By way of introduction




 
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April 22nd, 2007  
topoftherock
 
 

Topic: By way of introduction


Hi, everyone.

This is actually my second thread. My first, and the reason I registered in the Forum, was to provide the motto of the US Army’s Fifteenth Infantry, “Can Do”, which was strangely absent from the list.

I served as an infantry officer in the US Army from 1971 until 1975. After the initial training stint in the School Brigade at Fort Benning, I was sent to Germany as Weapons Platoon Leader, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 15th Infantry. The battalion was then part of the 3rd Infantry Division.

When I joined it in the winter of 1972, the 2nd of the 15th was garrisoned at Wildflecken, which had the dubious distinction of having served as a ski training camp for the Waffen SS during WWII. Wildflecken was then a training area, frequented by American and allied units. The post was home to a battalion of the 54th Combat Engineers and the 10th German Panzer Grenadier Battalion, as well as our mechanized infantry battalion.

Our Battalion CO was then LTC Bill McCaffrey, who named it “The Top of the Rock”, in reference to the hill upon which Wildflecken sat, as well as our parent division, which was traditionally known as the Rock of the Marne. As you can tell, I borrowed this name for my Forum ID. Although I lost track of our CO after I left Wildflecken, I suspect that he ultimately joined the general ranks so frequented by his illustrious family.

Our Battalion XO, and one of my earliest mentors, was the legendary, then MAJ Serge A. Demyanenko. Not only was he one of the most decorated soldiers I had met, but he was also a fine human being. He is currently retired in California, where I found him through an e-mail search that took years. Serge, the son of a Czarist Cavalry officer who emigrated to Paris after the Bolshevik victory, had to put up with a lot of ribbing on his name at a time when it would have been more common on the side of our opponents. He did so good-naturedly, never missing the opportunity of educating his would-be detractors. He was a master paratrooper who had earned the wings of most allied countries, including Vietnam. He retired as a Colonel of Special Forces, after having turned down a promotion to flag rank to do so.

When I served in Charlie Company, it was led by VMI graduate, then CPT David G. O’Connor, a fine gentleman and teacher. I also recall fondly our company XO, 1LT Ed Summey, from Tennessee. And I would be remiss were I not to mention the man who really taught me what the Army was all about, my Platoon Sergeant SFC George Boothe. His words still resound in my consciousness: “Lieutenant, this is MY platoon. Of course you are in charge, but you listen to what I have to say and you’ll get along just fine”.

After Wildflecken I was posted to our parent unit in Kitzingen’s Harvey Barracks, the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. There I had the honor to serve under another legend: Colonel Gene Price, of West Virginia. I learnt much from this man, even though the lessons may have taken a while to come through. As most true born leaders, Gene was a simple, kind man. He and his gracious wife would sit with us for hours at the officer’s club, playing his ukulele and singing about his “Almost Heaven, West Virginia”.

It was during this time that I met my wife in Wuerzburg, and we married at the Kitzingen post chapel under a tunnel of Army sabers formed by my brothers-in-arms. In retrospect, this was the finest time of my short Army career.

My active military service ended at my next post, Fort Polk, Louisiana, where I resigned my commission to eventually join the US Foreign Service, where I have been for the last 30 years. Two marvelous things happened in Fort Polk: I made friends with my boss, CPT Greg Engstrom, and my eldest daughter was born.

If our paths crossed somewhere along the timeline I just described, I would be very happy to hear from you.
April 23rd, 2007  
Fox
 
 
Interesting story, sir. Welcome to the forums.
April 23rd, 2007  
Gator
 
 
Welcome to the Forums
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April 23rd, 2007  
Sevens
 
 
Welcome aboard, Sir!!!
April 23rd, 2007  
topoftherock
 
 

Thanks, Sevens. Keep dreaming of a better tomorrow.
April 23rd, 2007  
topoftherock
 
 

I'm new at this. I intended to reply to all of you individually. But I guess that the response goes out to everyone. In any case, thanks to all of you for your warm welcome.
April 23rd, 2007  
Sevens
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by topoftherock
Thanks, Sevens. Keep dreaming of a better tomorrow.
Oh I will. And some day....I know we will leave that darn chicken alone.
April 23rd, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 
welcome to the board. now we have 4 active members of the board that live and work in the D.C. area.
April 23rd, 2007  
Missileer
 
 
Welcome topoftherock. I went through Basic at Ft. Polk in the Summer of `62 and remember the constant 99% humidity and triple digit temperatures. Even the water from a warm lister bag felt cool.
April 23rd, 2007  
tomtom22
 
 

Topic: Welcome!


Welcome aboard, topoftherock.
 


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