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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mrs. Hardy's fifth-graders take a trip

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mrs. Amy Hardey's fifth-graders were hosted by the local V.F.W. Post 1127 Commander Bob Bigler, who brought Marion "Sarge" Eveland to bring the girls and boys along on an imaginary trip to the closing days of World War II through France into Germany winding up in Berlin.

The trip started with an 11-day stormy ride across the Atlantic in which sleeping on a canvas bed, eating standing up at a waist-high table during monstrous rocking forward and side motions of the "Coldale Victory," which Kaiser built along with the many "peeps," later known as "jeeps;" was an experience they could only imagine to only being to compare with the liners of today.

Eleven days of seasickness would be visualized only with the continual rocking motions on all sides.

Sarge landed them in Le Harve, France, and continued the trip from Camp Lucky Strike on through France and the small villages that were in complete ruins, on into Germany where he stayed overnight at Marbourgh University, which was situated on a hill and unoccupied at the time by any students, where he was interviewed and selected for special training to become an MP.

What a break for us as we went back on the troop train to a small French village and a training area staying for a few weeks to learn spoken German, traffic signs and traffic control, first aid, military law and many other things useful in our new jobs to come.

Departing this village, which was located 60 miles south of Paris, called Romilly-Sur-Seine, we left to enter Germany again.

Arriving many days later on the outskirts of Berlin, at a place called outpost "Charlie," we are held up for three days by the Russians, whom have Berlin surrounded and the big brass haven't fully gotten together as to where the allies would control.

That's American, British, French and Russians. Finally getting the word we could proceed into Berlin, we take over four block long apartments and move right in. Our duties were patrol, security for Gen. Lucius D. Clay (Mil. Governor of American Zone, Traffic Control, Curfew, etc., also maintaining our own duties of unit living).

The Russians had strung barbed wire between our zone and theirs, making it East Germany and ours West Germany.

We were cautioned not to cross over into Russian zone as you would be detained and likely interrogated for days. Something we already knew had happened to some soldiers.

I didn't know another Brazil man was also sent to Berlin, but Charles Jones was there patrolling the barbwire with the Constabulary.

We lost a good number of vehicles by leaving them unlocked and they ended up in the Russian zone.

Russian soldiers could come over into our zone, but not many did. It was a time of uneasy peace, you didn't go out taking pictures, etc., alone, always with a buddy.

We had our own "Day Room," where you could relax, no television, write home (free mailing), no dating the local girls.

This all changed as I prepared to come back to the United States.

I got hurt and had to wait another month, but here we are back in the U.S.

We had seen a Frenchman digging into our garbage by the bucket and then reaching in and grabbing a handful and shoving into his mouth, and feeding his mule from the same bucket.

This was what war caused. We saw the bombed-out buildings that the bombers had blasted from the air. Most of all, we had seen a beaten down people whom had followed a man insane with power and all whom followed him.

Today, Commander Bigley says that most students in school see the Hollywood soldiers in action and don't know anything about the real soldier.

Real soldiers are not the "9-to-5" type. They are there 24/7, for 365 days and that is the schedule. The local Army Guard loaned equipment for the visit, and the students got the hands-on feel and weight of the items.

Oh, and wow, they were heard several times.