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Berlin ASA 1965-1968
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Back to the realities of West Berlin, everyone at Andrews Barracks was very familiar with the NCO Club, the El Oso. It was our on-post watering hole, where the drinks were cheap, the crowd noisy, the slot machines always busy, and sanity in the compound was not the foremost thought. The El Oso was a necessary respite from the daily grind of work.


This was the view from my last room in Company A building while in Berlin.
One of my favorite pastimes at the NCO Club, besides swilling German brew,
was putting peanuts into a Beck's beer and watch them bounce up and down.
Other beers didn't seem to have the "bounce" that Beck's offered. And, to
further enhance killing time, we would bet on when the peanuts would start
bouncing. Winner got a free beer from the others. Chicago and liar's dice
were also very popular there.


Candy candy good!

Candy Johnson, a popular USO trooper, came to Andrews to wow the boys on post at the El Oso. Some smiled, some acted as if they didn't care about her gyrations, but no one seemed wowed. I heard she went over great at McNair barracks. I personally liked her. Hey, after all, she was a woman, and not bad looking!


Berlin Brigade Command tried very hard to keep bored
troops entertained. The yearly Volksfest was something
for all ages, little kids, and big ones too. Ron, the mystery
man, myself, and Pete Demeule, gooned for one of my
other cameras in somebody else's hand here. All of us
were either in a trance at the time, or totally and
completely sober.



The little lady loses her head over this act! No matter what city or country
the flim-flam people are there, lurking in every carnival, and for only swei
Deutsche mark you too can behold the wonderful world of illusion. And if
you're lucky enough to capture it on film, you shouldn't tell your grandchildren
about it, publish it on a web site.


Ah, the pause that always refreshes. Fill up the bladder
here, and empty it there! There were always huge crowds
at Berlin's Volksfest, German locals and American service-men both joined in the celebration together, and a good
time was had by all!


I've seen a lot of carnies in the good old U.S. of A., but none quite as striking as this one at the Berlin Volksfest of 1966. I was always lousy at winning at these carnival games, but these girls and guys manning the booths seemed to be very much above board, no con talk, and all that. It might have been a cover since they were all spies, no doubt! If this fraulein was a spy, I was James Bond.



And so, here's James Bond near the Berlin Wall, which in fact was not all wall
during the sixties. The "wall" barrier was strung out over 96 miles surrounding
the city, and a lot of it was merely barbed wire and guard towers. This shot was
taken near the Wannsee border and Freedom Bridge. In the woods near here was
a "special place" known about by only a few guys in our unit. The barbed wire
and fence, which was completely torn down, and not repaired for a long time, was
totally obscured by bushes and trees unless you knew exactly where it was.
Butch, Ron, myself and a few others made trips through the wall just for the hell
of it, and wandered around in East Berlin, but only for a few minutes at a time.
Idiots, huh? Yeap, we sure were. Of course I'll deny this if anyone ever asks
me about it, saying that somebody got into my web site and put this text here.



The Olympic swimming pool at Andrews Barracks, where the swimming part of the 1936 Olympics was held, was very seldom, if ever, crowded. It was kept immaculately clean, I guess because no one swam enough to pee in the pool! Beware of the 36 meter platform. It was a killer, especially if you were not an Olympic diver!



At right, Paul Karr didn't think KP duty was so bad as long as you brought your own refreshment. What he was pouring into the cup was NOT a cooking sauce of any kind. Below: The mess hall scullery fraulein didn't approve of my camera. I think she was too overworked and strung out from kitchen stress. Although, my camera was almost smashed a couple of times when I pointed it at the wrong lady!


"Same to you, Carla!"



"What? Who? Me?" Yeah, you Cornelius and Russell,
you've been labeled troublemakers. Get your asses
to the CO's office immediately. He has some "Articles"
waiting for you. "What? What'd we do?" You used a viewfinder camera and are terribly composed!



Don 'John Wayne' Cooper, a.k.a. "Blackie", decided to show the Russian and East German Army what the ASA in Berlin was all about one fateful day. He donned full gear, took off through the woods near the Wannsee border and scared the hell out of himself! Coop was a real troop! Right, Roadrunner?

Coop, a little more tamed down in Texas in 2001, is also deployed in the woods in the photo below. Coop's comments: "Please read my book, 'C Trick.' I need to sell two million more copies!"




Sgt. Bill Kursinsky, a.k.a. "Sgt. Ski" is standing by the ASA sign in front of Co. A
headquarters building, summer 1968. I did not know "Ski" personally, I only heard
of his exploits through Andy Fraser. "Damn, Ski, you did all that stuff?"
Photo, courtesy of Andy Fraser)



Dave French, a short-timer when I arrived, was a little proud of the fact that he had more Article 15's than anyone else in the unit from 1962-1965. He left the Army a Spec 4, and apparently taught me well, because I also left after four years as a Spec 4. Receiving only a few Article 15's, which were totally necessary as far as the commander was concerned, I accumulated 42 months in time and grade as a Specialist 4th Class, never being busted once. How about that? No, I'm not proud of it, its just the way it was. Here Dave is completing his last "15" snipping away at grass, which did not need cutting. He told me that he would rather pull those stupid little duties for a few weeks than pull S.G. duty. Military Police were considered Security Guards until middle 1965, then we became Unit Police, and about six months later, got the proficious title of our real MOS, Military Police. Dave didn't give a crap one way or the other. Bon Voyage, Dave!



And Bon Voyage to our military abode and Andrews Barracks as we head out of the compound to Templehof Airport for the flight home, which I do not remember. Helke and the Spiderman know what that's about. I arrived in Berlin in January, 1965, and left in January, 1968 on a day about like the one pictured here, with one exception, the sun was out in this photo. Even when the sun didn't shine, which was a lot of the time, I found plenty of warmth, cheer and great companionship in the ASA command in Berlin, Germany. I like to believe that when the Berlin Wall finally came down entirely in November, 1989, it was due in large part to our efforts there. "I shall not return." God bless each and every one of you!


I hope I have stirred some pleasant memories in you who were there during those years, and also those before us, and after us. The ASA command changed drastically from the late fifties until the latter eighties, but the people were the same. In later years they got a little more orderly and Army like compared to the close comradry we were acclimated to in the small unit during my time there. If there were a hit movie, or TV series, made of the ASA in Berlin, it would no doubt have been made in the early to mid sixties, and been called, "DON'T TREAD ON ME!" Please don't get me wrong, the officers and NCO's were necessary, and in my opinion, some were great! All in all it ended up to be a pleasure and honor to serve with the people in ASA.

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