BERLIN BRATS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BUY A SECTION OF THE BERLIN WALL

From the AOSHS’ archive:

By Rob Ahrens, Berlin American High School, Class of 1987

SUMMER 2005

The Berlin Brats are pleased to announce the acquisition of a section of the Berlin Wall… and¬ not just some piece of concrete that was scrounged from some construction site, slapped with a little paint, and sold for 10 Euros by a shady Romanian street vendor in Berlin; but an honest-to-goodness real-life section of the Wall itself!

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How this came to pass is a tale of intrigue that crosses borders, nationalities, and history. Or so we like to think.

Everyone is (or should be) familiar with eBay, the online auction site where you can buy anything from jewelry to grilled cheese sandwiches bearing the image of the Virgin Mary. Not too long ago, an entire section of the Berlin Wall went up for auction on eBay, complete with photographs that appeared to be authentic.

This was brought to the attention of Jeri (Polansky) Glass ’72, the director of the Berlin Brats, by the President of the Stuttgart Alumni Association, Patricia Hein. Jeri thought this might be something that the ‘Brats’ would want to acquire, and threw the idea out to the Class Contacts. After some lively discussion via email, the consensus was, should the artifact prove to be authentic, purchasing the relic would be a good use of Berlin Brats funds. Further, everyone agreed we should donate it to the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) Archives & Museum, currently securing funds for construction in Wichita, Kansas.

A crack team of Historical Artifact Research, Acquisition and Study Specialists (HARASS) was assembled, led by the dashingly handsome Rob Ahrens ’87. The plan had a two-pronged approach: First, verify the authenticity of the section, and second, work with the seller on buying the piece and transferring it to ‘Brat’ control.

Carl Marvin ’87 was tapped to handle the eBay portion of the transaction, to include contacting the seller. Carl seemed appropriate because of his history of significant sales and purchases on eBay, and he looks really cool driving around in his armored Hummer. Carl contacted the seller, and got the story of this section of Berlin Wall.

Tom, the gentleman selling the piece, owned a health club in the Washington D.C. area in the early ’90’s. As many of us know, D.C. is a schmoozing, networking kind of town, and through his club, the Tom met many interesting characters. Among his clientele was a Russian Importer/ Exporter (cue spy music now). A friendship developed between the two. Somehow, the Russian (let’s call him Vladimir) managed to get his hands on 4 whole sections of the Wall. How he did this is anyone’s guess. For reasons unclear, Vladimir offered Tom one of the slabs, and Tom accepted.

Vladimir had the artifacts shipped over with other items he was importing… we’re not sure if those other items were vodka, stacking dolls, brides, or a combination of all three. Two of the four pieces were unfortunately destroyed in shipment, Vladimir kept one, and the fourth went to Tom. (A note that lends credibility to the story: due to high asbestos content of the concrete, Customs would not release the sections until they were sprayed with a concrete sealant, an issue that has been independently verified). Upon receipt of his section, Tom immediately put it in a public storage facility in Rockville, Maryland. Documentation provided by Tom has verified the date of the relic’s arrival at the storage center. Read the rest of this entry »


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 9, 2015

 

For Additional Informationlogo copy

Dr. Allen Dale Olson

militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net

(505) 400-3849

 

MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY & LEARNING CENTER (MAMF) LOCATES AT BATAAN MILITARY ACADEMY (BMA)

 

Groups Call Move a “Good Fit”

 

Albuquerque, NM – An Albuquerque charter school has just joined forces with the only museum in the country dedicated to the collection and preservation of the stories, documents, and artifacts of America’s military families. Both the Bataan Military Academy Charter School (BMA) and the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) have moved into 5555 McLeod Boulevard NE, Albuquerque.

BMA serves grades nine through twelve, meets U.S. Navy standards in curriculum and in Naval sciences, including standards in physical fitness and in honoring traditional Naval standards. The school is in partnership with parents, teachers, military organizations, and with the military services. Principal, “Captain” Jan Zink, works closely with the Academy’s Board of Governors, chaired by Dr. Alan Holmquist.

BMA students are cadets grouped as in a military organization and follow the rank structure of the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Corps (NJROTC). In addition to traditional high school activities and sports, BMA cadets also form color guards, drill teams, and rifle teams. The school is named for the 70,000 soldiers and sailors forced to surrender on Luzon in 1942, some 70,000 of whom died during the infamous “Bataan Death March.” Many of those who died were from New Mexico. Annually BMA cadets simulate that march in a 26-mile hike at White Sands Proving Grounds.

MAMF, founded four years ago by Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, a DoD “Brat,” an Army wife and an Army mother, has been active throughout Albuquerque– even without a facility– by presenting documentary film programs, stage performances, military ceremonies and major exhibits in various venues, including the National Nuclear Museum, the South Broadway Cultural Center, the International Balloon Museum, and the Wheels Museum.

MAMF’s volunteer Board of Directors includes an Artist-in-Residence, a Writer-in Residence, and liaison chairs to military spouses, military organizations, “Brats” and Veterans’ organizations. Its programs reach throughout the country through its Operation Footlocker, mobile exhibits which go to public schools, nursing homes, USO events, and to reunions of former students of Defense Department schools. MAMF is a 501 c 3 not for profit.

MAMF has a partnership with the American Overseas Schools Historical Society which represents thousands of former teachers and administrators in the Defense Department world-wide school system and with “Overseas Brats,” representing thousands of adult military “Brats.”

Till this semester, BMA had been on Mountain Road in Albuquerque, and MAMF existed as an on-line presence. In the McLeod facility, MAMF occupies the second floor; BMA the ground floor. Both Captain Zink and Executive Director Woessner believe the shared home makes a “good fit” for the school and the museum. They agree that the MAMF library, archives, exhibits, and historical folios of military family life are valuable resources for the cadets, who in turn, provide ceremonial support for MAMF programs.

 

The Museum is open by appointment only.

Tel: 505-504-3860

E-mail: militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net

For additional information, visit:

http://bataanmilitaryacademy.org and/or http://www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org.

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Exhibit on Department of Defense Schools Worldwide Brings Back Memories for Military Families Who Were Stationed Abroad

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASElogo copy

Contact:     Dr. Allen Dale Olson

Phone 505-400-3849

olsonallen@msn.com

 

 Exhibit on Department of Defense Schools Worldwide Brings Back Memories

for Military Families Who Were Stationed Abroad

 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM, July 27, 2015—A special exhibit at the Special Collections Library’s Botts Hall chronicles the experiences of families who were based in locations around the world: Military families whose children might attend five or more schools by the time they graduated from high school.

“Schooling with Uncle Sam,” is focused on the history of the 181 schools for military dependents located in the U.S. Spread from the Far and Middle East to Western Europe. Self-titled “Military BRATS,” the children of military families, from lowest to highest ranks, attend Department of Defense Education Agency Schools and build strong ties and cherished memories through their varied experiences.

The exhibit features comments from dozens of students, teachers and parents remarking on their experiences during various tours of duty—which involved the whole family. “Together We Serve” is the tagline of the Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center, an organization whose mission is to bring together people with shared experiences showcasing and honoring those who also served–America’s Military Families. Artifacts from school experiences        provided by those who attended or taught at DODEA schools bring the story home to the many retired military and BRATS who live in our area, as well as those who did not serve in the military, but want to learn more about the experience of those who do.

The new exhibit includes detailed information about the history and growth of the schools, anecdotes from students who attended them, and a host of artifacts that include: a 1948 report card; teachers’ guides; books on learning to speak, write and sing in the language of their new home; school flags and pennants; posters; school photos; yearbooks; athletic jackets and trophies; a high school diploma; a bison head that was worn by the varsity mascot at the Mannheim, Germany high school; a statement from General Colin Powell, US Army, Ret.; and much more. Many of the artifacts in the exhibit are provided by the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS), based in Wichita, Kansas.

“Schooling with Uncle Sam” is free to the public and available at the Special Collections Library, 423 Central Avenue NE (corner of Central and Edith). The library is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, except for Thursdays, when it opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. Please stop by and learn more about how children of military families received excellent education in places around the world thanks to “Uncle Sam.” To access the exhibit, please check in at the library’s Information Desk. The exhibition closes on August 22.

The Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center (MAMF) collects and preserves the stories, experiences, documents, photos, and artifacts of the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, spouses, siblings, and others who have loved and supported a member of America’s military services from Revolutionary War times to modern times. MAMF is an all-volunteer not-for-profit online entity in quest of a permanent home in Albuquerque and is launching a capital campaign to support that quest.

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THE RIBBON WAS CUT AND “AND SCHOOLING WITH UNCLE SAM” IS OPEN

11223970_853672058049189_1611219031972206292_n                   The Cadets of the Bataan Military Academy posted the colors proudly, and just as proudly, Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, founder and Executive Director of the Museum of the American Military Family, gave them the order to cut the ribbon and open “Schooling with Uncle Sam.”

Some 40 friends and supporters of the Museum rose to applaud the gesture, led by an enthusiastic Brigadier General Andrew Salas, Adjutant General of the New Mexico National Guard. They then spread out to look at artifact cases and displays and a series of exhibit panels telling the story of the elementary and secondary schools operated by the U.S. Defense Department around the world since the end of World War II. Read the rest of this entry »


“Schooling with Uncle Sam” Opens at Special Collections Library on July 11

PRESS RELEASE
June 23, 2015
city sealFor Immediate Release
Contact:

Dr. Allen Dale Olson

Phone 505-400-3849

olsonallen@msn.com

 

“Schooling with Uncle Sam” Opens at Special Collections Library on July 11 Exhibit Tells the Story of Schools and Students on Military Bases Across the World 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – ABC Library‘s Special Collections Library is the venue for an upcoming exhibition, “Schooling with Uncle Sam,” focused on the history of the 181 schools for military dependents located in the U.S. and throughout the world. Less than one-third (58) of one of America’s largest school systems is located in the States; the rest are spread around the world, from the Far and Middle East to Western Europe.

The exhibit, developed by the Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center, will open on Saturday, July 11 in the Main Reading Room at the Special Collections Library at Edith and Central.

The public is invited to attend an special ceremony with a ribbon-cutting, honor guard, remarks and light refreshments on Thursday, July 16 at 5 p.m.

The massive educational system has its origins in military sponsorship of the education of the sons and daughters of the armed forces that began in the mid-19th century. Today’s sprawling system came out of post WWII when it was determined that morale would increase among Occupation soldiers if their families were with them, and that the living examples of American democracy would be influential in the defeated German and Japanese populations. Another factor in new policy was the concern over stationing the now racially integrated military in the still-segregated South.

Since 1946, when the Department of Defense opened schools for military dependents in Germany and Japan, an estimated 15 million American students have received  their education/ on military installations in foreign lands. The average Department of Defense Education Agency (DODEA) student will attend four, five or even more different schools on the/ way to graduation. More than a quarter of them will enter first grade speaking a foreign language, and almost all of them will have lived in a foreign country by the time they reach the fourth grade.

With Albuquerque’s large population of active and retired military and veterans, the new exhibit will bring back memories for many area residents who themselves attended DODEA schools, or had children who attended them. The new exhibit will feature detailed information about the history and growth of the schools, anecdotes from students who attended them, and a host of artifacts that include: a 1948 report card; teachers’ guides; books on learning to speak, write and sing in the language of their new home; school flags and pennants; posters; school photos; yearbooks; athletic jackets and trophies; a high school diploma; a bison head that was worn by the varsity mascot at the Mannheim, Germany highschool; a statement from General Colin Powell, US Army, Ret.; and much more. Many of the artifacts in the exhibit are provided by the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS), based in Wichita, Kansas.

Details about one military kid stationed in Germany who decided that if the University of Maryland could offer evening classes for soldiers, they could do it for “military Brats, too (an affectionate appellation chosen by the “Brats” themselves). Claire Schwan, daughter of Colonel William A. Schwan, convinced Major General Thorson that it was needed, and soon there was a two-year undergraduate program with 18 students! During its 55-year existence, the two-year European campus of the University of Maryland served more than 22,000 student as the only residential college for children of U.S. military and State Department personnel.

Circle your calendars and don’t miss this engaging exhibit that will provide a lot of information on the lives of military dependents, a number of smiles, and will add to our knowledge about a life few of us have experienced. The constant moves and changes of school, teachers, friends and cultures-all without their express consent-makes for a very challenging, but rewarding life. The stories of how these students adapted and thrived should be an inspiration to us all.

The exhibit is presented by The Museum of the American Military Family and Learning Center (MAMF), whose mission it is to collect and preserve the stories, experiences, documents, photos, and artifacts of the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, spouses, siblings, and others who have loved and supported a member of America’s military services from  Revolutionary  War times to modern times. MAMF is an all-volunteer not-for-profit online entity in quest of a permanent home in Albuquerque and is launching a capital campaign to support that quest.

Curators for “Schooling with Uncle Sam” are:Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, ND, MAMF Executive Director, is DoD Brat, an Army wife of twenty years and mother to an active duty soldier. She taught in the overseas Department of Defense Schools in Europe and the Caribbean and currently works for the federal government. In 2002, she compiled the stories of over 150 University of Maryland, Munich, Germany alumni, resulting in two books documenting the history of that campus’ 40-year history. She has been recognized for her unique education programs in the US and abroad and has been published in Eddiciones Santillana’s Strategies for Teaching English in Puerto Rico. She has been featured in the Army Times and has been quoted in scholarly books about growing up on military bases overseas. Due to her father’s permanent stationing in Europe, she had the unusual experience of attending the same overseas DODEA school throughout her primary and secondary education. Circe belongs to the Blue Star Mothers and co-edits the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) Quarterly newsletter.

Dr. Allen Dale “Ole” Olson, Public Affairs for MAMF, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education, a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education,  and a doctorate in General Administration from the George Washington University. Ole is a World War II-era veteran and spent most of his civilian career with the United States Defense Department assigned to the Headquarters of the U.S. Army in Europe, where he served as the Army Liaison to the DoD Dependents Schools. He also spent twelve years as an Executive Officer for the DoD schools in Europe. Following his retirement, Dr. Olson served as Dean of the Graduate School of Schiller International University and as the Executive Director of the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts. Ole co-edits the AOSHS Quarterly newsletter, and is the President of the Museum Collaborative Council of Albuquerque.

The exhibit is free to the public and available at the Special Collections Library, 423 Central Avenue NE (corner of Central and Edith). The library is open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, except for Thursdays, when it opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m.

The Special Collections Library of the ABC Library houses research collections on Albuquerque history and New Mexico history and culture. The 1925 Pueblo/Spanish Revival-style building is a registered Albuquerque landmark in the historic Huning Highlands neighborhood. As a research library, materials are available for in-house use only.

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 ABC Library is part of the Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, Mayor. ABC Library consists of 17 locations serving a diverse population with a variety of programs, events and services. In 2014, the library welcomed more than 2 million patrons and managed the circulation of more than 4 million materials. For more information on all of the library events and services, call 311 or visit www.abclibrary.org

 Established in 1969, the Friends for the Public Library is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization supporting the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Library System. For more information, please visit http://www.friendsforthelibrary.org/

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