From the Soldier side: So before I continue my story.....tomorrow is going to be a great day in America. Not only are we swearing in the first African American President in our history, but we're getting rid of one of the worst bunch of leaders we have ever had to suffer under. A couple of people who should be tried by the Hague courts for war crimes....(Now that's about the only political words you'll hear from me on this blog-- the editor.)
Back to Germany in March 1975. When I got to Frankfurt, they were allowing some soldiers to pick where they wanted to be stationed. I picked Berlin. Why? Not really sure....just seemed like a good idea at the time. I still am not sure why...but that's where I got to go. The Spec-4 clerk who asked me to pick where I wanted to go, got upset when I told him I wanted to go to Berlin. I asked why it was a problem...he said he had to have "flag orders" made up. I had not idea what "flag orders" were. I turned out that they were orders with the 4 flags of Berlin at the top. The US, UK, USSR & the Frogs. I don't know why the Frogs got 1/4 of Berlin....they lost their war.
So, they made up the Flag Orders...and off I went on the longest train ride of my life... (I haven't been on too many train rides besides sub ways and such...) The "Duty Train" from Frankfurt to West Berlin was supposed to go straight through with no stops. But at every single town we went through in East Germany, the commies stopped the train and checked it out. It took all night to get to Berlin. Just as soon as we fell asleep, the damn train would stop...we'd fall asleep again...then it would go. Later this would be called "Sleep Deprivation"...something we could not do to detainees in Iraq....but the fuc--g Russians could do it to us.
The next morning, we un-assed the train in West Berlin. I had never been to Germany before this...but I was looking forward to drinking lots of German Bier as part of the WWII Army of Occupation! At the train station there was a Spec -5 to pick us up. He was the company clerk. I thought it was nice that he even helped to carry our bags to the truck. I was kind of in shock... a E-2 Private...but I wanted to act like I knew what I was doing and I didn't want to ask any dumbass questions. I was only 18 years old...
For more info on the Berlin Brigade, go to http://www.usarmygermany.com/Units/Berlin%20Brigade/USAREUR_Berlin%20Brigade.htm#BBHistory This was the only unit patch in the US Army with the name of a city at the top. Most citizens couldn't tell you one Army patch from another...but there was no doubt where a soldier was from when they had this patch on their shoulder.
Duty in Berlin was not really that bad. We had to have very highly spit shined boots and very heavy starch in our old OD Green uniforms. Just a regular spit shine was not enough for parades and guard duty... we went so far as to put Glow Coat floor polish on the tips of our jump boots. The starch in our uniforms was so heavy, they felt like card board. We painted all equipment every few months.... if it didn't move it got painted. The rest of the US Army had camo paint jobs on their vehicles, we had shiny OD Green Paint on ours. Everything had to shine. We spent half our training time getting things ready for inspections.