Special Stories / Photos
These pages are for
special stories, pictures and trivia submitted by site visitors and
related to the units at Daley Barracks, the border mission, and the
Bad Kissingen area.
Sam Carlson, CPT, USA (Ret)....
again - June 2012
I'd send a little update since the last time I contributed to
little catch-up reminder. I was assigned to HHT (S2), 2/11 in
about April 1977 where I worked as the Asst Intel NCO, then
later as the Intel NCO and eventually as the Border NCO. In
June 1978, the then CPT Jack Taretella swore me in when I
received a direct commission as a 2LT/MP/USAR. At about the
same time I was promoted to SFC, USA and moved to the 3d Armored
Davison since there was no billet in the 11th ACR for the MOS in
which I was promoted. I eventually retired in 1987 as 1SG (USA)
/ CPT (USAR)
some interesting twists and turn in my life after 9/11. In 2005
(at age 58) I was recalled out of retirement and put back on
active duty to command a counterintelligence unit at Fort Meade
directly supporting GWOT. I retired again two years later but
after only three months being retired I received the call to go
back on active duty for deployment to Afghanistan where I served
with the 82d Airborne for six months, then with the 101st
Airborne for the last six months of that deployment. I returned
to CONUS to retire for the third time in September 2008.
December 2008 I was processed again for another retiree recall
and a return trip to Afghanistan. This time I was to report to
Fort Drum to deploy with the 3d Infantry Brigade Combat Team,
10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). I deployed to
Afghanistan with a contingent of the 10th Mtn in April 2009 and
wound up with some great jobs... Brigade Asst S2 for Current
Operations, S2/S3 Battle Captain for the 4/25 Field Artillery Bn,
and finally as the Intel advisor to an Afghan National Army
This photo was
taken during a convoy break outside of Camp Blackhorse a bit east of
Kabul in November 2009. Thirty-one years after leaving the 2/11 ACR,
I still found myself being associated with it again in one manner or
Afghanistan I managed to meet up with my son, 1SG Sam Carlson, who
was bringing in his unit to Afghanistan. Notice the photo of the
two of us... his assigned unit patch... 11th ACR!
returned to Fort Drum on the last flight of the 3d IBCT, 10th
Mtn and retired for a 4th time (at age 63) in March 2010. The
10th Mountain Division asked for me to return to Afghanistan on
their 2011 deployment, but it was turned down by HQ DA. Had
that happened, I planned to visit the Brigade Surgeon on my 65th
Birthday in January 2012 to ask her if she accepted MEDICARE.
Tony Calder - February 2012
This is a short story from my Army days--not even a story at all
really, so much as just an anecdote I have never forgotten to
It was probably 1977, and I was 20 years old. I was in downtown
Bad Kissingen, Germany one late summer day, in full uniform,
black beret. I'd walked downtown to do a little shopping and was
making my way back to Daley barracks, but taking my time. The
air was crisp but still warm enough, the sky was clear, the sun
was bright; it was a perfect Bad Kissingen day. People were
milling about everywhere on the cobblestone streets. Seemed
everybody was happy.
I paused at the window of a shop, looking at the wares in the
display. As I stood there a figure shuffled up beside me with an
odd gait. I didn't pay him much mind, but glanced over at him
for a moment. He was an older gentleman, gray hair, somewhat
stooped. I nodded and smiled at him, kind of tipped my beret at
him and said, "Guten tag."
He settled next to me and stopped there at my right elbow. I
focused my gaze back to the storeroom window display, but in my
peripheral vision I could see him there. Looking at me.
Smiling--like, I mean, a big smile.
I felt a bit uncomfortable for some reason. I didn't know why.
He was a nice enough old guy, I told myself. Why do I feel
ill-at-ease about this?
I gave him a quick grin and nodded and went back to the window
again. Still the beaming smile from him. His hair was mussed, he
was missing a few teeth, his clothes were modest and clean, but
he looked a bit disheveled. Still, I couldn't help but see that
there was a certain light in his eyes, like he was a kid again.
He tugged at the sleeve of my field jacket, then tugged again. I
turned and faced him.
"Danke," he said, pointing at himself, blue eyes twinkling in
his crinkled old face. I must have looked puzzled, for I said
nothing. "Thank you," he then said in carefully measured
English, now pointing at me. "Thank you." He kept repeating.
I tried to to recall the German language that I knew. "Bitte
shoen . . . warum?" Why? Thank me for what?
He nodded in understanding and pulled up the sleeve of his old
jacket. There on his inner forearm, near the wrist, six numbers
were tattooed, in now old greenish-blue-black ink. Six numbers.
He pointed at them, and then at me, and then the tattoo again,
then back at me. His smile was still there, but the twinkle in
his eyes had become a mist from somewhere far away. He was
thanking me for things that I never knew, never saw, could
This is an old BK picture of my
hero SFC Czinege receiving the Legion of Merit [LOM] prior to
medical discharge for deteriorating eyesight. The interesting
bit of trivia is that he shot Top Gun in the regiment at his
first and only Tank gunnery (19D scout Plt Sgt’s commanded a
tank in the old combined arms platoon, often their first and
only time on tanks). Although he was not my platoon sergeant, I
learned a lot from that guy about cavalry ops. He was Jim
Greenhalge’s platoon sgt in 2d Plt Fox Troop. The picture
features from left to right: CPT Robert Dittmer (my 1st Troop
CDR, F Troop 2/11 ACR), LTC Joseph Conrad (my 1st Sqdn CDR, CDR
2/11 ACR 2/11 1977-1979), SFC Karoly Czinege ("The Mad
Hungarian") receiving the Legion of Merit, CSM Leonard "Leapin'
Lenny" Cooper (my 1st CSM). The photograph was taken in May,
1979 in Bad Kissingen, FRG.
Commando Extraordinaire: SSG Hale of the Eaglehorse
Major M.W. McGehee, US Army (Ret.)
He was in my troop,
Fox Troop, 2/11th ACR, a border Cavalry unit in Germany, but not
a member of my platoon. I was about to finish eighteen
months as a platoon leader and ready to be an executive officer
in a troop or spend time on the squadron staff. Then came
an opportunity that threw the two of us together for an
unforgettable three weeks. Our troop commander and a
lieutenant in the S-3 worked together to find some summer
adventure training we could participate in. I got picked
to lead a group of thirty through French Commando School in the
Black Forest area of Breisach, Germany. Hale was a new guy
and wanted to go with some of his platoon. He would be the
ranking sergeant and worked for me during the school. SSG
Hale was an infantry soldier and wore the Expert Infantrymen’s
Badge. Everyone liked him for his can do attitude and
willingness to tackle hard jobs. He was a good leader too
and was respected by the soldiers who knew he would look out for
SSG Hale on rope ladder at French Commando School
Once the details were
identified, Hale and I hit the road in his German Ford sedan to
make a site visit at the school. We received a warm
welcome from the French. One of our hosts took us home for
a home cooked French dinner. After the lengthy meal we
toured the local dance hall were French and Germans associated
like the border between the two countries didn’t exist.
After seeing the obstacle course and hearing about the marches
we were expected to make, we could see we had some training to
do back home. We did our best to get the troopers
ready physically with long road marches with M16 rifles and
borrowed rucksacks from the Bundesgrenschutz, the Federal Border
Guards. We suspected we were in for a hard time since our
troopers were more in to riding than walking. I guess we
did all right, losing only one fat boy who we should have left
behind. We survived the four or five commando marches;
grueling eight km group runs with pack and rifle with one-hour
time limits. Our final “march commando” was part of our
attack on an old walled fortress in France. Our graduation
exercise was a 60 km walk through the Black Forest with the
French cadre trying to get us. We got to the graduation
spot at 3 a.m. and received our Commando Badges at 6 a.m. before
Back in Bad Kissingen,
SSG Hale continued to be a great asset to Fox Troop. His
best buddy, SSG Patton, was in my platoon. About fourteen
months after our return from the commando training a .50 bullet
took SSG Hales life at Grafenwoehr Training area. I had
just returned to Bad Kissingen after running table 5 gunnery
ranges for the Squadron. Our first son was due any day.
I had been back a day or two when I got a call late one night
from Grafenwoehr informing me that I was appointed SAO, survivor
assistance officer, for SSG Hale. I remember going through
his things and later taking his burial uniform to the mortuary
in Frankfurt. The worst part was going with the Chaplain
to inform his wife and two sweet little girls.
He was killed because
a tank commander failed to properly clear his .50 caliber M2
machinegun. Another soldier went to remove the night scope
from the M2 and hit the trigger, sending a round towards the
vehicle were SSG Hale was getting a pencil. SSG Patton
accompanied him and his family back to Lexington, KY and later
married a widow with two sweet little girls.
Master Gunner: SSG “Skelly” of the Blackhorse
By Major M.W. McGehee, US Army (Ret.)
He was a charmer to
young frauleins and an entertainer to subordinates, peers
and superiors with his hair-raising (if not illegal) tales
of service in Viet Nam. Staff Sergeant Skelly had a
dark side that didn’t seem to scare off those of equal or
greater rank that he worked with because he was so competent
and fun to be around. I remember that gold SS ring he
proudly wore, a gift from a relative who was a member of
that elite and sinister force. The stories that he
told of his uncle Max were something out of the movies.
Skelly would take leave of the squadron occasionally for an
extended weekend in the Munich area to visit Uncle Max, a
former Colonel in the Waffen SS, who had commanded a tank
regiment on the Eastern front. This probably
influenced Skelly to become an armored cavalry trooper and
made it possible for me to know and serve with this fine
soldier in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), the
Blackhorse. Skelly told us about how his uncle was a
well to do gentleman now with a big black Mercedes driven by
the Colonel’s former tank driver. He brought Skelly
back from Munich one weekend and must have scared Skelly
half to death with how he drove that big car as if he was
still in the seat of his Tiger tank. To make matters
worse, the one time tank driver had glasses as thick as coke
bottle bottoms. We heard too how the old commander
still had his dress uniform, complete with SS Dagger, in his
study and mounted in a glass display case.
You might say we
were “a law unto ourselves”. Our squadron belonged to
V Corps. We were stationed “out of sector”, south of
the Corps living area, down amongst the VII Corps troops in
Bad Kissingen. Our post, Daly Barracks, was named for
a lieutenant that received the DSC in WWII. Our
squadron, the 2nd Squadron of the 11th ACR, was very
independent and somewhat isolated. Our primary peacetime
mission was 24-7-365 surveillance of the German-German
border and because of that we each spent 90-120 days
annually on border duty at Camp Wollbach / Camp Lee.
Skelly loved to lead the two-jeep patrol, what we called the
U.S. Patrol, along the border trace. Like me, he also
enjoyed the combined US-German patrols where we were
invited, as German speakers, to ride along with various
police, customs, and German Border Guards units.
I had recently
changed jobs in the summer of 1976. I had the great
luck to be a Cavalry Platoon Leader in F Troop, lead a
composite group of volunteers through French Commando School
Number 4 in Breisach, West Germany, and was Squadron Border
Officer until shortly after the new commander arrived.
Now I was Skelly’s Troop Executive Officer, the second in
command, in G Troop.
I can’t mention
Skelly without telling about how he preferred to carry an
M3A1 (a.k.a. “Grease Gun”) submachine gun on patrol.
He was the only one that we allowed to carry loaded
magazines since we privately knew he was right to do so and
he probably would do it anyway. I allowed him to carry
my replica MP 40 Schmeisser Machine Pistol (MP) on patrol
once, just to see if we could get a reaction from the East
German Border Guards. Skelly was a real character,
good with his troopers and respected by all that served with
him. Later in the fall of 1976, as troop Master
Gunner, he fired as our “Top Gun” at annual gunnery, putting
round after round of 152 mm on target. I wonder if he
every moved to Munich and whatever happened to that gold SS
“The Lip”: SGM Charles R. Hazelip, DSC
By Major M.W. McGehee, US Army (Ret.)
I first laid eyes on
this big fellow with the scar under one eye in about 1976
when he came to be the First Sergeant of Headquarters and
Headquarters Troop, 2/11th ACR in Bad Kissingen, Germany.
He had the squadron draftsman make a sign for his office
door showing a Roman short sword, sandals, shield, and
helmet. The caption read, “If your TA 50 doesn’t look
like this, don’t talk to me about the Old Army”. He
had lied about his age and joined the army at 15 and was
able to retire with 30 years service at 45! He served
all over the world and lived in all sorts of conditions.
Whether tours in Korea, Germany, or Viet Nam, he was a
soldier’s soldier and a man to be admired, respected and
sometimes feared, as an NVA unit was to learn in the Viet
As a young ROTC
cadet, I gave a briefing to the General who had been his
battalion commander in Vietnam. As the sub-title
suggests, the SGM was a true warrior. While serving as
a tank commander and platoon sergeant in LTC Paul Williams’
battalion in the First Cavalry Division, “the Lip”
faced an infantry assault with the NVA forces mounting the
tanks of his platoon. The platoon leader became combat
ineffective for one reason or another, leaving SSG Hazelip
to take command. They swept each other’s tanks with
coax machinegun fire, knocking the enemy off like bugs.
Mopping up after attacking forward, he finished off several
NVA from his M48A1 tank commander’s station with his M3A1
Sub-machinegun. I had to read the citation, seven
years after meeting him, to find this out; like most real
heroes, the SGM never talked about his bravery in action.
After returning to
Fort Knox in 1978 and spending time in the Armor Officer’s
Advance Course and in the 194th Armored Brigade (SEP), I
served a tour as an advisor to the 100th Division (TNG) in
Louisville. There he was too, providing support to the
Division CSM and our advisor team. I remember well the
day he strolled into the headquarters wearing the first
Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) that I ever saw.
I don’t know for
sure if he was responsible for this incident or not, but
someone ordered a belly dancer for the Colonel’s birthday.
She danced in to the staff meeting one morning and threw her
scarf around the boss’s neck. It took a few minutes
for the Colonel to calm down and crack a smile. It was
suspicious that the SGM was laughing the hardest. The
boss never did get the girl to admit who had sent her there!
We shared the bad times as well. We all went to pay
our respects when the SGM Hazelip’s dad, a WW II Marine,
I suspect the
Sergeant Major can be found most days at the local golf
courses. I saw him a few years ago at the commissary.
He was a bit grayer, but still looked every inch a soldier
and certainly gave the impression that he’d be at home and
in charge on the golf course or on the battlefield atop his
tank. SGM Hazelip is a unique character in so many
ways. I’m proud to say that I had the opportunity to
serve with this true American hero during two tours of duty.
Love Almost Lost:
Helicopters and Young Heartthrobs
By Major M.W. McGehee, US Army (Ret.)
It was late June 1975 and Fox Troop was on the border at Camp
Wollbach for the second tour since January. We had a new troop
commander who knew his business. He had actually walked our
entire 100 km long sector from north to south when he was the
squadron border officer. I had just returned from Bad Kissingen,
and was told that if I hurried I could catch the UH1 Huey
helicopter and go with the nine man element of troopers on an
overnight observation post (OP). Our assignment at patrol
vantage point (PVP) 103 was to observe the East German village
of Melpers. I had no idea that my life was in for a drastic, but
very good, change. I grabbed my bag from the prefabricated
barracks and checked my Colt .45 Combat Commander that I had
locked in an ammo can chained to my bunk. My Platoon Sergeant,
SFC Stiggers was an old hand at this sort of drill and was doing
his best to keep me out of trouble. I had witnessed other
lieutenants having major problems because their Platoon
Sergeants were sub-par or because they didn’t pay attention to
the good ones that they had. I was lucky to have SFC Stiggers
and he knew it!
24 May 1977, the
BK Recreation Center, my bride and Eaglehorse Commander, LTC
Gilbreath. We had a great time and on the table along
with the cake, you can see the formal
2/11 ACR punch bowl
What a ride!
Wedding day and the SCO's track is our coach.
We flew northwest and
landed a kilometer from the fence and minefield separating the
two Germanys. The nearest village was Oberfladungen; just meters
from were we landed in a meadow behind a tree line. Our chopper
had dropped us in an area where three German states met, Hesse
and Bavaria of the Federal Republic of West Germany and
Thueringen, East Germany. We walked in to avoid detection and
raised our 292 antenna near a West German Customs (Zoll) shack.
This would be our home for the next 24 hours. There wasn’t much
activity on the other side to report but we had attracted lots
of attention from the friendly local kids. They swarmed our
little group wanting to meet the “Armees” as they called
Americans. We took advantage of the situation to add to our
supper menu by sending some of the trustworthy looking one to
the local grocery with some money for cold cuts and bread. Some
of the girls were flirting with my soldiers. One even took a
picture next day as we flew off. I still have that photo.
I arranged to return a few days later in my 1972 Capri to see
one of the girls and was introduced to her cousin Karin for the
first time. Karin had almost departed for another village but
was persuaded to stay and meet the ‘dashing young German
speaking Cavalry officer”. I guess we both liked what we saw
that evening and I married her about two years later. We’re
still speaking German. Our romance wasn’t easy for her. Karin’s
village had seen soldiers come and go over the years with
usually poor results for the local girls.
They say true love conquers all and that has held true for us.
We just celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. I’m real glad I
had my bag and .45 Colt ready to go. I have wondered once or
twice what would have happened if I had missed that helicopter.
I might have loved, but I would have missed out on the love of