My Military Career, Part #4…”that was the end of my 1st day in Germany!

  AB JOHN W. Gray, USAF, Basic Training, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Tx, July 25, 1971
I awoke from my sleep, feelin’ my ears startin’ to pop from the pressure changes & I could tell the plane had started it’s descent. Lookin’ out of my small window the landscape below is beautiful, everythin’ was covered with Snow. I had never seen anythin’ like it comin’ from Alabama. “Welcome to Frankfurt, Germany, came over the intercom, please buckle your seatbelts, & prepare for landing”! broke the early mornin’ silence. There I was, 19 yrs old, in the USAF for only 4 months, roughly 6000 (+/-) miles from home. The plane stopped, the door opened & folks headed up the walkway to the Concourse. It was HUGE! People meetin’, huggin’, greetin’ in languages I had never heard. There were many young men, like myself, in Military Uniforms, herded off to the side. We started dividin’ by Branch of Services. There was some “Loud Mouth Army Sargent Barkin’ Orders” at those wearin’ Green! Sounded like “Basic Trainin’ ” all over again. Then someone, from behind, lightly tapped me on the shoulder, “Airman Gray, I’m your Sponsor, Tsgt Elvin, Welcome to Germany, let’s get your baggage and get out of here”. “Yes sir”, I said & he lead the way. It was about 2 hour drive headed Southwest to Ramstein AFB. Tsgt Elvin was just talkin’ away, doin’ his best to get me relaxed, & lettin’ me know about him. I was in awe at the scenery as we cruised down the Autobahn (Interstate). Beautiful little towns scattered the rollin’ hills & valleys. Tsgt Elvin just chattin away and every now & then I’d respond “Yes sir”! I would like wise respond with info about me. I was noticin’ all of the road signs along the way, couldn’t read a damn one of’em. We arrived at the Main Entrance to Ramstein Air Base & were waved right on through, as we were in a Military vehicle. Tsgt Elvin asked if I was hungry, I answered “Yes sir”. He told me to stop all the “Yes sir” stuff, it wasn’t required to every question! I answered “that’s the way I was raised to answer folks sir, it’s just habbit”…. Well ok. We walked into the Chow Hall, showed our ID’s & were waved right on thru. There was breakfast & lunch available. “Get what ever you want, just eat what ya get” the Sgt behind the line said. Hell, I thought I was in a Buffet Restaurant lookin’ at that food spread. Tsgt Elvin said “he’d show me around the Base, when we were thru eatin’, then get me settled in my “Dorm Room”. He told me where the Base Bus Stops were and I could within a 1/2 of a block from where ever I need to go. We arrived @ the Dorm Building, 3 stories tall 1/4 of a block long. I was introduced to my room mate “Ruffus”, yep 2 men per room. Sgt Ruffus, this is Airman John Gray. Tsgt Elvin told me he needed to go & Sgt Ruffus would introduce me around. Also, he said “there was a “Special Bus” I’d need to take tomorrow mornin’ out to Kindsbach Bunker, where I’d be workin’. It comes @ 0630hrs., right out front, “DON”T MISS IT”! There’s a Chow Hall out there so you can eat when you get there. I’ll see you there & introduce you to the Commander & our Crew. Yes sir, I’ll see you in the AM! That’ll be 0700 hrs, he said. “Yes sir 0700hrs”. Sgt. Ruffus said let’s grab your bags, the guys around here call me Ruff or Ruffus”. “Please, call me Billy” I said. I met all the guys there and then settled in for the evenin’. It had been a lonnng day & that was the end of my 1st day in Germany!…Hold’em Hook”…..BG>


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