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Our Wermacht Beetle

Daniel Spannraft

Here is a good one from the 1946-1947 era. My late father was an Officer in the US Army who actually came from Austria right after WW1. He was posted to West Berlin after getting married in mid 1946 in Paris. He was fluent in German and looked the part, so his one of his duties was interrogating captured German Officers and soldiers. In fact, the US Army had a Wehrmacht uniform for him to wear.

Once the war ended, he was stationed in West Berlin. Like every good American boy, he wanted his own car. The US Army started to allow privately owned vehicles thru a lottery system. You would enter your name, and if and when it was pulled, you could buy what they had available. Mid-year, much to his surprise, his name was drawn. He had wanted an US made car, but was surprised that the only thing available was a WW2 vintage ex-Wermacht Beetle.

The car was mouse grey inside and out. Rather than gamble on being reentered into the lottery, Dad took the car. He had it repainted maroon and had the bumpers and hub caps chromed.

One of the stories in the family is how he had a fender bender in West Berlin right after getting the car redone. Well, I found the photos of the accident. Here they are in all their glory.

Perhaps someone can come up with the ID of the West German owned car. I can only imagine what went thru the minds of the Polizei when the got to the accident scene and the two participants were probably arguing in Deutsch. I can see two MP Jeeps and two Polizei cars. I believe Dad was going from left to right on the one photo. If I remember, the West German driver was cited for not giving right of way, but I have no idea of any of the circumstance. The snow does make it look like early Winter or late Spring.


Movie Memories

by Frank Marchese

Fort Bragg 1949. Dad had just returned home after being in Hollywood for 45 days. He and fellow former 101st Airborne troopers assisted in the making of “Battleground” . They provided technical assistance, showing actors who to hold a rifle and dress in combat gear. The troopers also played “extras” in the background scenes. Dad is holding me on the left as Mom looks on and chats with the other wives and troopers holding the rest of the “Brats”. The 82nd Airborne Band is seen marching off in the background after (at that time) Lt. Col Westmoreland greeted the returning troopers.


New Exhibit & Anthology in September 2017

Inside Out flyer

Joy of Camping

Circe Olson Woessner

When I was a kid, I lived in Germany.  Because my parents were educators, every summer was an opportunity to take a long vacation.  Every other year, we took “re-employment leave,” which meant that we flew back to the States to visit relatives. While there, we enjoyed road trips across the United States, visiting historic sites and monuments.

Other years, we would leave our home in Karlsruhe and drive to exotic places like Italy, Turkey, Greece or Scandinavia. Europe is small enough that we covered quite a lot of distance in six weeks.

Camping is a popular way for military families to see the world. One Brat says, “I saw all of Europe with my brothers from the inside of a pup tent. ”

Elizabeth’s father was an advisor to the Argentine Marine Corps in Buenos Aires from 1969-1972. “My family drove our VW Camper two summers in a row (southern hemisphere summers, so it was in January) from Buenos Aires to San Martin de los Andes. We drove through the vast expanse of the Pampas, small villages, and into parts of Patagonia on mountain roads, taking two weeks and camping along the way, eventually arriving at the most beautiful campsite on a mountain lake.”

Kathy says, “The summer I was 8, we drove from Quantico to Montreal. We drove down 5th Avenue in New York City pulling a utility trailer full of camping gear!”

Sometimes there’s just way too much vacation!

Cynthia remembers, “The summer I was 12, we drove from Essex, England, to John O’Groats (in northern Scotland). We camped and stayed in local B&B’s along the way. No vacation was without my dad getting a LOT of fishing in, so we saw every loch, fish ladder, hatchery, stream, pond, and creek in the whole flippin’ country.”

Cheri says, “When we lived in Turkey, we took a month and drove from Ankara, through Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, and Austria. We set up the tent and took it down 25 times in 30 days! After we got back to Turkey, I think Mom had had her fill of camping, so Dad sold all the camping equipment, thus ending our family camping adventures.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy of Pets

Circe Olson Woessner

Many of us have wayward pet stories, where even years later make us cringe—or smile– like the memory I have back when I was a little girl in Germany. My parents were hosting a dinner party for a French chef and his wife, a German count, and several high-ranking military officials. I had been banished to my room, so as not to disturb the grownups. Somehow, while playing with my parakeet, Petie, he escaped his cage—and my room—and flew down the hall towards the dinner party. Running after him, I burst into the dining room, and watched, horrified, as he careened over the elegant dining table, dodged the lit candles, and then excitedly circled above the guest’ heads–cawing—or chirping—or whatever it is parakeets do—before my father finally captured him in a dish towel and put him back in his cage.

Army veteran Rebecca recalls one Thanksgiving when her cat climbed on the counter and gnawed on the turkey as it lay unattended. Military daughter, Diane, recalls that her cat, Fred, pried open the garbage chute in the kitchen, and became the “Cat Amongst the Walls”. She admits, “we never did get him out of there, but we’d hear him from time to time.” Clare remembers getting her German Shepherd puppy for Christmas. “He managed to get his tail caught in the tree lights and over went the tree.” Read the rest of this entry »