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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


SHAPE, my next duty station, was in such a hurry to get me over and working that they had me flown there instead of the usual slow troop ship. Our plane left McGuire Air Force Base on Friday, September 2nd 1960, about 1 pm. We flew to a base in Newfoundland, arriving about 5 or 6 o’clock and refueled. We flew over the Atlantic all night, landing in Paris about 8:30 am on Saturday the 3rd. There is about six hours time difference, as best as I remember. These dates and times are not from my memory but are mentioned in paperwork and letters that I still have in my keepsake files.

Someone in a staff car came and picked us up (one other and myself) and transported us to our new bases. On the drive from the airport to the base it was so odd to see all those foreign cars. It was Labor Day weekend and I was given a temporary place to sleep until the folks in charge came back to work on Tuesday. Arriving on foreign soil, I was fully expecting to go to work within the next day or two, but such was not the case. In a classic Army SNAFU, my security clearance was incomplete and I had to wait for it to come through channels.

As you may or may not be aware, “waiting” in the Army involves more than just that. One other guy and myself were put on “detail” for almost two months. The term “detail” was miscellaneous in nature and involved any activity that the Company Commander or the sergeant in charge could think of, up to and including the white washing of the barracks in which we resided – this chore lasted several days. One day we got tired of whitening the barracks and after one thing led to another, we both wound up white from head to toe – fortunately it did wash off. This exercise in whiteness did break the monotony for a while.

Other chores included “policing the area” – this was the picking up of trash, even minute bits, off the grounds – and KP – kitchen police, a slave of the mess sergeant for the day. This latter task was one of my least favorite jobs in the Army, not because the work was so hard – even though it was – but that it lasted so long – the word interminable does come to mind.

The barracks in which we resided were part of an international camp located a mile or so away from my eventual workplace. Besides Americans, there were British, French and a small number of Germans residing in our cozy little fenced in area away from home. Other than our necessary living quarters and mess hall, we had a motor pool, a movie theatre, NCO club (they wouldn’t let me in there, probably a good thing), and a NAFFI – the English version of a USO. This latter was a place that us lower ranked peons could frequent. It had a PX, snack bar, entertainment facilities, games (pool and shuffleboard tables, etc.) and a small gym.

There must have been a chapel somewhere, either on our base or the main base, but I wasn’t concerned enough about that at the time to even determine whether or not this was true. It seemed that my interests were in the other experiences of life.

TBC - ec


Blogger country-gospel-singer said...

I was at Goose Bay, Labrador in 1962. Did you go through on the way to Newfoundland? My first job was in the Base Exchange! I worked behind the gun & fishing counter. Waited on all the men who were TDY. I was living with my uncle Dennis Cessna. He was the fire inspector. I went to church only one time while there, on Easter Sunday. All the GI's hated Goose Bay!! LOL Blessings, Janie Marie

3/28/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

It was a flyover from New Jersey and we just stopped in Newfoundland for fuel. That was the only time I have ever touched down in that part of the world. Wouldn't mind going back someday though. ec

3/28/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Mr Eddie ~~ Good story again, and lots of memories - not all good.
I like how you have all those keepsakes. Good for future generations.
Glad you liked the bagpipes and advice on praying -- I aim to please with the variety!. Cheers, Merle.

3/29/2006 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

merle - Some memories are pleasant and some not so much so - sometimes the scars of the past are there to remind to never go those ways again. ec

3/29/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

just stopping by

3/29/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

david - Thanks for the visit. ec

3/29/2006 04:00:00 PM  

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