The GI In Germany
By Cpl. John M. Holman, U.S. Army, Germany
Hampton Union, February 1952
GABLINGEN, GERMANY -— Army life in Germany is a far cry from what it used to be in World War I or II, to say the least. Today it is more of an occupational army than a fighting force.
Living conditions for the G. I. were never so good. The barracks or living quarters are called Kasernes In Germany. They overlook what was once an air field used by the Luftwaffe, where sheep now peacefully graze. They were used by the German Airmen during the last war, and have been newly renovated. Two and a half stories high, they are divided into squad rooms housing four to six men each. They have double bunks with foot lockers and wall lockers for clothing and equipment. The bunks are made up with fresh linen every week, and each man has a mattress, mattress cover, two sheets, pillow, pillow case and three blankets.
The floors are a polished composition tile, with the walls painted a two-tone color, usually cream and a light green. Heat is furnished by steam radiators, with the Kasernes always warm on the coldest winter days. Each of the men in the squad room has his own responsibility in keeping the room neat and clean. There is always plenty of hot water for showers, shaving and washing.
[Photo right: -- Cpl. John Holman of Hampton is shown at right with members of Headquarters personnel office in Germany in 1952, front to rear: Cpl. Robert Pugilo, Connecticut; Cpl. Holman; Cpl. Wilton Pate, Arkansas; Cpl. Stuart Halverson, Michigan; Cpl. Robert Wertz, Indiana; Pfc. James Lazar, Massachusetts; Sgt. Frederick Seigel, Pennsylvania; and Sfc. Anthony Cerulla, Pennsylvania.]
The Army mess halls are located in small stucco buildings resembling small restaurants. In the kitchens are all kinds of modern cooking conveniences, such as potato peelers, slicing machines, baking ovens, electric mixers, electric dish-washers, meat grinder and slicer, large refrigerators, freezers and many more modern appliances. They have a large steam table from which the food is served to the men on aluminum trays. They also have a large coffee urn where fresh coffee is always on hand.
The dining room is set up with tables seating six men to a table. The mess hall Is also heated by steam radiators guaranteeing a steady flow of heat day and night. Yes, the modern army mess hall can easily be converted into a new-style cafeteria. The food is excellent, chicken being served twice a week, and what could be better then ice cream for dessert. The meals are always well-balanced and would satisfy the strictest nutritionist.
If one happens to work in some kind of office such as Regimental Headquarters, Division Headquarters, or Personnel Section, he will find that the office is laid out much the same as a modern office building, with brand new polished mahogany desks with chairs to match, filing cabinets, waste baskets and other office equipment. Each section is located in a different room within the building, for the convenience of all concerned. In the above-mentioned desks there are roomy drawers where blank forms and miscellaneous papers are kept for easy accessibility. All in all, the army Administrative office is a pleasant place in which to work.
Recreational facilities are plentiful in these modern army camps in Germany. There are well-stocked Post Exchanges, Snack bars, coffee shops, enlisted men's clubs, movies and libraries, not to mention barber shops, laundry services and tailors.
The G. I. is not compelled to spend all his time within the camp limits, however, for passes are available to those who wish to do a little sightseeing around Germany and elsewhere.
Yes. Army life in Germany isn't so bad, after all.
(Editor's Note — The above article was written by Cpl. John M. Holman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall S. Holman of Mill road, Hampton, who is stationed at in Germany in 1951-53.)