by Hudson PhillipsOur evacuation from the Panama Canal was a terribly sad and sudden thing. As we approached the time that we were to leave, my father’s demeanor changed to a terse and commanding presence. It was time to be soldiers. When I think back now, it explains why he acted this way. A barrage balloon hovered over the house, tethered not far away. Piles of sand were placed near our back door to help extinguish fire from incendiary bombs. The entire family was issued gas masks. I was informed of a stash of emergency items in a compartment in the kitchen (in case my parents were out of the house during an attack.) Read the rest of this entry »
by Circe Olson Woessner, Executive Director , Museum of the American Military Family
Over 17, 100 people visited our last exhibit, Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family over the summer—please help us showcase our unique schooling experiences!As we continue to gather quotes and short memory pieces for our new exhibit, “Schooling With Uncle Sam”, we periodically post a topic for your collaboration—
Do you have short stories or memories you’d care to add to our exhibit panels?
- If you attended a DODDS Boarding school when and where was it?
- Was your DoD school unusual in the sense it was in a repurposed building, like a tobacco warehouse, a Quonset hut, or a hotel? If so, what was it?
Please post below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
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By Allen Dale Olson
One Sunday afternoon, I heard the doorbell as well as my wife hustling to answer it. She opened the door, let out a shriek, and just before she shut it, I saw a man hurrying down the stair case calling up to her that he’d be back for dinner tomorrow. She was holding a canvas bag containing a newly-shot pheasant and said it was Dr. Mason who had been hunting and brought the pheasant for dinner tomorrow evening.
Such was life in Karlsruhe, Germany, with Dr. Joseph A. Mason, Director of the United States Dependents Schools, European Area (USDESEA) in the mid-1960s till his death in 1979. You just never knew what to expect next. Probably no one got to know “Doc” (as we called him so he would have a title like the military officers with whom we worked) better than I did during those years. For most of his tenure, USDESEA was the tenth largest American school system with an enrollment roughly the size of that of St. Louis. Its 200 schools covered an area two-and-a-half times the size of the Continental United States, extending from the Persian Gulf to Sub-Saharan Africa to Scotland and Norway, to Spain and Sicily, and throughout Germany. Read the rest of this entry »
This is from the book, Bavarian Creme: Memories of Munich Campus
I arrived in Germany in 1949. At that time there were still remnants of bombed buildings in Munich and its surroundings. The Cold War was in high gear. Barbed wire surrounded McGraw Kaserne and police dogs helped MPs patrol the area. In 1950 the barbed wire was replaced with guards at both entrances and military passes and IDs had to be shown in order to get into the Kaserne. Security was tight. There were no immediate houses around the Kaserne. The nearest community was Harlaching, which the Germans called “Little America” because the Americans who lived there tried to make it more like America than Germany. Many of the Bavarians still wore Dirndls and Lederhosen. Soldiers wore uniforms all the time. The majority of the Germans did not speak English.
My father was Colonel William A. Swan, Southern Area Commander, whose headquarters was McGraw Kaserne. Realizing that I had to learn German before I could attend college, I enrolled in the “Auslander” course at the University of Munich. I was the only English-speaking person in the class. Herr Doctor Nagles spoke only German to us for eight hours a day. This was not the college education my father had in mind for me. He became concerned because I spent all day learning German, and was not getting any instruction in English. He wanted me to go Stateside and enroll in an American college. I had fallen in love with the German people and did not want to go back home. It occurred to me that the only solution to my dilemma was to start an American University in Munich. I know that sounds presumptuous, but it seemed logical to me at the time. Read the rest of this entry »