318th Bn.
 A Return Visit To Herzo Base
1997
VII Corps

 Letter written by: Sp/5 Thomas E. Wenz  who made a visit to the base in 1997, read the entire
 letter alot of good first hand info about "What happened to herzo.?". Thank You Tom..!!
 
   With sons in the army stationed on opposite sides of Germany, I was able to fly to Paris and meet with my (middle) son and his wife.  We entered Germany two days later.  After remaining with him about a week, we met my oldest son and his family in Nuremberg and I was once again on familiar ground.  Plans were made to visit Herzo Base long before I returned to Germany for the first time in ust over 33 years. I was amazed to discover that “Herzo Base” had its own exit off an autobahn (the sign was old). This dumped you very near the gate! There are in fact two traffic lights between the entrance to the base and the town.

   When I left in June of "64", the winding road from the front gate to “town” passed between fields used for agriculture, a fact that was confirmed by the unmistakable fragrance of the spring visits of   the “honey wagon” and tilling by horse-drawn plows.Today the city  is pushing toward the front gate of the old base.

   I approached the familiar arch and guard shack. The lettering now read Herzo Artillery and the  “guard” was a bewildered German man who finally was made to understand that I had been stationed there  in the early ‘60s and I wished to park the car and walk around to take pictures.  He explained that the property had been “privateized” a few weeks prior to my arrival and, yes, I could take pictures.

   Col. McFadden would have been despondent at the sight.  Tall grass (with weeds) now grew in front of the small “parade field” near the flagpole.  The fence was gone.  Modern family quarters stood at the right rear (in the old antenna field) and contrasted with the deterioration of the other structures, relics of my remembrance of our combat readiness days under Col. J.J.!  (Remember the Schnauzer?) There was no fence and no guard shack at “opps.”  I couldn’t get in (padlocked) and I could find no window to look into the building.  I wanted to see if the German phrase  “mortal danger from the crane” was still there from the Nazi days.

   All the other converted hangars were in place.  The mess hall was gutted of furnishings and equipment.  Other buildings kept their secrets behind dirty glass and darkened interriors.  I was able to peer in some rooms on the ground floor of  182nd, 183rd,and HQ Co.; no furnishings and no other signs of the life I knew there. The building where the USO girls ran things was still there; same name (now forgotten).
I remember that I was playing “Hearts” with three other soldiers there when news came of Kennedy’s having been shot in Dallas.  We went to “opps” and learned that he had died just before it came over the radio.

   Looking up the paths from the HQ barracks was very much the same view of the mess hall that I remembered.  The roads are unchanged except for needed repairs.  The EM Club now belonged to a furniture company. I think they used it for a warehouse.  Best of all I knowledge that the motor pool, where we pulled “firsts the eschalon (sp?) maintenance” on vehicles is now a WINERY!  Amazing!  A sign is up and all the other evidence that confirms its purpose is cluttered around it.

Thomas E. Wenz  RA16 716 847 (if correctly remembered) Sp5/  Hon.Discharged



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