Co D, 33d Tank Bn. ('55-60)
On the day of our arrival in Gelnhausen, Germany, (Jun
'56) it was my luck to be on guard duty before I could even
unpack. I remember, when it was my turn I was awakened in the
middle of the night, quickly got dressed, grabbed my weapon and was
driven in a jeep for about 20 minutes into what seemed like the middle
of a large forest. When we finally stopped I could see in the headlights
that we were in a quarry. I was told that I had to guard the huge
Army crane setting there and I would be relieved in two hours.
Once the jeep left I
was all alone in the darkness. What an eerie feeling. I had no idea
where I was. It was cool and damp and I climbed into the cabin of the
crane. The night was pitch black. The wind was stirring up the trees and
the bushes. Sometimes I heard the breaking of small branches, as if
someone or something was wandering around. I turned on the
weak flashlight but couldn't see anything.
it was quite scary... even for me who had grown up in Germany and who
knew there were no Nazis or Russians roaming around the forest at night.
More noises -- I gripped my .45 grease gun tighter. Should I
challenge -- shout "Halt! Who goes there?"
Then I saw it ... three deer only about 15 feet from me. What a relief!
I heard from other guards that they felt quite spooky in the quarry.
Some were imagining things at this remote post on their first night in
Germany. They hadn't really met any Germans yet and didn't know if all
I was glad when after two hours the jeep with the guard relief
came. I heard later, that some guard even had fired at something
that he thought moved.
Later in the daytime the next
morning, I found out that the quarry wasn't very deep into the woods --
only a mile or so up the hill from the Schiesshaus at Hailer-Meerholz, a
favorite restaurant for many.
the daytime the well-cared woods and the picturesque quarry looked quite
inviting with the trees and bushes in full bloom.