My first job was as a mail clerk and I took
the place of a few sergeants and other guys who had already left.
Soon, I was handling the US mail, the files and distribution for the
command and, before I left, the Secret Documents. We worked down the
hill in the town. Our headquarters had a building and further down the
road, the XII Tac Air had another building so, as the paperwork, files
and reports went back and forth, so did I! All of this was right by
the little river in the park area. (apparently Luitpold Park)
Seeing so much paper had a lot of advantages;
when a report came in that surplus Army jeeps were being liquidated
for $200 at a Frankfurt Depot, I made sure I had my money and trip
ticket ready to go before THAT notice was posted. I bought a jeep with
only 8 miles on it, had a local German fashion a roof and was off to
the races. It sure beat the duty bus or walking all the time. Gas was
a problem so I just used it in town but it was a great memory.
I spent so much time with the staff sections
of both the 64th and the Xll Tac I came to know many of the officers,
I recall the Xll had a general I’d see on occasion; I knew our
commander, Col. Henry W. Dorr and the Chief of Staff, Col. Riddle from
Texas. One day, I went with Colonel Dorr to see the Nuremberg war
trials. I would sometimes drive for him but often, he wanted to drive
so .... I was the passenger. He would attend his meetings and I would
guard the car.
As I recall, the barracks was in pretty good
shape; it had a roof and heat which was more than you could say for a
lot of Germany! We ate in the old German mess hall and although I am
sure I did my share of guard duty, fire watch, floor cleaning and
kitchen duty, I recall it now as a great time. Living in the other
barracks buildings were the men of the Xll Tac Air, an Army Air Force
communication unit, a transportation unit and, near the end of my
stay, Constabulary troops who no one liked because of all the rules
they enforced. My room was just up the stairs on the first floor (HHT
/ Squadron Staff area), you went past the telephone exchange room and
I had a big place I shared with only two other guys.
I think like all soldiers, I wanted something
interesting to do during the day, something good to eat and activities
at night. This all happened while I was there. In town was a USO
center that was open every day and you could read, play cards and
games and find other activities. There were American women there as
employees and one of them was my regular bridge partner. Very near by
was the " Town and Country Club ". This was the enlisted soldier’s
club for all of us in Bad Kissingen. It was located in a very formal
German building by the river and they had all sorts of entertainment
to include traveling bands and special Holiday Shows. And then ... we
had our "own" club ...
It was built before I got there, but up in the
attic, on the forth floor of our barracks was the "Hey ... Hey! Hi Ho!
The Goose Hangs Lo " club. We had a big banner over a professional bar
that had been "liberate" from somewhere. I have no idea after 55 years
what significance the banner had ... we thought it was funny. Sergeant
Major Jahnke was in charge of it and we even had a German bar tender.
It was only for the enlisted men of the 64th and the liquor came from
the Officer’s Club. They over requisitioned to stock our bar and we
were never lacking! The bar had a piano and a record player ... we
decorated the area during the holidays.
Bad Kissingen was very beautiful and had been
spared any serious destruction in the war. I recall that the railway
station was being re-built, it had been hit by a stray bomb when the
air crews used Bad Kissingen as the "turning point" following the
attacks on Schweinfurt. The people were surprisingly friendly and
although we were not supposed to "fraternize", most of us did and had
no problems. I loved to play golf and my parents sent me a few sleeves
of unused pre war golf balls. I traded these to the pro at the local
golf club for lessons and the chance to play and he thought it was
great. I spent many afternoons playing on the course down by the river
valley and remember some of the lessons to this day! I also played on
the basketball team and traveled on some weekends as far as Berlin. I
was always amazed at the level of destruction and returning to Bad
Kissingen was like returning to another country.
What money we had, went a long way plus we
had cigarettes and other things to trade as needed. First we used old
German marks, but then that was forbidden so we used the Army printed
‘script‘ money but the French started a counterfeit operation so all
the old script was turned in ... then we received "red stripe scrip "
with red threads built into the paper. This made counterfeiting almost
impossible. So, to get a local meal or beer was easy enough as the
town tried to get things running again. Certain restaurants were
designated as OK for troops to use and they did a good business.
The only time I saw long faces was when we
tried to "date" German girls and the former soldiers who were drifting
back to town gave us dirty looks. This was the only time I ever saw
anyone not happy with us.
When I received orders to return to the USA,
the rumors were flying that the 64th would soon be leaving Germany. I
learned later that they moved to Newfoundland in Canada not too long
after I left. At some point, the XII Air Command moved on also.
After returning to the USA, I took some
college courses and then into the Air Force jet pilot training
program. I washed out at the last "cut" and was offered the chance to
go to Navigator and Bombardier School or resign. At that point, my
career in commercial radio began!
I graduated from the University of Houston in
1950 and spent my working years in commercial AM and FM radio first in
Houston and then in Victoria, Texas. I was both an on air personality
and worked behind the scenes, I also worked as a teacher in the Texas
school system and now, long retired, still run a miniature golf
course. Married for 48 years, I enjoy my children and grandchildren
Red Cross girls who ran the USO in Bad
Kissingen. Ann, in front, was a ferry pilot
and my bridge partner.
Here we are on the fourth floor, the attic, our
own squadron enlisted man's club, the "Hi Ho!".
Sergeant Major Jahnke made it all work, to
include a professional bar with running water
and a beer tap!
Here is Julius, our German bartender. He had
the run of the place and would bring beer
to our barracks rooms on occasion. Sergeant
Major took care of his pay.
New Years Party 1947 in the Hi Ho Club, from
PFC Spesk, Corporals Riley, McCaskill and
White, Sgt Key. In front, Sgt Algis and Sergeant
Here is the Town and Country Club, the
enlisted man's club for all the troops in
Bad Kissingen. It was close to where we
worked, in the Luitpold Park area. A very
nice setting as we get ready for a
Christmas party 1947.
Looking back in the other direction in the
Town and Country Club. They are set up
for a traveling band at the party; the bar area
was in the middle of the room.
Here I am, Bill " Rascal " McCaskill as a
corporal in 1947 at Bad Kissingen, ready
for another day of adventures. Fifty -
five years later, I am still a Rascal and
still having adventures!