by Allen Dale Olson
On the second of January 1992, the university president called me to say he had “volunteered” me. Because the call came to my home, I knew it was something of great interest to him. “You need to go to Nice next month,” he said.
There can’t be many employees who get to sent to Nice in the middle of winter, I thought.
He had been approached by a London-based event promoter to provide a keynote speaker for a first-time event – a Resort Hotel Exhibition – bringing owners and representatives of luxury hotels from around the world for three days of networking and education in one of the globe’s most popular tourism destinations at the height of Carneval, one of Europe’s grandest festivals. The promoters wanted to tie the business of tourism to the schools of tourism, and Dr. Leibrecht offered his Director of the International School of Tourism for the assignment. He always enjoyed having Schiller International University on stage.
In Strasbourg at daybreak on Tuesday, February 18 I boarded an Air Inter flight to Lyon to connect with another flight arriving in Nice before noon. The conference was to open next morning.
My room at the Hotel Plaza wasn’t ready so I walked a few blocks to the Akropolis where I could pre-register for the event. The hostess was pleased to see me, saying that registrations had been very slow. I told her the receptionist at the hotel had also said that I was the first convention-goer to sign in at the Plaza. She did not seem pleased with that information.
After a leisurely lunch at la Dent de la Mer and a stroll through Vieux Nice, I returned to the registration desk where I learned only a few attendees had signed in. Having no commitments, I was free to visit the elegant salons and picture galleries of the Hotel Negresco and to set up a vantage point on Place Massene to watch the great Mardi Grasparade, a spectacle worthy of its world-class reputation.
Wednesday, February 19 – Speech in hand, I walked to the auditorium of the Akropolis eager to get the keynoting over with and enjoy Nice. Though it was still an hour till start time, it seemed there should be more than thirty or so people in the auditorium, nearly all of whom were involved in working on light and sound systems, wall hangings, and other busy work. A notice flashed on the screen on stage announcing that the morning general session would follow the Organizers’ Reception at 1:00 pm.
There were some impressive displays set up in the Exhibit Hall – things like miniature golf courses, indoor gymnasia, spas and saunas, boat docks, lobby furniture, and the like. Overhearing American English, I approached and met Patrick Willis from a heating system company in Wisconsin. He was furious.
“I spent more than $20,000 to bring my display and five staff members here, and they’re telling me only about 50 people have registered for the whole darn conference,” he said. Other exhibitors told similar tales. One of them said the organizers had sent urgent invitations out to spa and resort owners along the Riviera Coast in the hope of getting some attendees, but so far the response had been negligible.
At the organizers’ reception I met John Knight, a professor from Purdue, who had been invited to address the general session following the reception. He, too, had been hearing angry reports from exhibitors about the lack of attendance. After some snacks and a glass of champagne, John and I headed to the auditorium to find every seat occupied – by irate exhibitors screaming for the heads of the promotion company. It was obvious they were in no mood to hear John’s speech.
One of the promoters got the group quiet enough to apologize and to explain how the company had really fouled up by failing to get invitations mailed and distributed for reasons beyond their comprehension. After that, there was little civil discourse, as exhibitors began shouting in English, German, French, Italian about refunds, law suits, criminal charges, fraud, and other crimes which may or may not have been relevant.
Security officers managed to restore sufficient order so the event promotors could explain they would set up an office in the convention center where exhibitors could meet and try to work out a solution to all their expenses and concerns. They pronounced the Exhibition and Conference program over.
On the way out, one of the exhibitors invited John and me to a champagne reception in the Royal Salon of the Hotel Negresco that evening. In spite of their anger, the exhibitors hosted an elegant little party in an elegant place.
Thursday, February 20 – Caught the 9:05 am Air-Inter to Paris-Orly from where I called my boss before boarding the Strasbourg flight.
Postlude – A couple years later I met John on the Purdue Campus at Fort Wayne where we reminisced about what could surely qualify as anyone’s oddest trip to Nice. Neither of us had ever heard about how it all turned out.
On September 23, 2020, HMOR Ms. Doris C. Baker was presented a Special Forces Flag by SFA Chapter 84 member Chad Rogers in honor of her (Friday September 25th) 103rd Birthday. She was wearing her special SF necklace and autographed a copy of her book “The Originals” for Chad.
On September 25, 2020 Former DoDEA Administrator and Honorary Green Beret Doris C. Baker will celebrate her 103rd Birthday.
The Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center joins DoDEA and many other organizations in wishing Ms. Baker a wonderful birthday.
In 2014, 97-year-old Doris Baker was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Special Forces Regiment, recognizing her 20 years of service with the 1/10th Special Forces Group (Green Berets). At the time, Miss Baker joined the ranks of a select category — one of only nine other distinguished individuals worldwide, and one of only three women to ever receive this elite membership. In 2020, there are 14 honorary members (including Ms. Baker) listed on the US Army Special Forces Regiment website. Honorary membership in the Special Forces Regiment is rarely awarded, and is given only to select civilians who have contributed to the welfare, advanced the interests, and served as role models for the regiment.
Ms. Baker was a Department of Defense (DOD) civilian employee whose dedication to her students, fellow educators, the Bad Toelz soldiers and their families was outstanding. Ms. Baker began her overseas teaching career in Germany where, from 1950 to 1979, she served the DoD with great distinction as a teacher and principal of the U.S. Army Elementary and Junior High Schools in Flint Kaserne, Bad Toelz, Germany, the first overseas assignment base for the 1/10th Special Forces Group Airborne (Green Berets).
Her outreach, mentorship, counseling and friendship to students, parents, the command, and the entire Army community benefitted thousands who passed through the gates of Flint Kaserne. For more than 30 years, Doris adopted the Green Berets as her own, calling them “her lads.”
Ms. Baker authored “The Originals” — the first book about the Green Berets written by a woman — which chronicles an American woman caught in the dangerous lives and fortunes of these extraordinary men. Her extensive travels and freelance photography assignments after World War II were blended into her book, “I’ll Let You Know When We Get There.”
Miss Baker’s legacy of service and adventure inspires all who have been touched by her and her work, and continues to live on through the lives of her students, colleagues and friends — who she continues to influence around the world.
Her long-time friend, H.C. “Woody” Woodward says,“Birthday cards and messages from each of you will mean so much to this outstanding woman that supported A/10th SFG at Flint Kaserne in Bad Toelz, Germany from 1953-1980”.
If you would like to wish Ms. Baker a happy birthday, her current mailing address is:
Ms. Doris C. Baker
1217 Alliance Drive,
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454
Born on New London Submarine Base, Groton, CT, Terrill Ann and her four siblings grew up as proud Navy Brats. Her family moved frequently so Terrill learned to adapt, make friends and get involved in her new communities. Because of her love of architecture, landscape and art, she was drawn to local artists who created reflections of their environments. She became an avid collector of artwork and crafts, searching out unique treasures everywhere she lived or traveled. As a Navy Brat, she became a consummate beach bum–feet in the sand is her place to be, so she chose Pensacola Florida, a long-time Navy town in which to retire. Terrill Ann, an Army spouse for 30+ years raised four Brat sons, and worked and volunteered in supported those who serve—at the USO and Red Cross. She served as a spouse liaison, was a member of various wives’ clubs, managed a thrift shop and an overseas Stars & Stripes bookstore. She’s also worked for the Navy Exchange, Navy Federal Credit Union and in the telecommunications industry. She considers herself to be a “Jill of all Trades.”
Terrill Ann says, “Military children are affectionately known as Brats, and we embrace a unique military subculture and heritage all our own. Thousands of Brats embrace our unique name “Brat,” because it was lovingly bestowed upon us by those who serve—our parents and relatives.”
Terrill Ann recognized the need to document that unique heritage, and with the input of hundreds of fellow Brats, designed the Military Brat ID Seal. In the five years since its creation, it has been registered and copyrighted in the Library of Congress, and the Military Brat Seal has been embraced by thousands of Brats and their parents as a proud display of Military Brat Heritage. Terrill Ann is pleased to be part of the Museum of the American Military Family Team.
Military Brats Seal designs can be found on pins, challenge coins, patches, and badges of honor. They are purchased to recognize, honor or show appreciation and love for a Brat’s major milestone events, such as a graduation, retirement, birth or memorial. Terrill Ann continues to create unique gift items, many as limited editions.
Made in USA , the Brat Seal proudly waves the banner, “Pluribus Locis Nostrum” which translates to “many places are home” which truly reflects Brat heritage, past, present and future. Brats can continue to embrace their proud heritage with our Military Brats Seal , which can be found on ebay at https://www.ebay.com/usr/military_brat_seal?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
or Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/BRATID.MILITARY.BRATS
We’re calling it #GIVING ROOFDAY. Please donate to our museum at https://www.facebook.com/fund/MuseumoftheAmericanMilitaryFamily/
Military Kids’ Lives—a New Exhibit at the Museum of the American Military Family in Tijeras, New MexicoPosted: March 25, 2019
By Allen Dale Olson
We are not defined by ethnicity, religion, geography, or race. You cannot spot us in a crowd. But we, the children of warriors, have been shaped by a culture so powerful we are forever different, forever proud, and forever linked to one another. -Mary Edwards Wertsch, Reflections on an Invisible Nation
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like if you had attended five or six different schools enroute to high school graduation? Or if you had lived in a foreign country by the time you reached third grade? Or during any of your elementary or junior or senior school years?
At the Museum of the American Military, as a civilian, you can live that kind of life vicariously because of a new exhibit – Military Kid’s Lives– or as a former military kid, you can reminisce about those memories of packing up every two or three years to move to schools in another state or another country. You can recapture the childhood pride you once had (and still have) in being a Brat or learn what it’s like to be a child growing up in a military family by reading exhibit panels including the stories of kids from the 1930s to the present.
The exhibit is a permanent part of the Museum’s collections, and contrasts and compares the experiences of Hudson Philips, a Brat in the 1930s and 40s with those of author Bernard Lee (1950s and 60s) and Dwayne Dunn (1980s and 90s) and the more recent reflections of Janine Boldrin.
The museum is in Tijeras, New Mexico, on Old Route 66 just seven miles east of Albuquerque and is collecting and preserving the stories, documents, photos, and artifacts of the parents, spouses, and children of those who serve and have served in America’s military. It is also home to a special gallery focusing on the history of the Defense Department world-wide school system for military children with commentary by teachers and students going back to the 1946 founding of the system.
Military Kids’ Lives, the story of what it’s like to be a military kid, is a compilation of information not only from those who grew up military, but also from some of the nation’s leading researchers on military kid life: Marc Curtis, founder of Military Brats Registry; Mary Edwards Wertsch, author of “Military Brats: Life inside the Fortress”; Donna Musil, producer of the documentary film, “Brats – Our Journey Home”; and the museum’s artist-in-residence, Lora Beldon, founder of Military Kid Art Project.
Elva Resa Publishing House and Military Kids Lives Magazine are also featured on panels discussing their military child-centric publications. Visitors will see artifacts, clothing, and books donated by people who grew up in military families – from Thailand to Texas, Norway to Libya, all over Europe, the USA, and the Far East. They can read first-hand stories of people who spent much of their lives in service to their country.
The exhibit was sponsored, in part, by Home Depot, Daisy BB guns, GCC, Rio Grande Credit Union and Chameleon Kids.
MAMF is at 546B State Route 333, Tijeras, NM 87059, right next to Molly’s famous bar at the interchange of I-40 and SR 14, exit 175 (the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway).
Telephone (505) 504-6830. www.militaryfamilymuseum.org.
The exhibit opens April 14 and the museum is open every day except Thursday and Friday, 10:30 – 5:00. Admission is free and donations are gladly accepted.