For some reason, I have been one of those people that seem to attract strange people.  When I went to the Armed Forces Examination station in Kansas City There were several of us from Wichita that were all sworn in the same day.  One of these guys started to hang around with us and when we asked him what he was going into the Army as, he said he spoke Herman.  You know like they speak in Hermany.  He had enlisted for four years to be a linguist and his Army Security Agency assignment would be translating traffic along the border in Hermany.  

We were sworn in and bussed to the Receptions Station at Fort Leonard Wood, MO.  It seemed like we stood in line after line and this guy just kept talking and talking and talking.  All the time, he was pretty difficult to understand with his speech impediment.  The good news was at the time I still had most of my hearing and didn't have to read lips.  The bad news was that I still had most of my hearing and had to listen to him.  On and on through the first two or three days we were subjected to facts and history of Germany way beyond the point of caring for most of us.

On the third day, we went over to the Main Post Theater and were given the Army's driving safety class.  Yes, it was mostly animation to keep the attention of the normal draftee.  It was a cartoonish list of Rules, Laws and Orders on driving.  Somewhere in the middle of the film there was an accident scene about three soldiers on weekend leave headed to Saint Louis that had a car with a faulty muffler.  Carbon Monoxide has been seeping into the car and they ran into the back of a Tractor Trailer.  The accident investigation showed the bodies of those three soldiers cut off about mid chest in full color.

Our Herman friend stood up, screamed, started crying and ran out of the Theater.  He was so traumatized that he had to go to the Hospital.  I am sure that he was discharged as unfit for Military Service.   The only question I had was,  Is he for real or did he find the perfect scheme to get out of the Army right when the Vietnam buildup was in full swing?  Act like you are wanting to go and then act crazy worked.  Many of us asked ourselves who was right and who was wrong.  I will promise you that there was no way in my family that I coulda, shoulda or woulda gone to Canada to escape the draft.  Now, if I had been found unfit, I might have been able to go home.

Years later Barb and I went to Hermany and I can't imagine how anyone with the inability to say G's could learn the German Language.  I loved the food, the people and the beer.  I wasn't crazy about the little red Opal on the Autobahn playing with those big fast Mercedes but I love the side roads anyway. 


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