Update on UMMC Construction 5-21

Historian Karin Pohl says, “I finally had the chance to stop by the construction site of the former University of Maryland building. It is currently being turned into an apartment building for state employees. They have completely gutted the walls inside and are changing the roof into penthouse apartments. The former commissary is turned into a courtyard with balconies. “

Here’s a link to the architect: 


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