Friday, January 6, 2012

FOR TODAY

Morpheus decided to pay a belated visit to my house this morning.

Although there is much in the news for comment; by the time I hit my computer it was too late to post even a semi-serious opined blog. My January 6 resolution will be to cut down on game watching this week end and try to write something constructive in at least three fields; Local political affairs which will be reinforced by the agenda for Monday night’s Council meeting,; National politics especially the Republican New Hampshire primary and tonight’s debate. ; The renewed media interest in the State’s BOEs especially with the background checks. I will review this issue from a local aspect ASAP.

Plainfield’s own Board and the PSS as a whole has been the subject of a crusade for reform carried out by Maria in her blog. The Public has not paid enough attention to the dysfunctional structure of the biggest tax money user in the community. There seems to be a complete lack of consistent policy and adherence to State mandates protocol by PSS and a lack of transparency (honesty?) to the public which was the base upon which the SLAM was given control of the Board. Are we any better off today than we were three years ago?

Yesterday, my Hot Water Heater Maven was trying to fix a quirk in the system. When he completed, his operation; he, my Superintendent of Domestic Neatness and myself became involved in a little bull session about the weather and cold winters. The plumber having noted my bumper sticker mentioned that his father had served in an attached Third Army (Patton’s) Recon unit and had fought in the bulge where the snow in places was hip deep. That serendipitously reminded of an incident from my Berlin days.

When I became the Doc; The 376th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion medical detachment consisted of 5 enlisted men, two Jeep's, an illegal ambulance not listed on the “T/E”, and two apparently untouched trunks of aid station equipment and supplies, which I neither inventoried or disturbed.. The ambulance which had been abandoned by the retreating Americans in the “Bulge” was supposed, on recovery, to have been returned to its original outfit. Somehow the original organizational description had been painted over and replaced by the battalion’s

When the 82nd division was replaced in mid December by a permanent occupation force, we left Berlin in convoy. In each Jeep there were two of my men, I, accompanied by the fifth enlisted man, drove the heated ambulance. I held a rarity, an officer’s driver’s license. On the bridge over the Elbe River, the boundary between the Russian and the British zones, the water pump failed, with serious consequences.

This was not unusual for the Dodge 3/4 ton trucks. Since the fan blade sheared off and punctured the radiator, we were incapacitated. We were given the choice of being towed back to Berlin or to Frankfurt where there also were heavy maintenance shops.

There were no second thoughts; we were not going to go back through the Russian zone. Instead, we had a wild ride hitched behind a 2 1/2 ton truck, going like a bat out of hell, down the autobahn. Several times, where the highway bridge had been destroyed, we had to detour down steep dirt roads to temporary bridges. We tried three shops before we found one who, for one bottled of my “Berlin brand cognac” (probably just grain alcohol with brown coloring,) in the middle of the night replaced the radiator and pump. Then we took off cross-country (despite concerns of "werewolves") in order to join the battalion by the morning near Liege.

From there we went to some place (I don’t remember) in France. We were given the choice, if eligible, to stay with the Division and parade down 5th Ave NYC or individually go back early through Marseilles. Despite General Gavin’s appeal to remain with his division, many others and I elected to get home ASAP. A MAC officer relieved me. It was now his responsibility to get rid of our unaccounted for ambulance.

Would you like a few more Berlin and WWII briefs?

3 comments:

  1. Yes, Doc, please provide more of these reminiscences!

    Rebecca

    ReplyDelete