didn’t get to do too many things in San Antonio. We did go in, and I went on the Riverwalk, as it was there. Went to the zoo, sat on an alligator or crocodile.

The officers, others made money off the enlisted men who wanted, especially the recruits and young soldiers. The nurses there at Brook Army Medical Center would get a three day pass, and they’d drive you down to El Paso, and you could go into Mexico. I put in for a three day pass to go to Mexico. A
couple of other guys did too that I kind of chummed with. Then, there was a guy there from Des Moines. He was soliciting people to go on this three-day pass, three-day weekend back to Des Moines. I decided I wanted to go with him.

I got up a day before we were to leave, and my three day pass was yanked, and I was put on duty, and I didn’t get to do either one. That was basically it with San Antonio.

I was at Madigan twice. Once as on the job training, and then once on temporary duty. I can’t separate the things there. One of those times, they kept putting me on weekend duty, so I had to work on Sundays. They assigned me to take this one guy to Mass. I did this for two or three weeks. I finally said, why am I? “Well, you’re Catholic, aren’t you?” I said, no. They said, “We thought you were Catholic.” I didn’t know how they got that idea.

One of the guys on the psychiatric ward kept propositioning the nurses. Finally, one of the nurses told him to go over in the corner and take care of himself. Then, one ward … There was three wards. I worked on one of them most of the time. One Sunday they called me over to the women’s ward. Some women were service personnel, and some of them were dependents, wives of service personnel. They called me over to the women’s ward, they needed help.

This one woman, who was a dependent, she had completely undressed herself, called herself the Virgin Mary, and was ranting, and raving, and flailing her arms. They wanted to give her shock treatment, so we had to hold her down. I was stationed to hold down her left leg. After it was over with, they said, “Now
you can tell your wife about this.” I said, I’m not married. They were not supposed to bring unmarried men into the women’s ward.

When I left Madigan the first time, I flew home, and that’s when I started going with your mother. I mean, regularly going with her. In April 54.

She was in high school?

She was still in high school. She didn’t graduate until January 55.

I went back to Fort Lewis. I told you about going out on maneuvers. Well, there’s an interesting story about that.

When we got back from the maneuvers, we were told that we were going to have an Inspector General inspection, that we were going to have to lay all of our equipment, and open our lockers, lay all of our things out. Not our uniforms, but things on our bed that we kept in our foot locker. They were going to
check everything so that you had every issue item that they issued you.

Well, I got back there, and they had issued me four khaki uniforms. I only had three pairs of pants. I had them when I was on leave in Des Moines, I had them when I went out to Yakima, but I didn’t have them when I came back. I ran over to the PX, and got another pair of khakis. I didn’t wear them much, so I would have full … Didn’t think anything about it until after I got out of the service, got married, went back to college in Cedar Falls.

We were home one weekend, and staying at your mother’s grandmother, Gert, staying at her house. A knock came on the door. It was two detectives from Des Moines. They asked me about if I had lost a pair of khakis. I said, yes, I did. I explained what happened. All of your uniforms had to have stamped in them …
Mine was D0949, which was the last four letters of my serial number, the D for Delk. They had found, in New York City, a pair of my khakis that a guy had worn when he murdered a doctor. There were my khakis, with my serial number in them. Thank God I had a lot of- witnesses. that I was nowhere near New York at that time. That was an interesting sideline.

At that time, Seattle was in the Pacific Coast league of baseball. I went to Seattle, to a baseball game.

One of the guys I chummed around with, his name was Richard Grant, from Spokane. His mother came over one weekend, and we drove up on Mount Rainier.

Then, there was another fellow that we chummed around with, his name … I can’t remember his first name, but his last name was Quinn. He was from Oregon, from Salem, Oregon. His family had a cabin down by Seaside, on the Pacific Ocean. We drove down there on a three-day pass. Stopped in Salem,
got the keys, and went down to Seaside, and spent a weekend at the beach. That was interesting.

Between Tacoma, Washington and Seattle, there’s a town by the name of Des Moines. It has a really nice beach, or it did at that time. I spent, two or three times, went up to the beach there. I was having off duty time.

Then, when I was deployed to go overseas, I was given leave. That was in November 54. I came home to Des Moines. Your mother and I got engaged. After I spent time in Des Moines, I flew from Des Moines to Detroit, and Detroit to Washington, DC. After we left Detroit, going over Lake Erie, the plane hit an air pocket and [inaudible 00:13:33]. I didn’t lose it, but there were a lot of people in that plane that were close to losing it.

We went to DC then, because of Ed and Barb being there. I wanted to rub it into Ed, because he wanted to go overseas and he didn’t get to. He then drove me up to Fort Nix, New Jersey, where I a couple days was there. Then, boarded a troop transport to go to Germany.

The first day out at sea, everybody was regurgitating their food. I was told before by somebody, and I don’t know who it was, don’t eat. If you do eat, very little. Before I got on the ship, I only had snacks for
about a half a day. Then, after I got on the ship, I did not go to mess hall the first two times that they had it. I didn’t ever have a problem. Because I didn’t have a problem, I was probably going to get assigned to clean up.

Another person told me, “Stay far away from your bunk as you can, all the time because they’ll come by and assign you to duty.”

I would go up and wander around on deck during the daytime hours as much as possible. They would come by and say, “Get back to your bunks.” We’d get up, and move, and move to another place on the deck. I avoided the duty there. This was 1954.

When we got to the English Channel, we had to stop and have an English Captain come out to the ship, and take it through the English Channel. There was still mines. They’d cleared a path, and he knew how to get through it. We went through it, it was easy.

Once you got through the English Channel, then you had to make a right hand turn in the North Sea. The ship started going like this. Everybody got sick again, including myself abit. I did not vomit. We went into the port of Bremerhaven in Germany.

In Bremerhaven, we immediately got on a train. It took us South to a place called [Kaiserslautern 00:17:45]. It’s on the Eastern part, central, east of Manheim and Heidelberg. There, I don’t remember how long I was there, but I was sent immediately, and on a truck, to [Schabisch Gmund 00:18:19], to the Ninth Medical Battalion, stationed at [Heart Kasernee 00:18:27] in Schabisch Gmund.

Germans didn’t have big forts like we had. Almost every town of any size had a Kaserne in it, which the ones I was familiar with had four buildings for barracks, one gymnasium, one mess hall, and other things in it.

Heart Kaserne was actually outside of Schabisch Gmund. Schabisch Gmund is in the Schabisch Alps, they’re foothills to the regular Alps. So, they had a Kaserne right in town. I’m not sure what it’s name was. Then, you had to drive out and up a pretty steep incline to get to Heart Kaserne. I did not know it until I recently looked Heart Kaserne up on the Internet, that it’s original name was Hitler Kaserne. They never told us that.

I got assigned to the Ninth Medical Battalion, and we had two of the four barracks. Field artillery battalion had the other two, then there were buildings that were lower buildings. The barrack buildings were actually, not counting the basement, five levels. The first three levels were all sleeping rooms. Then, the next level up was, I assume, it was for equipment storage, training classes, and that kind of thing. That’s what we used it for. Then, there was another level up that was in the peak. There were machine gun nests, three on each side of the roof.

On the first floor was what was called the Ambulance Company. I’m sorry, the Headquarters Company of the Medical Battalion. The second floor was the Clearing Company, and that’s the MASH unit. The third floor was the Ambulance Company, and they were the ambulance drivers that brought wounded back to the Clearing Company.

On the other side, across the parade field, we had two buildings facing each other. It was our headquarters. Not the headquarters where they slept, but the headquarters where the headquarters people worked. That’s where our Battalion Commander’s office was. I very seldom saw him. He was short, and fat, and not very sociable.

I can tell you need a drink.

Did you stay in contact with anyone?


Did you stay in contact with anyone after you got out?

No. I tried to.

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