Apparently, some people have more than one "best time of my life". Perhaps those with golden memories of CB should say "ONE of the best times of my life".
Just wondering, Sandi, if you chose a military dependent's life for your children?
No Tom, I now live a civilian life, and I am ok with that, although I do miss the traveling.
David Wisniewski, Founder
Yesterday, I added a Poll question to the CookeBarracks.com front page that just might help give insight to this message thread. I hope you enjoy
another thing that might be interesting pertaining to the poll,, is when you served,,I served in 59 & 60, things were good at that time,,it seems those who served after that,, don't have as good as memory as I have,, I'll always have good memory's of the time I was there...I could have bought a brand new V/W but for $1,600. sure wish I had bought a couple....
I arrived in Gurp in September '78, as a brand new PFC, having rarely been out of Rensselaer, Indiana, let alone been out of the United States. Acclimating to the Army had been easy so far, as my basic training was at Fort Knox, and my Legal Clerk AIT at Fort Ben, so it was really the first time in my life I felt truly cut off from home.
Working in the JAG office helped, because it may be the most laid back atmosphere in the Army. There I was a newbie PFC and I have Sergeants, Captains and a Major treating me like a regular human being. My first week was a blur of introductions, orientations and classes, so I was ready for a break. My friends at JAG told me there was a Goeppingen Raiders football game on Saturday, so decided to go check it out. They were amazing, especially for a bunch of middle school age kids, and put a major drubbing on their opponents. What was even more amazing was while sitting in the stands that day, I quickly noticed Goeppingen was a lot like a small town. My boss, Major Corrigan, pointing out the guy over there was the Commanding General, there's the Sergeant Major, and here come Colonel so-and-so. Everybody knew everybody! After I had been there a while I began volunteering with the DYA, working with Randy Palmer. Originally it was in order to get some pool time to swim laps, but eventually I made friends with some of the kids and it helped fill the void from being apart from my family. It's not "the best" time, partly because I'm living it now. I work in IndyCar racing and our "community" is based in Indianapolis, and travels from race to race. Much like Goeppingen, I know drivers, owners, mechanics & "gofers", away from "the office". When I think about Gurp I think about the closeness and familiarity of the community. It's no wonder people who lived and worked there have such fond memories.
Sandi---you know that my (now grown) boys that were stationed around the world for most of their growing up years sound a lot like you. It makes me feel good every time they start talking to family (thats never been out of the state) how much they enjoyed the times in the army. Bet your dad will always proud of your approach to life......Go Raiders !
As a young man at Cooke Bks. I think I can say it was the best time of my life. I was with C 1/26 and later with C 4/16. I arrived at Cooke Bks. in 1982 after 3 years at Ft. Riley KS.(that might be the reason). Everyone at Cooke Bks. was very friendly. Even 1st Sgt. Frank Allen. He wanted to be a tough guy, but he was a really good person to know. My best memory of him was every time we were waiting to do something as a company he would have us go up to the day room and watch Stripes with Bill Murray. 1st Sgt. Allen would laugh like a 10 year old everytime we watched it. I had some good friends both on post and off. My friends on post was Jeff Atkins (CSC), Mike Troute (HQ Co.), David Carlson (C Co. Rest in peace David), John Holgref, SSG. Boswell, SSG. McMicheals, SFC. Oberlander, SFC. Lyles, SFC. Donovan, SSG. Calix, Sgt. Stalker, Steve Fitzgerald. These are only a few of the people I can call a friend. I have great respect for the officers that were at Cooke also Cpt. Aurthur, Cpt. O'Donnell, Lt. Reeves, Maj. Favati (Rest in peace), and the mad man of maintenance LTC. Basso.
I have been in many units but I can not remember the names of so many people I served with as I can from my three years at Cooke Bks. Don't think everyday was a good day because I had bad days there also. Training out in the Spader Woods seemed bad at the time, but if I compare that to the East Range at Schofield Bks in Hawaii. I would take Spader Woods any day. No place could beat the off time in Germany. Before I was married my friend Jeff and I would get on the train and travel to Stuttgart almost every weekend. We would visit every bar there, look at all the sidewalk art and have a good time. The bar in Gerp were great also Maikafer, Crocodile, Taverne, and many more. I had a great time. I also knew people that were miserable there. That's my story of Cooke Bks.
Thanks Bob. I couldn't be any prouder of my life. I am glad that I had the opportunity to grow up around so many different cultures. In the world today, we are surrounded by so many different cultures. It was rare to see anything but a caucasion in the little ole town that I now live in. Sometimes the prejudice just really got to me. Now we are seeing other cultures migrate into our town and I can say that I am quite happy for that. Although prejudice will always be around, I hope everyone can see that regardless of color, culture, and personal values, we are all human.
I agree Sandi, we may have been of all colors, but we were all of one common goal--the USA. I know the kids that grew up in the military setting are a lot less likely to be in a hurry to judge.
Many different units were based at Cooke Barracks during its 40+ years as an Army installation, and no one can speak for all of them, or the tens of thousands of GIs who passed through. Not even you, MEL. All I can say is that as a member of 504th Admin Co. and the Personnel Services Division from 1966 to 1968, I had a very rewarding experience, definitely some of the best years of my life - and I've been lucky, there haven't been any really bad years. If I'd been there at a different time, in a different unit, my story might well be different - but I wasn't.
John, i believe that you hit the nail on the head. i would also like to add my view on this subject. I was stationed with the 504th Admin from Jul63-Nov64, and prior to this i was in Erlangen for 2 years. I also went on to retire from the Army and i can tell you from my own experience that Cooke Barracks was the best place and time that i had throughout my military career. Sure a lot of you guys/girls are thinking that only loser make the military their lives/careers. However think and remember/think about all of those good NCO's and officers that helped you grow. I remember that Cooke Barracks was what you made of it. If anyone out there remembers 1SG James Dillard, the 1SG of 504th Admin at that time, a big man, honest man, every morning at formation he had a platoon that he called the Goon Platoon, and at least 3 times a week I was the NCOIC of this platoon. This was for the GIs that missed bed-check, got drunk or got in some sort of trouble. Mine was drinking to much every night. But, I do not remember being treated any differently then anyone else that got in to some little bet of trouble or those that didn't get in the 1SG line of fire. I was disciplined when needed and didn't cry about it, but, it sure sounds as if some of these guys that are making comments about the guys/girls that "thought those were the best days of their lives" were the soldiers that didn't know how to soldier or just didn't give a hoot. Sure life goes on after Cooke, and life changes as we grow, different places, different people and changes up the rear. But, gentlemen, if you didn't have a good time at Goeppingen, why belittle those that did..
Maybe John Francis if I was in the 504th doing paper work it might have been better but not all of us were paper pushers
During the Cuban missile crisis and the Russian soldier count of troops in and out of Berlin, in the cold war era we were told repeatedly, if war came, most all of us, regardless of our jobs, units, assignments and training would have been reassigned to infantry or other combat units. Anything would have better than that!
...but it seems some had it easier, because others had it rougher. Mel is right about the 144th Signal. It had a lot of problems at that time.
Well Mel, I hope you are ashamed of yourself for saying all those mean things about the Army after all it did for you. Giving you 3 hots and a cot and treating you like a King in the mess hall. Great pay and opportunities for Fun, Travel, Adventure.