Museum of the American Military Family was on “Legendary New Mexico”

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It’s My Birthday!

The O-Fest opened on my birthday in 1976. A large contingent of Bouvier residents, among others, gathered at the 51 bus stop early in the day, and we all rode downtown together. I remember (and don’t remember) viele Maßkrüge set in front of me throughout the day, and, in true Terrapin fashion, just drank and drank. At dusk it was time to leave and I was still there, alone, with two full Maß on the table. So, despite the potential 15DM (I think) fine, I walked out with beers in hand.

Stumbling around somewhere under the tree-lined sidewalks around St. Paul’s Church, I encountered two Polizei coming toward me armed with submachine guns. When I was directly in front of them, they crossed their guns to stop me and simply said, “Ausweis”.

I couldn’t reach into my pocket, so I handed the full mugs to them. As they dropped their guns, I said, “Heute ist mein Geburtstag!”(today is my birthday) and fumbled for my wallet. One officer read my ID with a flashlight and said, “stimmt so!”. They clinked mugs, said Prost!, took a drink, then handed the Maßkrüge back to me, and walked on.

I woke up in the back of a Strassenbahn somewhere in Harlaching.

David T. Scott, 1976-1977

  • From the book, Eins, Zwei, G’Suffa: Munich Campus Memories

Gatun, Panama

13923601_10153841336875983_316780512139888230_o(1)My third grade elementary school in Gatun, Panama 1941. Ms. Fall was my favorite teacher ever. When I revisited in 2003, this building had been removed. The teaching mode was very positive and the classrooms were designed to provide a maximum amount of personal space. A canvas back army truck brought us to school from nearby Fort Davis. It was so close to the Panama Canal that you could easily see the large ships passing through. Because of our proximity to the canal, and that we were on top of a hill, we made a perfect target for the expected Japanese attack at the beginning of World War 2. Ms. Fall explained that the planes could shoot right through the windows. We had daily drills to flop to the floor and roll under our desks. My family was sent back to the States in February of 1941 and the remainder of my third grade just sort of disappeared.


—Hudson Phillips

The Ethiopian Caper

13698272_1215519828468327_1746353038570902356_oBy Kim Medders

In the summer of 1963 my family began probably our brat greatest adventure, our trek to Ethiopia, Africa. This excerpt continues from an earlier one where I described our trip to Asmara from Germany through Greece and Egypt.

We arrived at the Asmara airport and deplaned. Mr. Marshall, the principal of our new school, picked us up. We drove to the Army base, and Mr. Marshall dropped us off at the BOQ (Bachelor’s Officers Quarters) where we cleaned up and rested for the night. The next day we breakfasted at the Officer’s Club and met up Mr. Marshall. He showed us around the Army base a little. He showed us the school, movie theater, PX, commissary, swimming pool before driving us through the main gate. Mr. Marshall drove down a street and turned right. He followed that street down and hung a left on a dirt street with gated houses on either side. He stopped in front of the last one on the left end of the street where a little Ethiopian girl was standing. As we got out of the car, the girl squatted and took a dump next to the wall. This was to be our home for the next year.

I thought, “Wow, what a country! You can go to the bathroom wherever you want!” We entered through a locked gate. The front of the compound had a wall, walk in gate and a car gate with metal spikes on top. The walls on the sides and back were over ten feet tall and had a combination of barbed wire and broken glass embedded in it. Mr. Marshall told dad it was to protect us from the Shiftis (outlaws) and that we needed to hire a night guard also. The house was painted a salmon pink and sea foam green, and had black stones used to form pillars and accent the building. There was little grass or greenery except in the backyard, and had gravel rock driveway leading to a garage and maid’s room.

The place seemed large except it was only a two bedroom home. There was a living room with a fireplace, not that we used it ever because of the heat. Off the living room was a large dining room and a nice sized kitchen. On the other side of the house were the two bedrooms with a full bathroom in between. Eric, Els and I slept in the same room that year. I was a little pissed at that because I’d always had my own room and couldn’t understand why we couldn’t have base housing. Still, living in Asmara was pretty cool. Read the rest of this entry »

From the Bavarian Terrapin 1953-54

books 9 books 10

Moving to Africa

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 8.08.05 AMby Kim Medders

We were stationed in Hohenfels, Germany, a small military training base in 1963 when the chance to go to Africa happened along. Dad had been the teacher /principal of the small school there, and was certain he wanted to a full-time principal. With the urging of his boss and friend Roy Kilkenny, he had decided to go back to college and get his Masters degree and Administrative Credential. In order to have enough money, mom needed to work teaching too. Due to nepotism rules she couldn’t teach at a school that dad was the principal. The only way they could do that is find a school that would accept them both. The school at Kagnew Station in Asmara, Ethiopia (now Eritrea) was the only available place that would take them.

As the school year ended in Hohenfels, we began preparing for another move and another school. Asmara would be my fourth school change since Kindergarten. Part of the prep was getting every shot known to mankind. I hated shots almost as much as I hated school! It became a real chore taking me down every few days to get another round of inoculations. I would squirm, jump, run and hide until one Army medic hit on an idea. In the course of trying to calm me down, he found out I liked cowboy movies. He got up and went over to the tongue depressor jar and fished a couple out. He then wrapped them together with some white tape and handed it to me. He said, “Why don’t you use this to help you. Ya know, when cowboys get shot, the doctor gives him a bite block for when he digs the bullet out. I think you, being a cowboy and all need a bite block of your own.” I put it in my mouth and steeled my resolve to be more cowboy-like. He shoved the needle in my arm and I bit down…it worked! I kept that bite block for many years to come. Read the rest of this entry »

I was blind, and now I see

Tim Craig

I grew up a military brat, in playgrounds and schools on Army bases all over the world, with children of every nationality, every color & creed, every race & religion, in a musical theater family, performing arts, and concerts, and shows in playhouses all over the country, where all the kooky, crazy, misfits go to be themselves. I was hopeless. I was destined to grow up color-blind. I couldn’t tell one color from the next, there were too many of them to count! I thought “normal” meant to be unique & different, and the more eclectic & eccentric the person, the cooler they were to me?

I remember the very day my father tried to take my blindfold off, as if it were only yesterday. It was 1976, I was 11 years old, living on an Army base in Wurzburg, Germany, and my father had received his orders to transfer to Ft Bragg Army base in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It’s a day that will be forever stuck in my social memory. He sat my sister and I down in the living room, and began to tell us about what it’s going to be like moving to the “South” in 1976. He showed us tapes of the Martin Luther King riots where people were yelling and fighting, police dogs were attacking people, and there were fire hoses being sprayed on women and children. I was so confused and I didn’t understand. I asked him why they were doing it? His answer was only that because they were “different”. I was too young to understand racism, or discrimination, or the civil rights movement, and I was certainly never exposed to anything like that growing up? So, I just put my blindfold back on and forgot all about it, as if I had never been told.

We moved to Ft Bragg in 1977, and I was right back in my comfort zone, living in Normandy Heights on Ft Bragg Army base, back in the schools, and the playgrounds, and the DYA, and playing sports on another military installation, surrounded by kids of every color & creed again. Finishing the 6th grade at Bowley Elementary School, then 7th & 8th grade at Irwin Jr High School, right on the base as usual. Nothing had changed? All was the same! So, I quickly forgot everything my father had tried to warn me about, had tried to prepare me for, and with my blindfold tightly fashioned over my eyes, I went on to public school at Reid Ross High School, in Fayetteville, and off the sheltered facade of military base living and growing up with other Army brats of every color and creed, from all walks of life. You would think this is where my blindfold fell off, but you would be wrong. Read the rest of this entry »