15 November 2011


From the Soldier side: I usually don’t discuss politics on my blog. So, I’ll try not to. When I first heard of the “Occupy Wall Street” concept, I thought it sounded pretty good. Why not? All them greedy wall street bankers are the problem to everything that’s wrong with this country…right? (Plus the corrupt and idiot politicians)
OK, enough of that. I was in the Army of Occupation many years ago. It meant something different and it was actually an honor.
The only shoulder patch the US Army issued with a city name on it

The Occupation I’m talking about is the US Army Of Occupation- West Berlin, Germany. Charlie Company 2/6.

I liked to say that each day I could get up and look out the window and see the East German guard towers…but that’s not true, I had to walk across the hall in the barracks and look out the window from one of the other soldier’s rooms to see them. My room face the center quad area where we held our formations.

I got there when I was 18 years old and left when I was 20. I had learned how to accurately fire weapons from the 1911A1 .45 to the 81MM mortar. I could drink up to 6 liters of German bier in a night (not every night) and I had a lot of good friends with me.

Some hated being there, but I realized that I was in a place that I could someday look back and say: “That was cool.”

After being there for 6 months, each soldier was awarded the Army of Occupation Medal. It was the last medal from WWII that was still being awarded to troops. It’s odd and every time I had to stand in Class A inspection in the National Guard years later, I’d always have some younger officer ask me: “What’s that ribbon for…I’ve never seen it before.?”

I’d say proudly: “Sir. That is the US Army WWII Army of Occupation Medal.”

They’d walk along and shake their head, not knowing if I was joking or telling the truth.

Go look it up.


Coffeypot said...

So, by the looks of the last patch, you were sponsored by GEICO?

CI-Roller Dude said...

Nobody could ever figure out what that unit crest was about....

America's 1st Sgt. said...

I think it was Izod.

Anonymous said...

1. Definitely goofing off.
2. Down in Germany, we were told only picked troops got assigned to Berlin.
3. That was not us. For certain.
4. Word was that if you screwed up, you were shipped to the 'zone that same day.
5. You guys were the trip wire that would precipitate the third major conflict on European soil in a century.
6. Thank God it didn't come to that.
7. We were sent to our mobilization points once -had to do with Arab-Israeli stuff.
8. Believe me, we were all green around the gills. A couple of guys went AWOL and hid out in town with their German girl friends. Fat lot of good that would have done them....
9. As it turns out, the Russian leadership of the time had all seen a lot of war and weren't any more eager for a serious confrontation than we were.
10. None of us knew about the occupation medal, but the SHAEF patch with Berlin header would get the same respect as a combat patch with a good unit (say the 101st).
V/R JWest

CI-Roller Dude said...

Top, thanks, that explains it.

Mr West, but the Berlin Brigade did have it's share of dirtbags.
The best way to get promoted fast was to spit shine your boots everyday and have enough starch and crease in your fatigues you could cut paper. If you could do your job well and showed up in formation on time, it was a bonus. I made Spec 4 in 13 months....

el chupacabra said...

Maybe a military urban legend: but an old friend would tell of East German tanks and US tanks squared off- over what I know not and impressionable German 'utes' handcuffing themselves to American M-60s (the tank-not the awful machinegun)and the polizei cutting them loose and beating them all the way to the patty wagon.

Also, we understood then- senior Russian leadership wasn't ALL that ready for a fit after seeing enough to last a few lifetimes...

As somebody (correction- NOBODY) who served in the closest border unit to East Germany- interestingly, we could not visit for leaves and passes East Germany- our requests would get rejected out of hand.

el chupacabra said...

PS I have a couple of good war stories from the Cold War set to go soon.

Anonymous said...

1. As far as heraldry goes -the sixth Infantry Regiment is one of the storied Army units.
2. Like IZOD for the gator. Comes from the unit's participation in the 2nd Seminole war under COL Zachary Taylor(1837).
3. The assault ladder derives from storming Chapultepec Castle in 1847. Among participants in that battle were Winfield Scott, R.E. Lee, Beauregard, Pillow, etc.
4. General Riall's comment, "Those are regulars, by God!" was occasioned by the Sixth advancing into heavy fire during the battle of Chippewa, War of 1812.
5. Today's troops are more likely to be interested in this stuff than those of my time.
6. Speaking of dirt baggery, tell young men what went on back in the day and they flat think you are lying.
7. What passed for normal, everyday wise assery back then will get you a fast ride to nowhere today. And we haven't even gotten to the stuff that would get you chewed out, thumped or NJP'd.
8. Today's way is better, but boy are things tight.
V/R JWest