From the Soldier side: When I joined the US Army in 19--- I didn’t get the job (MOS) I had asked for…but I guess it turned out OK anyway. It was at the end of the Viet Nam war and it seemed the US Army was really short of grunts in most of it camps in Germany. I went through AIT (Advanced Idiot Training) at swampy Fort Polk Louisiana and became an 11 C 10- Indirect Fire Crewman..or in plain language- Infantry Mortars. A grunt who could both readn and write.
Not only did I fail to actually get the job I thought really wanted in writing, but I failed to get a duty location in writing…so Uncle Sam sent my ass to Frankfurt, Germany. For a few days in transit, we stayed in a former German prison….it looked like a former prison.
Those of us who failed to get a written guarantee for a duty assignment were herded into a big room and told: “most of you are grunts…so look in the map of Germany and where you see Blue Pins is where they need grunts. Pick a place and we’ll try to get you there.”
CI Roller Dude was in C-2-6 weapons platoon
I looked at the map and it was covered in blue pins….every US Army base in Germany (there were a lot in those days) needed grunts. As I looked at the map, I noticed that there were blue pins way over inside of East Germany---in the City of West Berlin. Wow. That looked kind of cool.
When my turn came up to talk to the clerk and tell him where I wanted to go I said: “I’d like to go to Berlin.”
The clerk looked at me and said: “Shit! Do you know how much paper work that is? Oh well, if that’s where you want to go I’ll do it. Give me your ID card and we’ll have to make up special orders. You’ll leave tonight....put on your Class A uniform.”
And off I went on the over night “duty train” to West Berlin.
The anniversary of the “Wall” coming down was the other day. I remember two things very well about The Wall. When I was in West Berlin, we joked that our kids and our grandkids would be going to Germany to keep the Commies in check. We felt that the wall would be there forever.
The 2nd thing I remember....When the “Wall” came down and I was watching it on TV with my sons…I said: “ I thought you guys would be going there to keep the world free. Oh, by the way, you see that part of the wall right there? That’s where I got drunk one night and pissed on it….and waived at the East German Border guard up in the tower.