We reported to the S&A at 19:30 hours on 9 January 1985. I issued weapons to the entire unit. We loaded our baggage at 0200 Hours on the 10th (hurry up and wait). Finally at 0900 Hours we loaded the buses and went to Garcia Gymnasium for Customs inspection. At 1030 we went to quarantine in the "holding area" (still at Garcia Gym).
At 1330 we loaded on Greyhound buses and departed, destination Peterson Air Force Base. At 1430 Hrs. 10 January 1985, 747 Flight 15 took off, destination Bangor, Maine (refueling stop) with a final destination of Ramstein AFB Kaiserslautern, West Germany.
There was a lot of ice and snow in Bangor, Maine when we stopped to refuel. We did not get off the plane and I watched out the widow as a crew de-iced our wings. After being deprived of sleep for 24 hours, I slept when the flow of adrenaline slowed. We watched "From Russia With Love" on the flight as we neared our final destination.
While disembarking, the theme from the "Pink Panther" was playing on the planes sound system. We loaded on 11 German buses. One of the soldiers had the bus driver put on a Beatles tape that he had brought along with him. At 1120 Hours we were still sitting on the bus, waiting. Possibly on the second 747 that left Pete Field.
A C-130 loads and takes off. It's now 1200 Hours and we've listened to both sides of the Beatles 1962-1967 cassette. Two more Phantoms take off. A C-5A comes in. The trucks have all our baggage loaded and we're about to pull out. We watched as the nose of the C-5A opened up and very hurriedly, a crew began unloading equipment.
Well, it's 1220 and we're finally pulling out in the buses. After listening to the Beatles (twice), someone puts a new cassette in, the Scorpions. As we exit through the gates we see four German girls in a Citron. I wave and they wave back. Dave smiles and says, "it may be a good thing we brought the army-issued gear". We laughed.
The Blue Team consisted of in-country (Germany based units) USAREUR (U.S. Army Europe): 8th Infantry Division, Bad Kreuznach; 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fulda; 3rd Armored Division, Frankfurt-am-Main.
The Orange Team consisted of incoming U.S. based units 4th Infantry Division (Mech), 5th Infantry Division (Mech), 197th Infantry Brigade.
After riding the bus for about two hours, we arrived at Nahbollenbach, where huge warehouses store vehicles to be drawn and used in the event of war. We started bringing them out of the warehouse at 1730 Hours.
We had brought only our specialized equipment from Colorado. Standard equipment such as trucks, jeeps and trailers were drawn from a very unique storage area. The storage facility was inside a huge mountain!
Much of the equipment was brand new when it was placed inside the mountain in the 1950's and had not seen daylight again until now. Really, the efficiency with which this phase of our operation went, was truly astounding.
The last vehicle was ready to go to the "marshalling area" at 0400 the next morning. The snowfall had stopped in the evening, but the temperature dropped drastically. I learned how to start a jeep for the first time, "depress the clutch and toe the hidden starter button on the floor board".
We arrived at the warehouses in Bebra at approximately 1900 Hours that evening. The trip was an adventure to say the least. The main body had joined us the day before.
As we were fueling the vehicles in preparation for the convoy, we discovered a major problem with our deuce-and-a-half (2½ Ton Truck). It was over-heating. The temperature was in excess of 240°. We carried the truck to the shop where third echelon maintenance is performed by a crew from Kaiserslautern.
The shop was on a nearby German Kaserne. They worked on the truck until about 0200 Hours and thinking they had it fixed, sent us on our way. It over-heated before we got out of the gate good. The mechanic pulled the thermostat out and threw it away without replacing it (due to lack of parts). No thermostat means we will have no heat in the cab of the truck (lucky us).
We barely made it back to the marshalling area in time to leave with the convoy. SFC Stewart and SSG Lurvey were both very nervous. We had to leave two of Stewarts people behind at the shop with his vehicle, which they were unable to repair in time for the convoy.
At the third stop in Darmstadt at a German Kaserne, the convoy left D-6 (Delta-6, that's us) and the POL (fuel) truck behind. SSG Watkins was driving the fuel truck and we were following him as escort (protection). The vehicle in front got too far ahead, Watkins lost sight and made a wrong turn. We followed him.
The wrong turn resulted in a dead-end street with no room to turn around or maneuver the trucks with trailers. SSG Lurvey had taken over at the wheel earlier, as I had been driving for nine hours (with no sleep in 24). Him and Stewart were about to have a nervous fit!
We caught up with the convoy about 45 minutes later on the Frankfurt Autobahn.