stationed in germany during vietnam war

Life athome goes on without them, and it must have been difficult to navigate when they returned, she said. "All the branches of the armed services have always included music as part of their mission. After that, the search was on for as many of these Army bands as they could find. After discharge in 1976, Thornton took his 4-year-old daughter and pregnant wife home to her family and used the GI Bill to earn an a degree in allied health sciences from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The American military presence in Germany began at the end of World War II. A rare photo of East of Underground in performance. WebHere are our top 13 places to see while youre stationed in Germany: (click on any city name below to learn more) 1) Prague, Czech Republic. visit for more resources. At least we all went to the same unit, one guy and I went through basic together. Sign up for a new account in our community. I had an uncle that was drafted out of Brooklyn, NY. There were swimming pools, bars, cheap booze, entertainment, dancers and strippers, American TV. I was going for many reasons, but the most important was to close a chapter of history I felt needed closing, Thornton said. The sky swarmed with helicopters. When I left Korea, the first thing I did when I got to Germany was to find Special Services, which happened to be right next to my barracks," Hitt recalls. The following individuals may qualify for benefits related to Agent Orange exposure: Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to exposure to Agent Orange residue on post-Vietnam C-123 airplanes. They deserve our respect. The NATO maneuver Reforger I (Return of Forces to Germany) in Vilseck/Grafenwhr in 1969 was one of many joint war games held by the US Army and the Bundeswehr. Six out of seven served on bases. This is not about being negative or complaining, but simply having a balanced outlook for your transition. Upon graduating, I was the only one in our Company sent to Ft. Knox Ky.. All of the other Draftees in our class stayed at Ft Lewis in Infantry. "Bear in mind that these bands were all engaged in a show band contest in 1971 and 1972, and the winners of the that contest would then be able to tour Europe, and would also record an LP in the Armed Forces Network studios in Frankfurt. Right, I got you, very interested to know that fine point. 800-829-4833, Veterans Crisis Line: Situated in a remote area with the enemy about 300 yards away over the border, Shkurtis unit was constantly in harms way. Today, he cautions people not to draw quick lessons from the war. They were also stationed in Germany, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, Guam and the continental United States. Some people feel the term Vietnam veteran should refer only to those who served in Vietnam, but the U.S. government defines them all as Vietnam-era veterans according to the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 any veteran who served on active duty during the official time frame of the Vietnam War (1961-1975). Their story got eliminated. I was thinking I would have a better chance of determining where I would be sent.. WebAs the threat of imminent invasion receded in the late 1950s, U.S. Army Engineers continued to build and maintain facilities that supported American and NATO combat power and housed and supported U.S. forces and their families, now permanently stationed in West Germany. In Germany the U.S. military was protecting West Germany against the threat of Russian invasion, but it wasnt imminent, Shkurti said. Saigon was considered relatively safe, but life wasnt easy and violence erupted. Country western music blared all over Saigon, Lomperis said. They wore dirty boots and dog tags hanging around their necks. If you dig into it, it becomes a very grey war, he said. This lasted for 5 months, then we were told, Okanawa. Of his entire graduating platoon, only he and one other trooper were sent to West Germany, all the others got orders to RVN. They were the rear echelon. The Ramstein base is especially significant, since it is also headquarters of the United States Air Forces in Europe. The rule was to always go out in groups of two or three, but I often went by myself unarmed. 2. He was with the 3rd Infantry Division in Schweinfurt. It's also a mystery what happened to the bands apart from Lewis Hitt, none of the members have come forward. It was a game of cat and mouse that almost turned deadly when he was nearly killed by some drunk Vietnamese soldiers, Lomperis said. Outdoor Recreation Center. Even as the war drew down in 1975 and early 1976, the pressure was intense as huge numbers of men came home with addictions and injuries too horrible to really describe, Thornton said. Health Care I didnt carry a gun, Lomperis said. She served me milk and cookies, and we have been together now for 44 years, Thornton said. Since his older two brothers were already serving in Vietnam he was not allowed to go. Given the popular conception that being drafted during Vietnam was a guaranteed ticket to the combat zone, Ive always found it amazing how many of the people I know who served in the Army or USMC during the Vietnam War never actually went to Vietnam. Ask me or any other serviceperson and they will tell you they are proud of their service, Shkurti said. So he was off to Camp Casey and the 9th Infantry Manchu's for 16 months, I was in the same unit a couple of decades after him. US MILITARIA FORUM - COLLECTORS PRESERVING HISTORY When support servicemen crossed paths with combat troops, We felt guilty. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. The mood around the country was not good for the military, not like today with cheers and applause for returning members. They worked in intelligence. The U.S. has had personnel stationed in Germany and South Korea, two of its military allies, for several decades, yet the number of active-duty troops in each country is at a modern low. The winners toured other military bases and made records. would have to use the scheduled bus service to get around the base, Lair wrote in Armed with Abundance.. If youre stuck on the base for days on end, visit the Wild B.O.A.R. I can only speak from my own experiences. So there was a great need for personnel outside South Vietnam through out the entire period, and the refusal to mobilize the Reserves and National Guard only exacerbated the problem. Dave. Not enrolled in the VA health care system? After Nazi Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945, four countries representing the Allies (the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and France) asserted joint authority While older Germans were friendly, younger ones were hostile and aloof, Shkurti said. The liner notes of East of Underground: Hell Below conclude with a sort of benediction, lifted wholesale from the U.S. Army Field Manual: Because of the unique ability of music to communicate, bands will serve in different capacities of publicity and recruiting, and in the support of civil affairs. According to the report, from 1972 to 1982, approximately 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force Reserve personnel trained and worked on C-123 aircraft that previously had been used to spray herbicides, including Agent Orange, in Vietnam. However, their wartime ally, the Soviet Union, soon became an enemy. Thats not how the military works, though. I expected it would be worse in Vietnam, but it was a more satisfying experience, Shkurti said. This includes individuals who performed service in the Air Force or Air Force Reservewho regularly operated, maintained, or served onboard C-123 aircraft known to have been used to spray herbicides during the Vietnam era. You had no say in what your MOS would be. The goal of keeping soldiers well-fed was that they would be happy, stay out of trouble and avoid vices like drugs or prostitution, she said. WebDuring the Vietnam War, the U.S. Air Force used C-123 aircraft to spray Agent Orange to clear jungles that provided enemy cover in Vietnam. People dont understand how consequential the decisions were that were being made at headquarters, he said. Their lot was really rugged, Lomperis said. Based on the HMD report, VA has decided to acknowledge exposure to Agent Orange for personnel whose military service involved regular contact with the contaminated C-123 aircraft. In their spare time, servicepeople could go to the library, join a service club or take a spin on the go-kart track. The challenge was figuring out what the enemy would do. During the war, these men felt like they were part of the military endeavor, but its not what the public celebrates. To make it even more complicated, just what is a combat veteran? Instead of breaking them up, Army brass sent them on tour. Find out if you qualify for VA health care. But as the confrontation between the Soviet Union, our former ally, intensified with the Berlin blockade and the outbreak of the Korean War, American leaders grew fearful that the next target of international communism was Western Europe, which contained our most important democratic allies and a rapidly rebuilding capitalist economy. Good food makes people feel at home, Lair said. At the end of the spraying campaign in 1971, the remaining C-123 planes were reassigned to reserve units in the U.S. for routine cargo and medical evacuation missions spanning the next 10 years. Those aircraft were used for military airlift, medical transport, and cargo transport operations in the United States and internationally. Deploy network infrastructure faster and easier than ever before, with pre-packaged yet massively scalable infrastructure components for top packet and optical systems. At the height of the Vietnam War, Ali refused induction into the United States Army, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to the conflict. The high rate may have been attributed to our being an Infantry MOS, but the only way you didn't go to Vietnam was because of the above reasons. Powered by Invision Community, Vietnam Era Draftees Stationed in W.Germany, South Korea, and CONUS, US MILITARIA FORUM - COLLECTORS PRESERVING HISTORY. Still, a ration card would allow personnel to buy $2,000 to $3,000 worth of goods, she said. But in Vietnam, the Cold War became an inferno. They would tell him not to go down certain streets because it wasnt safe, so you would know something was brewing there, Lomperis said. After completing Field Artillery Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Shkurti was sent to Germany not Vietnam. Mastering these complicated and delicate international arrangements, EUD accomplished a large and complex construction program, especially during the 1980s. East of Underground was one such band a multiracial, seven-piece group stationed in Germany at the tail end of the Vietnam War. East of Underground was one such band a multiracial, seven-piece group stationed in Germany at the tail end of the Vietnam War. Combat veterans offered a truly unique and special contribution to the war, but that doesnt mean it wasnt a sacrifice for people who served as support, Lair said. None would be here if Vietnam never happened, so it creates bittersweet feelings but no regrets, Thornton said. I had surgery shortly after the fire, then spent convalescent leave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. American expenditures on construction in Europe declined sharply. Your message has not been sent. The Office of History, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Army Center of Military History jointly published this book,Building for Peace: U.S. Army Engineers in Europe, 1945-1991 written by Robert P. Grathwol and Donita Moorhus. This is the official public website of the Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The question became: When will someone tell what my war was like? Lair said. Is it if you might be in danger of a mortar attack versus projecting violence and delivering it to the enemy? His unit lost more men to overdose and traffic accidents in Germany than to combat in Vietnam. Here are a few of their stories. He remembers his commanding officer Abrams as a political genius who turned the war around.. David Hollander produced the compilation. One of the biggest lessons Dr. "The song selection includes songs that were playing in the States, and very much expressed the countercultural sentiments of political resistance in this country at that time," Hollander says. Most of all, Army bands will strive to honor General George Washington's observation, "Nothing is more agreeable and ornamental than good music. Drug abuse, overdoses, crime and traffic accidents led to several deaths within his unit. I know that was very dependent upon where you called home, but that was my reality, Thornton said. He now is an adjunct professor in the John Glenn College of Public Service. Its important for people to know they exist. I assisted a medical officer suture up a Marine after a bar fight who was so drunk he didnt need an anesthetic. and child care facility in Bad Kreuznach, West Germany (right). The songs East of Underground played weren't your run-of-the-mill patriotic marches in fact, some of them included controversial lyrics about race and politics. The band formed while its members were stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War. They wore fatigues and carried M16s. In Vietnam everyone knew everyone and what job they had. 3) Paris, France. WebThe Vietnam War exposed this problematic dimension in the U.S.-German relationship most dramatically. We had each other, and we understood it takes so much honor to serve during the tough times. 7th Army in particular suffered heavily, especially with loses of combat arms NCOs Then The war changed and dealt cruelty to many families, not just mine, but I have seen the sadness in my fathers eyes, and we both know what is there, and what is missing.. During the war, in-country combat and support troops could be identified on sight, said author Timothy Lomperis, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam in the Army and Defense Intelligence Agency. This large and rapid buildup required a tremendous amount of construction, carried out by Army Engineers and largely financed by occupied Germany. TCDD, the toxic substance in Agent Orange, may be inhaled as an aerosol or ingested by contaminated food or water or from hand-to-mouth transfer. 7) Cologne, Germany. They proudly served their country, but were derided by combat troops as REMFs or rear echelon mother (insert expletive here), Appy said. The tensions between the two sides were demonstrated when US Army and Soviet Union tanks faced off in a divided Berlin. Its easy to forget how large a US military presence in West Germany and Korea was maintained during the late 60s and early 70s aside from the forces fighting in Vietnam. He is seen here waving to his fans at Bremerhaven train station. Maybe they didnt risk their lives but they risked risking their lives, said Meredith Lair, a Vietnam War historian at George Mason University and author of Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War, which examines the non-combat experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam. He could take that information back to the base. In the late 65 through 1966, the Army Divisions outside of Vietnam, specifically CONUS and West Germany were hemorrhaging personnel for service in South Vietnam, these being primarily if not exclusively volunteers, these numbers had to be made good. Hitt says he had already been in one Army band by the time he joined the group. My middle brother died five years ago from extended PTSD and the ravages of the drug addiction he endured while trying to cope with his memories from Vietnam. One of the toughest parts of service was seeing people whose lives were ruined or lost because of the war, he said. Call: 988 (Press 1), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs | 810 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington DC 20420. Responding to these concerns, VA asked the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) (formally known as the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to study possible exposure and increase in adverse health effects in C-123 crew members. He served as budget director for the state of Ohio from 1985 to 1987. Ukraine updates: Zelenskyy urges more effective air defense, Ukraine: Russia continues to target civilian sites, Ukraine's counteroffensive: Goals, opportunities, risks. Engineers and USACE remained in Europe, still proud of their contribution to defending Western Europe and ending the Cold War. Those recordings were lost for decades, until a collector discovered an East of Underground LP in 1997. That was where I met my wife. Active duty personnel who served in a regular USAF unit location where a contaminated C-123 was assigned who had regular contact with the aircraft through flight, ground, or medical duties between 1969 and 1986, and who developed an Agent Orange related disability. He was friendly with street urchins who would badger him for chocolate and other small treats. Additionally, not all Vietnam-era veterans served in-country. As the Soviet system, like the Berlin Wall, collapsed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it appeared that American and allied forces in Europe had accomplished their mission without war. Reflecting back, Im more skeptical whether a war of choice can help defend a country in the long run. WebThe conventional wisdom was that everybody carried a rifle, patrolled the jungle and faced death daily, but thats false, said William Shkurti, who served as an artillery officer in a remote area about 300 yards from the Cambodian border in fall 1970. I ask this because many guys of draft age enlisted, enlisted specifically for three years to chose their MOS, and in a great many cases avoid serving in South Vietnam. The enemy was the Soviet Union and the other signatories of the Warsaw Pact, including the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany. The Vietnam War was a long, costly and divisive conflict that pitted the communist government of North Vietnam against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. Lewis Hitt played guitar in East of Underground. GRAFENWOEHR, Germany More than 30 veterans of the Vietnam War living in Germany were awarded pins Tuesday by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in recognition of their service. An official website of the United States government, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters Website, About the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters Website, Historical Vignette 105 - Engineers Played an Important Role in Europe During the Cold War, Deactivated Nuclear Power Plant Program (DNPPP), Regional Environmental and Energy Offices REEOs, Industry Information Re: COVID-19 Support, Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans, Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, Humphreys Engineer Center Support Activity, G-1 Reserve Component Augmentation, Office of Human Resources Directorate, Hosted by Defense Media Activity - was told," you are going to Germany, get your wives in german class". Then, there was the shopping. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Air Force used C-123 aircraft to spray Agent Orange to clear jungles that provided enemy cover in Vietnam. German Chancellor Gerhard Schrder, knowing the majority of voters supported him, ruled out Germany's involvement. His unit in Germany lacked the leadership and necessities to get their job done, he said. Many celebrities joined in the protests. ". WebActivated during the Vietnam War, the Brigade oversaw all Military Police operations in the country for a large portion of the conflict, undertaking a wide variety of missions throughout the country and providing command and control for other military police groups in the region. Morale was bad, and there were racial problems, Shkurti said. An average of 311,870 troops were stationed in Europe per year during 19861990. The American military presence in Germany began at the end of World War II. On leave, Thornton would head home to see family and friends, but the war changed things. He also wrote the liner notes, which reveal a surprising fact: The U.S. Army spends an estimated $200 million a year on music, and is the largest single employer of musicians in the country. I was able to get into a band there. Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadron), Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts (731st Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, International Airport (758th Airlift Squadron). Tomorrow is too unpredictable, especially during deployment, he said. After graduating AIT at Fort Knox I was sent to their NCO Armor School. In the early years, dances were held on the streets of Berlin in summer months and in winter, the US Army organized Christmas parties for local children. There are different degrees of experience. 4) The Alps Swiss, German or French. Only about one out of seven were combat troops, said historian Chris Appy, history professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst. have hearing loss. 2) Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Brutal tactics were the norm during the Vietnam War, and no one suffered more than the Vietnamese themselves, both in the North and the South. Once we got our orders, the guy Just below me went to Germany. Its ironic because we were there to protect them. The guys with the beer with hot food and hot showers, Appy said. Like suburban sprawl, the largest American bases just kept getting bigger, Lair said. Supercharge your procurement process, with industry leading expertise in sourcing of network backbone, colocation, and packet/optical network infrastructure. I thought, hot dog, going to go relic hunting. Opposition to the war made military personnel band together. Grafenwoehr is a tiny base compared to almost anywhere youve been stationed in the US. It was a huge fire. In addition to meeting locals, walks off-base could provide valuable intelligence. Along with its allies, the US had liberated Germany from the Nazis. It's kind of both complicated and disjointed, it was a struggle to be sure. "I'm just amazed that [the band's] three singers didn't have hit records after they left the Army. We wore different uniforms. In retirement he wrote Soldiering On in a Dying War focusing on the Vietnam drawdown and The Ohio State University in the Sixties.. May 31, 2017 in MILITARY HISTORY DISCUSSIONS. Built over time for more than $130 million, Long Binh eventually had 3,500 buildings and 180 miles of road covering an area bigger than Cleveland. HMD released its report, Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft, Jan. 9, 2015. Many veterans struggled with feeling that their experience didnt measure up. Im also more respectful of what servicepeople endure. Along with its allies, the US had liberated Germany from the Nazis. Lomperis served two tours of duty in Vietnam in the Army and Defense Intelligence Agency. So many popular movies feature the combat side of war ground combat or maybe the air war. The cover of East of Underground's self-titled LP. Veterans (including some Reservists) who state that they flew on or worked on a C-123 aircraft between 1969 and 1986 are eligible for the Agent Orange Registry. Some 20 years later, US President George W. Bush went to war with Iraq over its alleged program to develop weapons of mass destruction. You need to be a member in order to leave a comment. With two sons already in the war, they felt I should not go. Long Binh was not a standard base, but it was home to the Armys Vietnam headquarters and showed the abundance and consumerism that was possible to create. The guys with the gear in the rear. For the next 17 years the Europe Division of the Corps executed the Army and Air Force construction programs in Europe and supported the NATO construction program. Peace activists, however, saw them as a threat and held massive demonstrations. I talked to many men who felt sheepish that they didnt have those (combat) stories to share, Lair said. Out of our entire class I believe two, maybe three guys got orders for Korea. At least in our case. In response the Corps of Engineers drastically reduced the size of EUD and reconstituted it as the Europe District. Another difference was the sense of solidarity he felt. Napoleon said, An army marches on its stomach, and the U.S. military followed his advice. The experience that most people likely associate with Vietnam is the horror and deprivation of war, so its ironic that that wasnt the real experience of most Vietnam veterans, Lair said. There were more prostitutes than bureaucrats, and every kind of club and bar from high-class to low-class. Hollander says it's not a mistake to read a hint of resistance into the band's repertoire. Boy, I thought I had it made, Shkurti said with a small laugh. Upon graduating they lined us and announced that if your last name started with A through J your orders were Germany and K through Z your orders were Vietnam. There werent enough NCOs (non-commissioned officers), not enough support or spare parts. This was because they had relatives (brothers) already serving in Vietnam. The entire emphasis is on the narrow combat experience, Lair said. The men and women at the main bases such as Saigon, Cam Ranh, Da Nang, Bien Hoa and Long Binh had a fairly sedentary life and plenty of downtime compared to combat soldiers, Lair said. They were so talented, I just assumed they would have a contract with the first studio they walked into.". I worked in an air-conditioned office and wore khakis, starched shirts, spit-shined shoes and a belt with a shiny brass buckle. At any moment all hell could break loose, Lair said. They were clerk typists, cooks, drivers. Dotted around US bases are numerous residential districts for American soldiers and their families, such as this residential district in Wiesbaden-Erbenheim. The big problem was that Saigon was Sodom and Gomorrah. In 1972 Thornton enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17 and trained to be a hospital corpsman. For military intelligence officer Timothy Lomperis, the constant whup, whup, whup of helicopters flying overhead is one of many things that stand out in his mind about the time he spent helping make critical war decisions in Saigon serving under Gen. Creighton Abrams, commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, from 1968 to 1972. Why is Netflix pouring billions into South Korean shows? Abook describes and analyzes the important Engineer effort in Europe. The family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where they have been for the past 40 years. "I've done my own searches on Google and so forth, but I cannot find anything," Hitt says. sarcasm examples for kids, cheap tiny house kits australia,

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stationed in germany during vietnam war

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