October 1962


On Monday, October 22, 1962 I was in Bamberg Germany attached to the 4th Infantry pistol team. I was happy and thought I had the best job the in Army. Then the DEFCON 3 alert sounded. 

  Normally the team was excused from alerts and field maneuvers. DEFCON 3 meant we were regular GIs with no special privileges. We were part of HQ and reported to HQ. We turned in our special target pistols and got slightly better then average .45s. And we put away our spiffy pistol jackets for the mundane stuff everyone else was wearing. 

  Our assignment was to ride with the MP and escort/guard the general staff as needed. The General liked the idea of some one carrying a .45 who could actually shot the thing. 

  We were issued life ammo. Never before had we been issued life ammo. Someone was serious. Not just us. We could see everyone was getting life ammo. Even the tanks.  

I overheard the Colonel give an order. “Take a tank retriever with you. Put the damn thing up front of the dependents’ convoy and if the order is given to go... I want that retriever to flatten any #@%&* Volkswagen that gets in the way. You under stand what I’m saying.”… In case you don’t know a tank retriever is big. They can pick up a tank and drive away. 

    We spent the next week in the woods and hills of Germany. That’s when I got frighten. I learned that we were at the very edge of WWlll.   I learned that the USSR military was also on high alert and were also ready to “lock and load.”

Not just the Infantry and tanks but the Bombers and Missiles. 

  It can be scary to think you could die. Scarier to think your family and everyone you know could die.  

I felt a primal fear as I realized that all life on Earth was in danger of imminent annihilation.     

Dewduster Dewduster
66-70, M
5 Responses Mar 3, 2009


Wow mate that is quite a story, I don't think anyone wouldn't be scared in that situation. That last sentence really expresses a fear that is unknown by many, I couldn't even imagine it.

I had a step-brother who was stationed at Bamberg at the same time. I'd love do discuss him with you to see if you knew him.

Thank you. <br />
We had ammo at the fireing range. <br />
In combat we carry. <br />
In a peaceful sitution we don't carry...DD

I can't believe you didn't carry live ammo every day. That surprises me. As far as your story, I can't even imagine what it was like, but I would like to say thank you for your service. God bless.