Thursday, February 4, 2016

REFORGER 1978 Back in 3rd CAB Country

The A Troop, 2/17th Cavalry came to Germany and went to work on getting their aircraft ready for tactical deployment in Gibelstadt.

From here, I sent a photo story to Stars and Stripes about a soldier by the name of Wertheim who wanted to go to Wertheim, Germany. I was published two days later.

"Just like the old days, SGT Edwards, " remarked the editor of Stars and Stripes. Yeah, I was back.

My CO had purchased $20 worth of slide film. He didn't know it, but it was about to become $20 worth of Official Army slide film.

So, we're breaking down our staging area, someone yelled Atren Hut, followed by an at ease and a question, "Is there a Sergeant Edwards in here?"

And I'm thinking, Okay, how much trouble can you get into just writing a single story about a soldier going to Wertheim?

"Yes, sir."

"Go report to General Brown."


So I walked up to this 1 star, saluted him. And he asked, "Do you have film in that Camera?"

I'm thinking, no, I just run around with a camera on my shoulder,  did MG John M, Brandenburg coach you to say this, cause that's  what he used ask me.

"Yes sir, I do."

"Good because you are now the official Task Force 229th photographer.  The original one got his leg crushed between a tractor and a trailer."

"Any questions."

"Yes, sir, just one. My CO purchased the color slide film."

He got a bit testy, "You tell that major that if he has any trouble with this to come talk to me."

"Yes, sir," I said, saluted, did an about face and walked a way.  There was a slight grin on my face.
Okay, it might have been a bit devious, too.

"He said what?" asked my CO trying to figure out what just happened as his fellow officers proceeded to laugh hysterically.

"And he told me that if you have a problem with it to go talk to him".

"Well, I'm not going to do that. Okay, go do your thing. If you need any help, let me know."

The coolest thing I've ever done in my life was to go out with the Blue Platoon, drop off the motorcycles and land in a designated pick up spot.

Only one big problem. The pickup spot just down the road from a battalion of our opposing forces tanks who were working their way down a thick tree lined back road.

We could hear them but couldn't see them.

"Sir, I don't think this was a good place to land,"

"What do you mean? "

"Well, since I don't think it's an earthquake, I suspect that we've got a lot of tanks around us.

"I'm going to check it out. If I do the haul butt, hand sign, we've got to go."

So, walked up to the corner and just out of sight of the UH-1H were a lot of turrets and a single E-6 in front walking them down the hill.

I walked up to him and asked if I could take his picture and told him I was part of the press corps and doing a story for EurArmy Magazine.

"Are you sure you're not the enemy."

"Being part of the press corp makes me neither friend or foe, Sergeant, you ought to know that."

And then I pulled out my notepad and started asking the usual who, what, when where and why.

I got his name, thanked him and walked away.

Once I got out of site, I did the haul ass hand sign and by the time I got into the chopper, we we pulling pitch and gaining altitude over the tree line.

Unfortunately, a Referee in a jeep saw us and we were forced to land.

Well, I almost pulled it off and I got to admit, it was fun playing a spy:)

As for my photography work:

MG John M. Brandenburg sent me a letter of appreciation and I got reassigned to Division Support Command in an E-7 slot.

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