Personal Military Photos and Memories

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Subject: KP
Place: Belle Chasse, La. Joint Reserve Base, 926 TCS USAFR
Year: 1965

It was August, a month before my separation. Sgt. Roselle called an unusual roll call formation in the hangar. He announced the USN chow hall had called for our participation in food service, apparently a requirement, although not known before.
Sgt. Roselle walked down the line asking each man when he had KP last. Most had not since basic. As there was no escape this time and the chow hall was now airconditioned, when he came to me, I said, "Sergeant, I have NEVER had KP" thereby ending the formation as the USN had their victim.
Reporting to the CPO, I was put outside pealing potatoes, ah ha. So much for a/c. Shortly before the noon meal I was called inside the kitchen and assigned to cut the rot out of the turnips so they could be in the salad. The kitchen chief continually walked around trying to hurry everyone. As my turnips were about 75% rotten, I had little good in my bowl, so the chief started chewing me out for being slow. I showed him the large bowl of brown mush as evidence and the argument attracted the attention of the Naval Officer in his dress whites trying to stay clear of the mess on the counters. I presented my evidence of the rotten vegetables, to which the J.G. said, "If it is too bad for you to eat, we don't serve it to the men. Throw it out." I dumped the large bowl into the disposal and the J.G walked off smiling while the chief sputtered. I was then assigned to cleaning dishware until the meal was over, and sent back to my hangar early.
I knew Airman seconds were seldom shot because of KP and I had already received my Good Conduct ribbon.
Our unit, the 157th Ord Det was assigned to support a Corporal IIB missile Battalion (1/38th) in Babenhausen, Germany. We protected the Fulda Gap, the potential Soviet armor invasion route. Previously Corporal units in Europe returned to White Sands or Ft Bliss to practice firing missiles with the existing range equipment. In 1963, a decision was made to fly us and all of our equipment to the Outer Hebrides Islands off the NW coast of Scotland. All of us were loaded into large USAF cargo planes at Rhein-Main AFB and we were flown up to Benbecula Aerodrome on the island of Benbecula, Outer Hebrides. The runway was short for the big cargo planes so the landing was pretty dramatic, especially sittiing next to a chained-down 5-ton electronics van. We were billited in a British Army barracks and ate in their mess hall- mutton for breakfast, mutton for lunch, and mutton for dinner. Now and then we got American C-rations as a treat. We set up our equipment in the Royal Artillery Range on North Uist and fired a missile West, out onto the Atlantic at a "target" (a designated Map coordinate) and it was scored as a "hit" by a British radar station on the tiny rock island of St Kilda. Another was launched the next day, despite a Soviet "fishing trawler" (covered with antennas) being in the target area. They were warned away but chose to stay so we launched and scored another "hit" but it did not hit the trawler.

The third launch was not immediately successful. The countdown progressed 5-4-3-2-1-0 (nothing happened so the count continued) A-B-C-D-E-F-G. At that point the launch was aborted and switches were set to "safe". It was necessary to remove the batteries up near the nose of the missile but since it still sat vertically on its launcher, it was necessary for a man to ride the cherry-picker up to do that job, about 50 feet off the ground. A sergeant rode the cherry-picker up, started to remove a cover and a powerful wind gust pushed the basket sideways, shearing off a pin in its drive, swung the whole arm with the sergeant aboard, completely around 360 degrees and slammed into the side of the fully-fueled missile! The missile swayed back and forth but eventually settled back on its launcher. A horrendous accident was narrowly averted. The oxidizer, red fuming acid, was vented overboard in a cloud of red vapor after the cherry picker had been pulled back safely. A later check revealed that the nitric acid had eaten up some of the guidance system; the fin steering system had to be replaced. I was the Ground Guidance Section Chief so we worked all night to replace the damaged components. Finally, after testing the rocket motor steering system, I reported to the CO that it was ready to fire.

That afternoon we did another countdown (holding our breath!) and the rocket engine ignited normally, and after a second or two to build up thrust, lifted off its launcher and roared up into the sky, on its way to the target. We lost sight of it through a low overcast and then a big bright flash and "boom"- then silence. To say we were all crushed with disappointment to see it explode after all the hard work that we had put into it was an understatement. Everyone felt really bad as we returned to the barracks. Mutton only added to our sense of defeat. The next day we set up our last round and fired it successfully. That lifted our spirits but what added to it was the news that the previous missile's explosion had been due to the British Range Safety Officer's having detonated it by mistake! He had turned on his system with the safety switch in the "destruct" position. Initilly nothing happened until the vacuum tubes warmed up and then a signal was sent out to the destruct system. Since it had been on its correct trajectory to hit its target, we were given credit for a "hit". On out return home, we tied upturned brooms to our trucks like the WW II submarines did- signifying a "clean sweep." We were proud of that hard won performance.

We were the BEST missile unit in the WORLD!


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Yeah, but they could have used CS gas like the military. Makes your eyes burn, gives you a cough, and makes your nose run like crazy. Nothing else. It's best to go in when you have a cold because you won't have one when you come out.

They made us put the mask back on and clear it in the chamber to show that we know how, and that the mask works. Then afterwards we had to take the mask off again, and each had to recite their Name, Rank, and Social before we could all leave the chamber together.

At Ft Knox, we had to take off our gas mask one by one and after announcing our name. rank, & serial number ( we didn't use our SSN in those days) we exited the chamber and then the next guy did the same thing. We used CN gas. I was startled when I saw the letters "CN" on the grenades- in chemistry, CN is used for Hydrogen Cyanide, what they use in prisons for executions. Boy, was I careful fitting my mask. It was just tear gas, though.
I took these pictures in Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau when JFK visited in 1963. We put on a big review for him. That was when he was in Germany and made his famous Berlin "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.
The press gave him a pass and did not point out that he had just stated "I am a doughnut". He should have said "Ich bin Berliner" The "ein" made "Berliner" refer to a jelly doughnut, instead of a Berlin resident.


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I took these pictures in Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau when JFK visited in 1963. We put on a big review for him. That was when he was in Germany and made his famous Berlin "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.
The press gave him a pass and did not point out that he had just stated "I am a doughnut". He should have said "Ich bin Berliner" The "ein" made "Berliner" refer to a jelly doughnut, instead of a Berlin resident.
At long last confirmation of something a co-worker told me decades ago. Only he said it was "I am a pretzel".
From my Dad's pictures he took when he was in Korea in the late '50s with KAMAG.

LTC Lowery had fought in Massacre Valley during the Korean War and they (he & Dad) had returned in 1960 to the site where Lowery had captured a Chinese machine gun position nine years before. Leonard Lowry - Recipient -


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I took these pictures in Fliegerhorst Kaserne in Hanau when JFK visited in 1963. We put on a big review for him. That was when he was in Germany and made his famous Berlin "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.
The press gave him a pass and did not point out that he had just stated "I am a doughnut". He should have said "Ich bin Berliner" The "ein" made "Berliner" refer to a jelly doughnut, instead of a Berlin resident.

That actually is a very funny and popular myth, but myth none the less. JFK actually said it grammatically correct.

While you are correct that a Berliner is a jelly filled doughnut, it also means someone from Berlin. JFK did not actually say it wrong, it just has a double meaning.

"Ich bin ein Berliner" is grammatically correct for "I am a person from Berlin", i.e. "I am from Berlin."

For example, I am from Stuttgart, born and raised. I would say "Ich bin ein Stuttgarter."

Had he said "Ich bin Berliner," it would not have been grammatically correct.

Additionally, people in Berlin do not call the jelly donuts Berliners.

You can read more about here:

There is a widespread false belief that Kennedy made an embarrassing mistake by saying Ich bin einBerliner. By including the indefinite article "ein," he supposedly changed the meaning of the sentence from the intended "I am a citizen of Berlin" to "I am a Berliner" (a Berliner being a type of German pastry, similar to a jelly doughnut), amusing Germans throughout the city. However, this is incorrect from both a grammatical perspective and a historical perspective.

While the phrase "Ich bin ein Berliner" can be understood as having a double meaning, it is neither wrong to use it the way Kennedy did nor was it embarrassing. According to some grammar texts, the indefinite article can be omitted in German when speaking of an individual's profession or origin but is in any case used when speaking in a figurative sense.Furthermore, although the word "Berliner" has traditionally been used for a jelly doughnut in the north, west, and southwest of Germany, it has never been used in Berlin itself or the surrounding region, where the usual word is "Pfannkuchen" (literally "pancake"). Therefore, no Berliner would mistake Berliner for a doughnut.

A further part of the misconception is that the audience to his speech laughed at his supposed error. They actually cheered and applauded both times the phrase was used. They laughed and cheered a few seconds after the first use of the phrase when Kennedy joked with the interpreter: "I appreciate my interpreter translating my German."

The misconception appears to have originated in Len Deighton's 1983 spy novel Berlin Game, which contains the following passage, spoken by Bernard Samson:

'Ich bin ein Berliner,' I said. It was a joke. A Berliner is a doughnut. The day after President Kennedy made his famous proclamation, Berlin cartoonists had a field day with talking doughnuts.
In Deighton's novel, Samson is an unreliable narrator, and his words cannot be taken at face value. However, The New York Times' review of Deighton's novel appeared to treat Samson's remark as factual and added the detail that Kennedy's audience found his remark funny:

Here is where President Kennedy announced, Ich bin ein Berliner, and thereby amused the city's populace because in the local parlance a Berliner is a doughnut.
Four years later, it found its way into a New York Times op-ed:

It's worth recalling, again, President John F. Kennedy's use of a German phrase while standing before the Berlin Wall. It would be great, his wordsmiths thought, for him to declare himself a symbolic citizen of Berlin. Hence, Ich bin ein Berliner.What they did not know, but could easily have found out, was that such citizens never refer to themselves as 'Berliners.' They reserve that term for a favorite confection often munched at breakfast. So, while they understood and appreciated the sentiments behind the President's impassioned declaration, the residents tittered among themselves when he exclaimed, literally, "I am a jelly-filled doughnut."
The doughnut misconception has since been repeated by media such as the BBC (by Alistair Cooke in his Letter from America program), The Guardian, MSNBC, CNN, Time magazine, and The New York Times mentioned in several books about Germany written by English-speaking authors, including Norman Davies and Kenneth C. Davis; and used in the manual for the Speech Synthesis Markup Language. It is also mentioned in Robert Dallek's 2003 biography of Kennedy, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963.

Another reference to this misconception appears in David Foster Wallace's 1996 novel Infinite Jest, which contains the following passage:

Few foreigners realize that the German term Berliner is also the vulgate idiom for a common jelly doughnut, and thus that Kennedy's seminal 'Ich bin ein Berliner' was greeted by the Teutonic crowds with a delight only apparently political.
In the Discworld novel Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, special envoy Sam Vimes, tasked with ending a war between the bellicose nation of Borogravia and an alliance of its aggrieved neighbours, intended to express his support for Borogravia by saying "I am a citizen of Borogravia" in its native language. However, Polly Perks, the main character, corrects him, saying he called himself a cherry pancake.

The jelly doughnut myth was largely unknown to Germans until the social web enhanced cross-cultural exchange in the 2000s. At the death of Robert Lochner in September 2003, German media retold the story on the creation of Kennedy's phrase without mentioning the myth,while on the same occasion English media still added the myth as fact, as for example the New York Times informed by Associated Press.

The German Historical Museum in Berlin opened an exhibition in 2003 without providing a hint to the myth either. The myth entered the German Wikipedia article "Ich bin Berliner" in May 2005 brought over from the English version where it had been discussed since the creation of the article in October 2001.It was already marked as an urban legend at the time in 2005. The German version settled on a section title "misconception in the english-speaking world" (Missverständnis im englischsprachigen Raum) by January 2007.

The Kennedy Museum in Berlin picked up the story in November 2008 debunking the myth, while an English article in Spiegel International about the opening of the museum in 2006 did quote the myth as fact. A reference to the myth in the national newspaper "Die Welt" as of July 2008 shows that the knowledge about the misconseption in the US was well understood by then, referencing Wikipedia in the text.


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