Wish You Still had your Yearbooks from Overseas?

The University of Maryland Global Campus has an extensive digital archive featuring yearbooks, documents and student newsletters from the University of Maryland overseas campuses. It can be accessed here: http://contentdm.umgc.edu/digital/collection/p16240coll11/search

The American Overseas Schools Historic Society has digitized many yearbooks from the DoD schools. The collection can be accessed here: 


Remembering Carleton “Woody” Woodell

My phone rang yesterday and I allowed it to go to thru to my answering machine, continued whatever I was doing.  The message was garbled, intermittently.  The caller said we hadn’t spoken in some years but his name was staticky…He’d called to let me know that a mutual friend had passed the night before; he’d been called by our friend’s brother…but that name was also lost in static.  I had no way to retrace the call…so I let it go.  The call revisited my mind intermittently thru the afternoon…but I knew, eventually…

Today the other shoe dropped.  I learned that one of my longest standing friends had crossed over.  Woody and I first met in Munich, in autumn of ’62.  Antioch and my Naval engineering scholarship were in my rearview mirror.  How could classes compete with beer and poker and woman and…

My father had decided to reimpose some control over me; he was then the Director of The Goethe Institute in Regensburg and there existed in Munich a two year college program, administered by the University of Maryland.  It existed for the dependents of military, intelligence, diplomatic, and businessmen stationed in Europe and The Middle East.  400 students; 200 women, 200 men.

I’d arrived just as school was getting underway and there were no more rooms in the mens dorm.  There was however a military family in Perlacher Forst, a community nearby who agreed to take me in for the semester.  Their son, a student at Munich was Carleton “Woody” Woodell.  He was soft-spoken, thoughtful, a sly sense of humor and an inveterate bridge and poker player.  I don’t have a lot of memories of those first few months, living off campus but I guess Dad’s plan to get me focused was working.  My grades improved.  2nd semester I moved into the men ‘s dorm and made the basketball team.  Two years later, Woody and the majority of our classmates returned to the states and U of Md, which would accept all of our credits.  (But the cocksuckers refused my P.E. credits, requiring me to return eventually for an added semester.)  But that’s another story.

Back in the world, we were a tight knit group, coming from a campus of 400 to one of 25,000!  None of the frat kids could drink beer with us.  We played their silly drinking games, lost on purpose, chugged their watery Budweiser and giggled all the way back to our apartments.  Woody and I continued our bridge and poker play.  He wasn’t musical but enjoyed the sessions of folk music held on the sprawling lawns of this suburban campus.  That year, the ACC integrated college athletic teams.  Vietnam was a troubling conflict on the other side of the world…but many of classmates came from military families, so our concerns were understandably greater.

After graduation we went our separate ways but remained in contact, long before the advent of the internet.  Annually before Christmas, The Munich Mens Drink was a dinner held at a German restaurant in Washington DC.  We would gather and feast and drink and reminisce.

Woody and I were reunited during my months recovering at Walter Reed.  They’d sign me out and bring me to their apartments.  More food and beer, and best of all, fellowship.  Company.  Some of the men had been to Vietnam and returned before I’d left.

In the 70’s and 80’s my life would occasionally bring me down to DC and we’d get together and Woody would organize a poker game.   Once while doing a play in NY, Woody and another friend Wayne took the Amtrack up to see me perform.

In The Before Time (meaning Christmas season, 2018) I’d flown east to visit my brother Glenn and to attend The Mens Drink.  I hadn’t planned to…but something spoke to me of my own mortality.  We were losing classmates annually and I wasn’t getting any younger.  I’m so glad I went!  A wonderful weekend with my brother Glenn and his wife Cherry….and a final gathering for some of us at The Olde Europe Restaurant.  That was the last time Woody and I saw each other.  

Later in his life, Woody had become a superb photographer, his eye and composition remarkable.  Almost annually he’d return to Munich for Oktoberfest, his photos bringing back fond memories to us all.

Happy Trails, Woody

Tucker Smallwood

UMMC preserved by Alum

The UMMC Keller

The university established a “Student Keller” under the Officer’s Club for us in 1966. We were told that it was, at one time, the SS pistol range for the German military during World War II. In fact, the stage used by live bands was where the targets used to hang. We students fixed it up with a bar and tables and chairs that local German breweries gave us. It was a nice place to meet and dance without having to go off McGraw Kaserne, especially in the colder months of Munich. Stephen R. Sirbaugh, 1965-1967 from the book, Noch Eins

The Student Keller was great unless you lived on the other side of the main street (Tegernsee Landstrasse) on McGraw Kaserne. This was a major street that went right through the middle of McGraw Kaserne from the back gate to the front gate. The German Polizei would occasionally open the back and front gates on busy weekends to let the German traffic go straight through McGraw Kaserne, instead of having to drive around McGraw Kaserne. That was great for the city of Munich, but very dangerous for us drunken college students who had to get back to the girls’ dorms or the freshman boys’ dorm (Beukema Hall).
As long as I attended, I never heard of any of us getting hit by a vehicle, but to this day, I still can’ t believe we used to dodge cars to get back to our rooms. I can’t believe the Germans or the U.S. Forces permitted such a policy. In the ’80’s, the city of Munich dug out the main street on McGraw Kaserne and made walkway bridges over the open below ground roadway.
Stephen R. Sirbaugh, 1965-1967
Photo: Pat McCabe

Photo: Pat McCabe

I have a lot of fond memories down at the Keller below the Officers Club at McGraw. Some of the guys formed a band – they were pretty good – – the Outcasts played a lot of the hits of the day that we used to listen to on AFN –the Beatles, Stones, Mamas and Papas, Loving Spoonful, James Brown… Just to name a few–From Noch Eins.
Photo: Pat McCabe

Photo: Pat McCabe

Munich Campus Memories

A Virtual Walk Down Memory Lane


Servus! We hope you like our little tribute to our beloved “Cobble Stone Campus.” Almost every object has a link to it–and will take you to a story, song or video. It is not the most elegant presentation, but it is heartfelt. If you enjoy this blast from the past, please look for our museum (Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center) on the web or on Facebook. Or scrounge up some bier money and consider donating to our building fund. As always, we thank you. Prost!

So after class, it’s time to head to the dorm for some studying and then to get ready to head out on the town!

Follies of Youth

One night at the Keller, a newbie from the land of round doorknobs sat down with us and proceeded to down some good ‘ol German bier. Now, being a newbie, and not used to the German bier (much stronger than the American beer-flavored water), his attempt to keep up with us resulted in a very soused individual in a very short time. He proceeded to pass out after the third “halbe”. Being the concerned citizen that I was, (and still am), I volunteered to carry him back to the dorm after finishing up my fifth “halbe”. I got him up the stairs to the first landing, and proceeded to drop him on his head… This woke him up, and with a mighty “OOOWWWWWWW”, he was able to more or less crawl up the remaining stairs…and with some assistance from me, was able to make it back to the dorm. The next morning was spent not so much nursing a hang-over, but a nagging headache from being dropped on said head… but, all ended well. I do wish I was able to stay for more semesters…but there was this thing called the “draft”…and I decided to get it over with… Ahhh, the follies of youth…
Norm Peterson, UMMC 1971 from Noch Eins
Photo: Pat MCabe

The UMMC Prague Trip

Mug with built in straw from Karlov Vary. Ceramic was bought in Prague. When I went back to relive my memories I found out this pottery is from Budapest. All the things we bought there were goods the communist brought in from their other Soviet Union countries. Now Prague does not acknowledge them and has tried to make sure only Chec original goods are sold. They are trying to eliminate the relics from the communists unless it sits in their Communist Museum. I found the same pottery in a bathroom under a bridge along the river being used by a Bulgarian lady to put her change in who was cleaning the bathrooms.
Photo and memory: Pam Kassing

UMMC Mail Room

My Office..The mailroom, this place payed for my BS degree and provided two great years of Stress and Fun. You try driving a full size Ford van in Downtown Munich and remembering 400 box numbers that where in rows of 12 ( if I remember, which I probably don’t ). Andrew Wilds

Favorite Hangouts


I graduated from high school in Petersburg, Virginia in June 1965. My father, who was stationed at Fort Lee, Virginia, received orders for a new assignment to Heidelberg, Germany starting in August 1965. This caused some problems for me since I couldn’t get my transcripts to the University of Maryland, Munich Campus (UMMC) in time to start the Fall semester at Munich. Therefore, I had to wait until the Winter semester which started in January 1966 to attend the UMMC. I spent the first five months getting used to Germany and accustomed to the “German way of life” and acquainted to my new surroundings in Heidelberg. Unfortunately for me, I’d learned to speak Spanish in high school, so the only foreign language I could speak was Spanish, not German. This turned out to be a big problem for me for a while. Well, the five months went by fast so it was time for me to head to Munich to attend my first semester at UMMC. My parents couldn’t drive me to UMMC because we were still waiting for our car to arrive from Virginia so my parents purchased a one-way German train ticket for me to Munich. They put me on the train at the Heidelberg Hauptbahnhof and wished me luck and success at the UMMC. They told me I didn’t have to worry about the train ride, because friends told them that I wouldn’t have to get off the train until it arrived in Munich. With that information, I found a free seat in a very nice train compartment and put my suitcase in the rack above my seat. There were three Germans in the compartment with me, but they didn’t speak that much English so it was a quiet train ride until the train pulled into the Stuttgart train station.

As I said, every was going just fine, until the train started backing out of the train station and didn’t continue to go forward. I panicked and started asking the Germans in my compartment why the train was going backwards. Of course, they didn’t understand why I was getting so upset. Finally, I left the compartment and started looking for the train conductor who checked my ticket on the way to Stuttgart. I finally found him and I showed him my ticket and kept asking him if the train was going to Munich. He looked confused at me and just kept saying, “JA, JA, JA Muenchen Muenchen!!! I looked at him and said, no, I mean Munich, Munich and he kept saying “Ja, JA, Muenchen.

To my luck, two couples were walking towards me and they could see I was having a panic attack. Both couples were Americans and asked me what was my problem. I told them about the train backing out of Stuttgart and they all laughed and told me not to worry that the train was going to Munich. They then asked me what I was doing on the train and if I was new to Germany which I said yes. They were going to Munich, too, so they recommended that I come back with them to their compartment and they would try to give me a fast history lesson in “the strange German ways”. I was so glad and relieved to have run into these people, so for the remainder of the train ride I received a very fast course on the German ways. They asked if I knew what Schnitzel was and I said no, what a brotchen was, a Spezi, pommes frites, schnapps, currywurst, etc. They all laughed again and then began to fill me in on the essentials I needed to know to function in Germany. I was so thankful for their help and when we arrived in the Munich train station, I thanked them very much for their help and we all went our separate ways.

My dad had told me when I arrived in Munich I should walk out the front of the train station and get a taxi to take me to McGraw Kaserne. Well, he was right, there was a very long line of taxi cabs right out the front door of the Munich train station. I walked up to a taxi cab driver and started to get in his taxi and he ran up to me and said NEIN, NEIN, NEIN!!!! I couldn’t understand why he was yelling at me and wouldn’t let me get into his taxi. He looked at me, still yelling, but kept pointing at the taxis in front of his taxi. The one rule the couples forgot to tell me was, you have to get into the first taxi in line– another new German rule I learned. I got into the first taxi and told the taxi driver I wanted to go to McGraw Kaserne, he looked at me a little strange and kept saying something back at me in a strange dialect (found out it was Bayerisch). Anyway, I finally arrived at the front gate of McGraw Kaserne, the taxi driver took my suitcase out of the trunk, I paid him (didn’t know I was supposed to tip him) and off he went very mad at me. (By the way, there was about 1 1/2 ft. of snow on the ground that day.)

I walked into the building on the right (found out it was called the “Glass House” the girl’s dorm) and asked where Beukema Hall was located (Freshman Boy’s Dorm). Lucky for me, there were two boys who had just dropped off their girlfriends and they were on their way to Beukema Hall. I arrived at Beukema Hall looking for room B-5, which I found and the door was open. Nobody was there, but a Prefect saw me wandering around, so he showed me where my assigned bed was located. He left, so I started to empty my suitcase and put my clothes into my assigned wall locker and chest of drawers. Right after I finished unpacking my suitcase, my first roommate came walking in. He introduced himself and told me I was taking over his old roommate’s assigned area because he flunked out. He showed me around the apartment, which had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a bunkbed in the living room and my bed was setup was in the dining room area. He also told me his dad was in the Air Force and there were three other roommates with dads in the Air Force and two other roommates dads were in the Army like my dad. (Total of 7 of us in B-5). It turned out all four Air Force roommates had the two bedrooms. The four Air Force roommates’ dads were stationed in England, one Army roommate’s dad was stationed in France and the other Army roommate’s dad was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, like my dad.

My new roommate asked me if I would like him to show me around UMMC to which I said YES!!!!!!! Well, he showed me where all the different dorms were located, the college building which also had the commissary and movie theater in it, the snack bar and then he asked me if I would like to see some of the bars outside McGraw Kaserne. He showed me Die Frau, 5 and 5, Student Keller and the Blue Room. We ended up in the Blue Room where many students were hanging out all ready. He introduced me to several of the students and asked me if I would like a beer, and to which of course, I said YES!! To my surprise, the waitress bought to our table two VERY LARGE liter mugs of beer. I couldn’t believe my eyes. At that point in my life, I had only drunk beer out of a pint beer can, I had a swimming pool worth of beer sitting in front of me. Long story short, I eventually drank the whole thing, feeling very proud of myself until he asked me if I wanted another one. I was in shock, I told him I thought I needed to get back to the room and sort through my things. He said okay and I left. When I got back to the room, I fell on my bed and slept until the next morning. When I finally woke up, I went to the bathroom and found out that large liter beer gave me the runs!!!! HA! HA!I ended up surviving UMMC and have always looked back at my days at UMMC with very fond memories and some great friends.

A popular gasthaus near the college campus

Blue Room- This was one of our favorite “watering holes” right outside of McGraw Kaserne. The history for naming of the “Blue Room” goes like this. In German, slang for drunk is the word “Bleu”, bleu also mean “Blue” in German. Since Bleu has the dual meaning and the spelling is close to the English word Blue, just turn the “eu to ue” and you have “The Blue Room”. That Gasthaus changed many, many student’s lives who entered this Gasthaus. I wasn’t at McGraw Kaserne for more than two hours before one of my new roommates took me to the Blue Room for my first one liter mug of Paulaner Brau. Photo: Steven Sirbaugh

UMMC Freshman Week

As I remember freshman week started off with a bang. Every freshman had to purchase a beanie and we were told (very strongly) that we had to wear our beanies 24 hours a day. And no excuses would be accepted if we were caught without it. Since the dorm managers had keys to the apartments and could come in at any time, I for one tried very hard to keep the thing on my head, even while sleeping. We also discovered that the school had a curfew and lights out. The lights out time coincided with the playing of “Taps” over the post loud speaker system. We were told that we had to turn our lights out also to reduce friction between the students and the young G.I.s. The dorm managers would come by each apartment nightly to do a head count. Both of these practices seemed very strange to us.
During the first week of school any sophomore could ask any freshman to do things for them. They were for the most part harmless; carry the sophomore’s books, shine a pair of shoes, etc. At the end of the first week the freshmen were rounded up and herded into a large hall and were made aware of the many uses of shaving cream other than for shaving purposes. Some students were in costume. I am sure we had to sing the Maryland Victory Song at least once.. At the end of the evening we were no longer required to wear the beanies and all hazing ceased. As you can see by the first image I still have my beanie and beer stein after 55 years, while the Hofbrau Dunkel bottle is a more recent acquisition.
Pat McCabe