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15 Guten Tag, West Germany┬╗ September 1957-May 1959 Ramstein Air Base, the home of 12th Air Force, was across the autobahn from Landstuhl, a small country town next to which Ramstein's airfield, hangars, and runways were located, and a few miles from Kaiserslautern, a slightly larger but still small country town in central West Germany. In preparing myself for the upcoming tour of duty in Deutschland, I had read some materials available at the personnel office at Headquarters, CONAC that were given to troops going overseas. Most helpful, however, was an issue of Life magazine that featured West Germany and the various festivals celebrated there during a year's time. I was most impressed with the vivid description, accompanied by colorful pictures, of Oktoberfest and Fasching, a pre-Lenten festival that seemed like Mardi Gras a la Allemagne. It sounded interesting and exciting and helped to counterbalance the apprehension I felt when I first received my PC S orders to go to Germany. Memories die hard. Especially memories that carry pain. Like memories of the German PWs going into the PX cafeteria at Walterboro in 1944 when I couldn't; the German PWs at the gas station at Godman Field who were chewed out by my German-fluent friend, Captain Jim Redden, when he heard them insulting us with ethnic slurs, in German, in 1945; the loss of sixty-six of my 'Skegee buddies fighting the Germans during WWII; the "Mein Kampf" Aryan superiority arrogance-I wondered if it had survived the war and was still to be confronted in postwar Germany. 319 320 Arriving at Ramstein Air Base the day after my birthday, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a lot like Yokota had been during my tour in the Far East eight years before: a friendly place. From the men and women in uniform, some officers and enlisted men and women from other nations-Canadians, French, West Germans-but mostly Americans, to the local German civilians working in various jobs on the base, almost all were congenial. Ramstein was the home of Headquarters, 12th Air Force, U SAFE (United States Air Force, Europe). Major General Gabriel P. Disosway was commanding general. My former squadron commander, now Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., was his deputy chief of staff for operations (Des /0). That was an especially pleasant surprise for me because my duty assignment was to the staff of the director of intelligence who reported to the Des /0. Thus I would be working for "the Old Man" again, albeit indirectly. However, now it would be more appropriate to refer to him as "General Ben," as many at Ramstein had taken to doing. I did not get to meet him again until I had been at Ramstein for about a week. Meanwhile, once I had cleared in on base-assigned to a two-room suite in the B 0 Q, sharing an interconnecting bathroom with another officer, and squared away with the base operations people for my regular flying proficiency activities- I found that there were a fair number of "old-timers" from the TuskegeeGodman -Lockbourne era: Majors Bill Kelley and Bob King were both in the communications directorate at the headquarters, Dudley "Fearless Fosdick" Watson was in operations, and Harold Hayes was plying his professional skills in meteorology on the headquarters staff. The director of intelligence at 12th Air Force headquarters was Colonel Bill Adams, an old intelligence hand who had cut his S-2 eyeteeth during World War II and who knew his business. When I reported for duty a command-wide exercise was in progress and all of the staff sections of the headquarters had only a skeleton staff on duty in the headquarters building at Ramstein. The bulk of their people were at "the Cave" conducting simulated war operations around the clock.┬ź A-Train "The Cave" was the popular nickname for the Combat Operations Center, or CO C, where, in the event of war in Europe, air operations involving NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) forces would be controlled and monitored. Dug out of the side of a small mountain about ten miles from Ramstein, "the Cave" had once served Nazi army units as an ammo dump during World War II, a storage warehouse for medical supplies by British occupying forces after the war, and currently as the Combat Operations Center. After a couple days of orientation at the intelligence directorate at the headquarters building at Ramstein, I was detailed...


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