1/48 Memories of Worms

  1/48 Memories of Worms 

MEMORIES OF DRAGOONS AT WORMS

This page contains memories of those who served with the Dragoons at Worms.  Please send additions you would like to contribute via the link at the bottom of the page.  Happy memories!

Roger L. Shepard (1958 – 1961, Headquarters Company)
       My great job was driving the Courier jeep.  I picked up classified and top secret papers from Munich.  After my kissing match with a tree I was allowed to ride on a gun jeep.  The 106mm type.  I remember being on exercise and watched the gunner on the jeep, with helmet on, get beaned by a 1 lb hail stone.  We stopped just short of him and picked him us, but he wouldn’t let them replace the helmet.  While in Graf there was a really lousy accident.  The gunner on a tank loaded live rounds in his 30 and shot one of the GI’s.  All I can remember is that his first name was Frank.  Last I heard was that he was a cripple from the waist down.
       About the beer stein pictures shown on this site.  I still have mine put away in a box somewhere.  We tried to get a 106mm gun jeep molded on top but the Germans said it was too much trouble. 
       Remember the Cafe Milano in downtown Worms?  Had a lot of fun there.  There was also the Hamburger Tor on some side street.  Well, enough of the memories.  I do have photo’s of my time there but they are somewhere stored.  I left with 1000 rolls of developed film and got back with only 200.  The box I sent back broke open and everything was lost. 

Quick one.  My grand daughters were going thru some old photo’s I had and they came across one of me on my 19th birthday taken as I boarded one of the tour boats in Amsterdam.   Suddenly they wanted to know who the guy is and if they could meet him.  Needless to say I was in hysterics, so I told them.  They said what happened to you between then and now.  I said the same thing that will happen to you after 41 years.  Not much was said after that.
      
Wonder where Shaky 6 is at?  See Roger’s photos on his photo page.

William Frost (1959)
      I served with D Co, 1st Battalion, 48th Armored Infantry Regiment in 1959, as a Spec-4 . Although my tour was relatively short, as I was reassigned to the 48th with only 7 months left on my enlistment, I left there with a number of wonderful memories, not the least of which was our functioning as the aggressor force at the Survival School at Ramstein. 

Collins Smith (1960 – 1962)
   
     The battalion commander wanted a band. That’s the only reason the band existed. Band members were recruited as they checked in through Headquarters Co. You were told to keep quiet about it until called in to audition. The band room was the first floor under the EM Club. If you could play you were in. The band met and practiced in the mornings and every one returned to their companies in the afternoon. Since the companies were jealous about band members getting out of every thing in the mornings we usually got the bad details in the afternoon and were called flute tooters. But it was worth it.  
        We practiced for an hour or two and on occasion would form up and march around the post and play. This was to let everyone know we were there and doing what we were supposed to be doing. The rest of the morning was spent in the snack bar or in town. The local towns would all call and invite us to play and march in their fest parades. We always wore our dress uniforms plus white cord on our left shoulder and chrome helmets. The town usually had a couple of floats with young women on them. Most towns were small so we would march through the town several times. The only music they wanted us to play in the parade was "The Bridge Over the River Kwai." If the weather was cold they would give us hot wine to drink. Then after the parade we went to the local Gasthaus to continue the celebration. We were given as much as we wanted to eat and drink and then mixed with the town folks and danced or visited with those that spoke English. They had their own band for dance music. When their band took a break to eat it was our turn to play march music and a couple of popular pieces. They would dance to the march music. We would then eat, drink and mix with them until our Sergeant decided it was time to leave. Needless to say some of our guys would get a little tipsy and we had some interesting times and occurrences as a result. A couple of the guys married German gals they met at these festivities.  
   
     I played trumpet. We had about 12 members, which would go up or down one to three members as some rotated back to the "World" or came in new. We usually had three Trumpets, three or four Sax’s. A couple of Trombones, a Bass Drum and one or two Snare Drums and a Tuba. We did get out to Graf once but had to meet the trains coming back at night and play march music as they marched back to the Post. Usually we were in our companies when going to the field and on alerts. We did travel to Frankfort and some other large towns to play. I also performed magic shows and juggled when the Gasthaus had a stage and competed in a talent contest at the service club on post and managed to take first place in 61.  
        Life was good through 1960, 61 and going into 62. I’m not sure how long the band existed before I arrived. Then, as near as I remember, the battalion commander changed and the band faded away very quickly. We all ended up full time with our companies with many great memories. I was TDY’d to Special Services at Hiedelberg Post for three months and did troop shows with other entertainers at many Service Clubs in the area. But that will be another story for another time.

Mike Smith (
 PFC  Roberto Gonzales with two of his buddies had  black capes made, and carried canes with black hats they wore off post:  the “Worms Cape Men”.  PFC Polit Cortez was from Ecuador he told us  he was an officer in Ecuador  and had been volunteered  by his country to learn E.M. training procedures.  2/LT  Zalantis was a 1st plat leader who had a wooden box with a lock that he filled bread and snacks he kept on the track when we went to the field. We would pry the bottom off the box and eat his treats.  I don’t think that he ever figured how we got into it.   CPT Quanzon was a enlisted man’s officer who made major and was transfered to H/Q as Bn XO.  We all hated to see him go.

Lawrence Cooper (March 1961 until Sept 1962)
I was in H/Q company in the 106 recoilless rifle platoon, and we had to put a jeep inside an APC and go in the water. This was done between Worms and Lamperthiem in the Rhine river. I do remember a guy from the 4.2 mortar platoon having a small APC  and on "Operation  Snow Plow, he had a terrible time coming out of the water. 

Jack Falcone/Lapiana  (1961- 1964)
I arrived in Worms on December 31, 1961.  I walked into company B and I met the C.O.  He welcomed me and told Sgt. Evans to give me a pass for New Year’s Eve.  Sgt. Evans asked me if I had civies and I said no, so he lent me his green suit.  Frank Seeley took me out that evening and we went to the Flattop –  my first German beer.  I was in the the 3rd platoon and was an ammo bearer for Frank and his 30 cal.  Sgt. Dooley was our squad leader.  I made PFC and ran around Graf many cold nights.  Eventually I was transferred to HQ as a clerk under Lt. Maurer.  Maurer eventually found out that I was not a typist and sent me back to a line company.  I went to Co. A, second squad, second platoon under Sgt. Daniels.  Sgt. Daniels was a gentleman and good soldier.  He came from Oceanside California and hated the cold weather, so I sat up in the TC (Track Commmander) hatch and chatted with Richard Warick our track driver.  It was a great time.  In 1963 our battalion flag was sent back to the states and we became the 1st. bn. 39th inf. 8th infantry division.  Our battalion was designated to train as LRRP’s (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols).  I remember the battalion commander congratulating us on the parade field as the first LRRP’s.  A funny thing happened in driver training.  Lt. Maurer saw me standing near the C.O.. tent and ordered me to drive him in a jeep to another location.  I immediately jumped into the drivers seat and took off.  I never drove before but handled it well until I came to a long stop at the edge of a cliff.  He said lets go down into the track training area and ride the course.  I did O.K. until I came to the last hole and turned the jeep over and me on top of the Lt.  in the mud.  He called for a crew to put the jeep up again and this time he drove, always giving me this evil glance now and then.  Later on he became my C.O.  in A Company.  Sgt Ford, a great man and soldier walked into the company one day and I was the only guy around and he asked me to show him around.  I took him all over the building and down into the tunnels beneath the company.  After telling him about our good Sergeants and the ones that were idiots he laughed.  The next morning lo and behold there he was at formation, my new Platoon Sgt.  We stayed good friends and eventually he made me a Sp/4. He went on to become First Sergeant and then Sgt. Major of the battalion.  Like many of our better Sergeants he was a WW2 veteran and Ranger.  They are all gone now and I still think of them often.  i keep in touch with Frank Seeley and Glen Haney often.  jackfalcone@yahoo.com

Michael Smith (Jan 1961 to June 1963)
I was stationed at Worms and first assigned to S-4 supply Hq Co.  They had supply clerks up to their ears.  Then I transferred to D Co., 2nd Plt as a BAR man.  You know how they did to the new guys.  Later I transferred to 1st Plt, 1st Squad, C Co. until I rotated home.  In C Co. I was platoon runner and commo man.  My grade was PFC E-3.  We had lots of fun down-town.  Its been so long most of the first names I don’t remember, but we never used first names back then. 

Jim Allen (Feb 1961 to Aug 1962)
My time was in Worms. Sometimes it wasn’t too nice there as the area across the street from the motor pool was off limits. I am attaching an article that you may find interesting. It is a little yellow from age but you can still read it. I hope you find it enjoyable.

AllenJimWormsHeloArticle.jpg (311854 bytes)

Jack Falcone (Dec. 31 1961 to June, 1964)  
I was stationed in Worms from and was in Co.B, then in Co.A. The first night in Worms Cpl. Evans lent me his suit. (He was a great guy.) He said I should’nt go out on the town in my uniform. The area called Little Moscow was located directly across from Co. B. On more than one occasion we were shot at by neo-nazi fanatics. (Jim Allen mentions this in his memory above)
    The APC that Sank was mine. I was stateside when it happened. Sgt. Bickford or Bradford had loaned me his suitcase to go home with, when I got back I got the news. Have you ever heard of what happened to Sgt. Ford. Sgt. Dooley. Lt. Maurer?    Jack Falcone, formerly Jack Lapiana


John Seawell (July 1960 to 1962) 
(Dragoon Days:  A  Junior Enlisted Perspective – a talk at a 1-48th Worms reunion in 2005)  

   Greetings to the attendees of the 1/48th Infantry (Worms) reunion!  I would have loved to be among you, not only because I love the 48th Infantry, and many of you, but because I represent the majority of the battalion, which is under-represented, and probably not represented at all in your reunion:  the junior enlisted soldiers.
    
We didn’t arrive in 
Germany as you did.  We came in the same transport ships that brought most of you, but we were housed in five-bunk-high quarters, deep in the holds of those ships, sardine packed, with vomit-sloshing latrines as the seas got rough.  We pulled KP duty, and guard duty over your quarters in all weather, night and day.  But we were exhilarated about going “overseas,” breaking in with our first unit, and experiencing a new culture.  For me and my Fort Riley companions, we were definitely not in Kansasanymore! Fort Riley , arrived in Worms on the overnight train from Bremerhaven in early July 1960.  With me were 11 AIT classmates and the new battalion commander, Lt. Col. Church and his wife.  As we waited on the Worms Bahnhof platform for transportation, Colonel Church approached me.  I came to attention, saluted, and he asked, “Are you the German?”  One of my Riley classmates, Dieter Richter, had been born in Germany , and Colonel Church had mistaken me for him.  That’s how my tour of duty with 1/48th  began–mistaken for a German!
     The battalion was in Grafenwoehr at the time, so after drawing equipment and spending the night in an empty, ghostly barracks we were piled into the back of a deuce-and-a-half truck for the trip to Graf.  All but two of us were assigned to the 4.2 Mortar Platoon.  My early memories of the Four-Deuce Platoon and field training in Graf are good.  Lt. Prahm was a fine officer, and MSgt Watson was a great platoon sergeant.  I would undoubtedly have  spent my entire enlistment there if I hadn’t knocked heads with my squad leader.
     
Sgt. Sandlin (I use his name because I ran into him again at Fort Benning in 1965, and we had a laugh about the whole thing) informed me that he was making me a track driver.  I am not the mechanical type, have never been a good driver, and aspired to become a mortar gunner.  When I told him that I didn’t want to be a driver he said that I WOULD be or I would go to jail.  I immediately decided to look for a third alternative, and the same day I approached gruff, cigar chomping 1st Sgt. Marvin Duncan to ask about a transfer. He asked if I could type (a strong point with me) and the day after our return from Graf I was reassigned as Headquarters Company clerk.
     
I served under three company commanders in the H&S Company (later HHC) orderly room:  Captains Cook, Dillard, and Guanzon.  It was a superb learning experience for me, and my finest memories are of getting to know three wonderful Lieutenants:  Frank Herrera, Robert MacDonald, and Coleman—I forget his first name.  I believe they had the 4.2 mortar, scout, and 106 RR platoons, respectively.
     
We all remember how the composition of Army units in the early sixties was so different from today’s Army, and I believe that the U.S. Army in 
Europe was even more diverse. The obvious contrast was the high percentage of draftees.  Eighteen-year-old eighth grade dropout enlistees worked side-by-side with 26-year-old advanced degree holder draftees. One of my first friends in Headquarters Company was a Sp4 Michael Berg, who not only had a law degree but had also passed the New York bar. Germany than the rest of the Army, but that’s just a guess.  In addition to quite a few Hungarian Lodge Act enlistees—taking advantage of legislation that offered them early citizenship in exchange for a five-year enlistment—I knew young enlisteds and junior NCOs from France, East and West Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Greece, both Croatia and Serbia in the former Yugoslavia, the Philippines, Mexico, Cuba and I’m sure that I’ve forgotten a few!  We were a diverse bunch, indeed. 
      
Although I enjoyed duty in Headquarters Company, it was Top Duncan’s cigar smoke, more than anything, that caused me to ask for a transfer to become the D Company clerk in the spring of 1961.  Sergeant Duncan was a Dutch Master’s chain smoker, and even though I was a cigarette smoker at the time, the constant blue haze in the orderly room stung my eyes and made me nauseous.
     
The move to Delta Company added exponentially to my learning, and I experienced a feeling of family that was missing in the diversity of a headquarters company.  Captain Leach (“Big John” to us junior enlisteds) was CO during my entire time there, and 1st Sergeant Richard Burnett was likewise there throughout my 21 months in the unit.  Lt. Vel Hawes was XO during most of my time there, replacing Lt. Marano soon after my arrival.  I had then, and continue to have, great respect for my fellow Texan Vel, although he was not as good at wrestling with Capt. Leach as Marano.
     
Life was good for a company clerk in those days.  It was also a tightrope act.  You couldn’t live in the barracks (as I did) without being “one of the guys,” which invariably meant maintaining the appearance of hating the Army.  (It was no coincidence that the recruiting office at 
Fort Hamilton NY , where returning GIs were processed out, was the busiest in the Army.  Many soldiers, intending all along the reenlist, would wait until then to do it so that their buddies would not call them “lifers.”)  At the same time, I did my job well and never betrayed the confidences of company headquarters.
     
Vel Hawes will attest to the fact that I was not a good soldier as measured by spit shined boots, spotless uniforms, or weapons qualification scores, but in my defense I will say that, in addition to performing well in my job, I drew pro-pay in a light infantry MOS for which I had not been trained, and I was Battalion Soldier of the Month in 1962.
     
Still, I was a restless kid, and in the end I got into trouble.  With less than two months remaining in my enlistment both Capt. Leach and Lt. Hawes left the company, and I felt lost and unappreciated.  At around the same time, a pre-separation physical showed that I had a previously undetected heart problem.  I saw my chances of finishing ROTC and getting a commission evaporating.
     
One dark December morning in 1962 I did something incredibly stupid and self-destructive.  In the company of another D Company soldier, I jumped the fence after bed check and was apprehended by an M.P. patrol car.  That stunt cost me a stripe, and a few weeks later I went home a PFC.
     
Life brightened in the ensuing years.  I was accepted back in ROTC as a junior, passed the pre-commissioning physical, and was offered and accepted a Regular Army commission in 1965, Military Intelligence branch with Infantry detail.
     
My first assignment was in C Company, 3d Battalion, 23d Infantry in the Korean DMZ.  I was once again guided by a fellow Texan and Aggie, Capt. John Lorms, who taught me much.  But I also fared as well as I did as an infantry platoon leader because of my experiences as a company clerk.  I knew how to do reports of survey, accident investigations, enlisted efficiency reports, and just about every other additional duty a young lieutenant gets because I had typed up so many of them.
     
Perhaps even more, my enlisted experience helped me to understand the problems and needs of my soldiers, and to interact with the company NCOs more effectively.  
     
I went on to many interesting assignments as an intelligence officer and public affairs officer, finally retiring in 1983 as a Lt. Colonel.  I will not bore you with more, except to say that there was not a single assignment where I did not draw wisdom from my Worms Days, and where I did not think back to the fine example set for me by the outstanding officers and NCOs of the Worms Dragoons.

Ronald Stone l (1960 to Oct. 1962) 
    I served 3yrs in the Army, from Oct.1959 to Oct.1962.  I did basic at Ft. Riley and AIT at Ft. Hood. Ft. Hood was heaven compared to Ft. Riley. I spent 13 days at Ft. Dix, NJ waiting to ship over. Elvis was there getting out and the post was loaded with young girls. I came off guard duty one morning and the EM’s mess was closed so the Sgt. of the guard sent me to the NCO mess for breakfast. When I went in, there sat Elvis accompanied by two MP’s and an officer. I was only 17 at the time and I was too intimidated to go up and talk to him. I have always regretted that. Looking back I’m sure it would have been fine. Who knows what might have come out of a conversation with Elvis. 
    I shipped over on the USS Rose, the trip took eleven days. The Queen Mary passed us going over and passed us again heading back to the states before we reached South Hampton. We hit a storm going over and we were told the waves were 40ft high. We were locked in the sealed compartments and ever time the ship broke over the wave it sounded like you were inside a big bell. Those gongs went on most of the night and 99% of the 400 guys in my compartment were real seasick and the smell was terrible I did get seasick the whole trip and I had a severe headache the whole trip. We docked overnight at South Hampton and if you had money you were allowed to go to town. I had to stay on board because I had no money. I had not been paid in almost two months and there were a number of others in the same boat. The guys that got off were to be back on ship at 6am. As I recall there were a couple of guys that did make it back on time the ship waited a while but they never showed up. I didn’t know who they were or what happened to them. 
    I was in the scout platoon in H&H Co. the whole time I was in Worms. I was a section leader for quite awhile but about 30 days before I was due to be assigned stateside the Berlin Wall went up and everybody was extended for the duration of their tour. I got a bad attitude after that and got busted several times. I liked Germany but I was homesick for my girl back home and I wanted a taste of stateside duty. I probably would have re-up’d if it hadn’t went the way it did. For several weeks we were on full combat alert awaiting orders to go to Berlin. We even had to sign-out to go to the john. The powers that be finally decided to send the 16th infantry in and most of us were disappointed because we were excited to go. Again, I was in the army from Oct.1959 to Oct.1962. That was the sum total of my service. The best time of my life. Stuffed away somewhere I have copies of all my orders with other names of guys I served with. I will dig them out and try to put something together in chronological order. I live Oklahoma now.

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