There seems to be some differences in some peoples memories or ideas of Cooke Barracks/Goeppingen. I was stationed at Cooke from June 63-Oct 64 and prior to that at Erlangen for two years. I found Goeppingen one of the best duty stations that I had the privilege to have served. I was a team leader with the PSD when it was stood up in July 63. I worked with SFC Straub and SP5 Williams and CW3 Taylor who became the AG of the PSD. I am one of the former soldiers that served at Cooke that really enjoyed the time there-both on and off duty. I seem to get the feeling that the individuals who have a problem with us - is that they were not happy campers, everyone was picking on me sort of soldiers.
I also remember the alerts and getting our gear and going to the woods and standing alert for hours on end (0400hrs plus) and just to be told to go back to you barracks and get ready for another normal duty day. I remember the guard duty and the trips to Graf and the not so good food at the mess halls. But the duty at Cooke was not hard, if you soldiered and did your job I can not remember anyone going out of their way to throw s--- at another soldier. Maybe some of you older GIs remember 1SG Dillard, he was the 1SG of 504th Admin Co. If you remember, 1SG Dillard was a good and honest 1SG and dealed with everyone the same. During morning formations he had an extra platoon for the screw-ups, the guys later for formation-missed bed check and so on. I was usually one of the soldiers in the "Coon Platoon". I was usually half drunk when I reported of duty every morning and I would be the platoon leader for that day. That is just the way it was. If you screwed up you paid. I can not remember any of my team being given extra duty of being treated any differently then any other soldier in 504thAdminCo. If you soldiered and did what you were told to do-no problem. A lot of people did not understand this concept and could not adjust to being a soldier and found any reason to cry foul. By some of the comments on this subject-I can understand why some people didn't like Goeppingen, as much as others. And as far as the questions " what did you people do after Cooke, you must have not did to much to make you happy once you left Cooke Barracks. I can only speak for myself, and I spend 30 years serving the best country in the world and retired and spent 10 years working for the Immigration service throughout the United States in the Balkan countries of Europe. I think I did pretty good for a GI that really like serving at Cooke and having the best time of my young life growing up in one of the best cities in Germany. I agree with Sandi and the last note that John Francis wrote about everyone is different and some people should understand that and belittle someone that thinks a little differently then you. Thank you both Sandi( your comments do count-being a ArmyBrat wasn't the easiest) and to you John Francis for your comments. Just one more thing and I will close, I went back to Goeppingen in October of this year and yes everything has changed, Cooke has changed very much-but it still felt like home.
I was stationed at Cooke Barracks in the late 80's and PCS'd right before the 1st Gulf War to a unit back in the states. I agree wholeheartedly with those who have said that your experience at Planet Gurp was probably colored, in large part, by the unit to which you were assigned. For me it was two of the most miserable years of my life, so I guess I am in the same camp as Mel, although we served more than 20 years apart.
When I think of my time at Cooke Barracks I remember things like the night the 1st Sgt. got me and my roommates up at 2 in the morning to go hold a blanket in freezing temperatures because there was a suicidal soldier on the roof of the barracks threatening to jump. We were out there for hours in the freezing cold, in our underwear waiting for a "specialist" from Stuttgart to come and talk this guy down (and had he jumped, he probably would have hit one of the poor unfortunates holding the green wool blanket, killing or injuring him as well.) Or the time we spent 2 months in the field and upon our return the 1st Sgt. made the 1st floor guys in the barracks paint the rooms and walls of the barracks instead of relaxing and getting drunk like the people living off post? Good old Top B****e was always good for screwing the guys in the barracks with extra details(refolding all the GP medium tents in the unit at 1 am for an early am inspection that never happened because the Asst. Div. Fwd Cmdr was too hung over to show up was another good one.) Oh, and you haven't been miserable until you've done field KP duty for a few weeks in a frozen German forest, for a bunch of cooks whose combined IQs wouldn't reach double digits. I kept wishing they would film one of those "be all you can be" commercials of me standing over that immersion heater, in 2 feet of snow, washing the inedible crud off of some steel pan. It wasn't all misery, though. Lets not forget the great fun to be had when one of the other unfortunate units on post went to the field, while mine stayed; you could run (not walk) down to the NCO club to pick up the wives of the guys who had just left. Just like they did with the wives of the married guys in my unit when we went to the field. Yeah, it wasn't a big surprise that I didn't see many marriages last in the 2 years I was there. Good times.
Oh John, don't for get all those wonderful shots the medics gave! I think my total was around 27. I should have got a medal for bravery!
Vince: We may disagree about Army life but I agree with you about 1SGT Dillard: He was a class act.
I thought the same thing too, when I was 17. Looking back after 32 years- 21 of them in the Army, I miss it. That includes the reverse racism that people like you threw at us when we were there.
I'm just wondering why some GIs could show up half drunk for formation, when so many got Article 15 or eventually a 208?
Vince, I have to say I disagree with your characterization of those who didn't have a fantastic time while stationed at Cooke Barracks as being "everyone picking on me" type of soldiers. On the contrary, had some of the ridiculous details and other onerous things I experienced been directed at me in a personal way it might have been easier to take; Instead it was all just random, most of it happening for no rhyme or reason whatsoever. I know there is a tendency to say that is just the Army, but in the other 2 units I served with there was none of this.
I am tempted to believe that those who talk about what a fantastic, all-expenses paid, vacation-like time they had while at Cooke Barracks were, for the most part, REMFs who never spent a full day in the field, let alone weeks, or months, on end. The "happy campers" who had these desk jobs, reported to their 9-5 "jobs" dressed in Class A/B's, probably did have a good time. Spending several months TDY in Washington DC, following the 1st Gulf War, at just such a cushy "job", almost changed my mind about re-enlisting........Almost. The unit I served with at Cooke Barracks probably had the lowest morale on post; there were several attempted suicides, drug use, a 80% female soldier pregnancy rate (pregnancy was the only way female soldiers could escape going to the field, and guys in the company were more than happy to "help"), article 15s were epidemic and handed out for almost any infraction, no matter how small. This is to say nothing of a sadistic (or mendacious) 1st Sgt, a clueless CO who lost his firearm on 2 seperate field exercises (yeah, you can guess who had to march through the forests looking for it), and an XO who hadn't started shaving yet (and who looked perpetually dazed because it was apparent that everything wasn't just like they told him it would be at West Point). So it is a tale of two different worlds at Cooke Barracks: those who never even saw the s*it sandwich, and those who had to take several big bites of it. I suspect that the guys and gals that had to take the same bite of that sandwich as I did aren't the ones posting the "best time of my life" anecdotes. Just trying to keep it real.
Seems I have hurt some people's feelings. Still I wonder since it has been 20 to 40 years since everyone was there what did you do after that the short time you were there made that the best time of your life.
Thanks John, we will never agree on everything-that's a given. Like the old saying goes "Why can't we all get along". Does anyone out there know the whereabouts of 1SG Dillards daughter is? If my memory serves me correctly her name was Mary and she had reddish hair. If anyone knows please let us know-thanks. Again thanks John, and have a great day.
I think the difference between liking and disliking one's time on Planet Gurp depends on the general nature of the person. I knew a few GI's that hated being there and it is no coincidence that they were the people that got into fights had bad attitudes and disregarded the normal responsibilities of lower ranking soldiers. I know one guy that sat down in the PX and drank a 6pack and refused to pay for it. I liked the guy and even translated his wedding when he married a German girl. But did he think he would not get court marshaled?. Then there were the soldiers that did their jobs and for the most part stayed out of trouble. For those people article 15's were a last option. They were not going to screw up your career because of one bad thing. I showed up drunk to morning formation once( the guy behind me held me up by my collar). The 1st SGT had more fun sending me to every detail that day from unloading a 5ton full of new mattresses to pushing a lawn mower for 2 hours. Not every day was peaches and cream. As I said at the beginning of this thread I loved my time in Germany and in HHC 1st IDF. I also have loved my life afterward. I did 11 Years national Guard after 3years active duty. I have to say the active time was better then NG time. I would not change the life that i have had and now have but I would love to go back in time and relive some of the days at Cooke Barracks.
The guys that did not want to be there did not want to be in the Army period. But everyone that liked being in the Army enjoyed Cooke Barracks more than other duty stations. My roommate came from Ft Riley and said there was no comparison. To Mel and the other guys that did not have the same kind of experiences,I would suggest that you move on with life and stop bringing up all the bad memories by constantly reading the pages of this website. It was apparently a bad time in your lives and the rest of us want you to be happier. And since your lives after wards are so much better you should concentrate on that.
Wow Pete, no point in being so condescending toward Mel. There are two sides to every coin, and which side you choose doesn't tend to make one an authority over anyone else who chooses the other side. As stated, it's a mixed bag. Some did have it harder than others which does not mean they were bad persons or even bad soldiers. In the end if you left under honorable circumstances, then you fulfilled your requirements satisfactorily.
Since when did the Snack bar sell beer in six packs?
Just because someone did not like the army or Cooke Barracks didn't make the a screw up Pete. On the other hand it could be as person who did a lot of brown nosing. I have noticed most people who talk about how much they drank or what they did when they were drunk who are the ones that really enoyed it. Maybe that's because that was the first time they were away from mommy and daddy and could get by with drinking. As for me I did move on and the time I spend at Cooke Barracks wasn't the best of my 60+ years. So you that love it live with the fact a lot of us had better lives than what the army had to offer.
Pete seems to me maybe you're the one who should stop reading the messages. Seems other people's views gets you upset. I was under the impression the message board was for all not the just the ones who loved the army and Cook Barracks. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean you yell foul pick up your marbles and run home crying
I don't think that everyone who did not like being there is a screw up, just as everyone who enjoyed it was not a brown noser. I do not want to get into a personal battle with people that I do not know. Just like I don't know your characteristics, you don't know mine. I guess the point I am trying to make is "if you don't have anything nice to say.....". I am just very frustrated with negative comments. Yes, everyone has the right to free speech and I respect that and when it come to certain subjects like politics, it is essential that there be debates. I just think this is a place for people to share good memories. Why would people want to relive bad ones? I have bad memories of times and places but I don't go out of my way to look for websites about those places to talk bad about them. Its a downer when I'm here reading comments from people that I knew20 years ago, and those comments are putting a smile on my face, then I see something like:
I read these messages and guest book and everybody says it was the best years of their lives being at Cooke Barracks as I remember everybody couldn't wait to go home counting their days down and yelling short. Has memory failed you people on how miserable everybody was I know of no one who said I don't want to go home I want to stay at Cooke Barracks until I die That was Mel's first posting on this thread. If you disliked your time there so much why bother looking it up and dwelling on an unhappy time in your life. It's bad for your blood pressure and shortens your life. Find something that makes you happy and talk about that. Not everybody was miserable. In fact, most of the people that I knew there had a great time. There are a few forums that I read and there is always one sour apple in the bunch. There is enough negativity in the world right now. In my opinion this is not a place to add to it.
And Thomas, I think my friend pulled his little stunt at the commisary.
John W. Hurley
It deeply saddens me to find out that after 69 years of life and thinking I was a decent human being to find out that I am just a complaining, whining namby-pamby "everyone's picking on me", REMF because I don't label my Cooke Barracks stay as the "best time of my life". Sure other units had it rougher than the 504th but that doesn't change the fact that 30 months of non-stop details and bullshit really sucked. This forces me to reconsider having my ashes scattered on the post. My new epitaph, engraved upon a bronzed Underwood typewriter and placed inside the tunnel complex, will be:
Here is where John was gonna be
From now until eternity
He changed his mind when some sucker
Called him a rear echelon mother f-----