The Rock – Images of a wall of thanks, separated by 23 years…

The base I was stationed at in Germany was lovingly referred to as The Rock.  1st Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment.  Near Bindlach, Germany, it was a lonely outpost in the middle of the German countryside.  Absolutely beautiful.  I seem to remember virtually every day.
I remember when we got back from Desert Storm, the bus filled with bona-fide combat veterans – my God, we were just kids – driving through that front gate and seeing The Wall.  The wives, families, and those soldiers tasked to stay behind, painted the wall that led onto base.  This image is what it looked like in 1991…
I’m feeling very strange right now.  I don’t know how to describe it.  Like leaving the home you grew up in and coming back 20 years later to see how it has aged and changed.   I came across some pictures of that wall that were apparently taken just today.  You can see that these are the same portions of the wall, but some 20-odd years later…
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It was a nostalgia overload.  I have pictures of those families actually painting that wall.  I used to road march and run past that wall every single day.
Our morning PT runs… you could smell the alcohol sweating out of us.  We had just gotten back to base a few hours earlier and were still a little drunk.
The cigarette smoke from Top as he’d lap us – he was twice as old as we were and he was running around us with a smoke hangin’ outta his mouth.  Screaming cadence about Mary Jane Rottencrotch and how she was spreadin’ ’em for all the boys back home.
A yellow bird…
With a yellow bill…
Was sittin’ on….
My window sill…
I lured him in…
With a piece of bread…
And then I smashed…
His fuckin’ head!
I remember the bus letting us off in the parking lot at our barracks.  We made our way to our rooms and sitting on the floor in front of each door was a case of beer.  Real German beer.  Shit you drank warm, sweet as sweet tea.  The closest thing we’d had in the past seven months was some fake stuff our Chaplain surprised us with on Christmas Eve.
And then we were back.  Sleeping in a real bed.  Eating real food.  Shitting in a real toilet with real toilet paper.  Taking a real shower…
And running past that wall again, every single day.

12 thoughts on “The Rock – Images of a wall of thanks, separated by 23 years…

  1. mr880

    That’s a great post right there. Those are some powerful images in the back half of that piece. (the written images were more exciting for me than the photos, but I’m glad you put them in because I can almost see all you describe happening in front of/along that wall. Also, those pictures of the wall are so….empty…they’re chock full of empty….haunted by all the stiff not pictured. I couldn’t imagine what was so profoundly missing from the pictures until I read the back half of the post and suddenly saw all those people there, almost like ghosts.
    I know the fella who wrote this and he claims to have no writerly aspirations, but I swear I can smell creative process happening here.
    Be careful, dude. Do you want fiction? Because that’s how you get fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carlos

    Hey I was in C-Troop 1/2 ACR in Bindlach GERMANY from July 1990 to Aug 1992 I think. You know most of us were deactivated. I can’t thank you enough for the post and pictures if certainly makes you sit back and reminisce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Evan C.

      Oh wow! Small world! I remember when they deactivated us and sent us to the wind. That wasn’t too long after we got back from the Gulf. War Eagles!!!


  3. my mom used to paint that wall with me fresh born. i am still looking for people who knew my dad, Donald Leonard Cole. He had some strokes and i am helping him finding my older sister and getting some memories back.

    Your text is very beautifull!


    1. Evan C.

      Thank you, Tasha! Unfortunately, I did not know your father, but I will never forget that wall and the base. So nice to meet someone it also touched. 😊


  4. Randolph Luby

    Glad to see the wall is still up. I was there in 76/77 hq bldg. and can agree with your feelings about the place. The best time in my military career. Hated when we had to go to the border and leave Christiansen Barrecks. But loved the towns, Bayruth was beautiful, hope it never lost its charm

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Russell Masterson

    never knew they deactivated it I was in rom 1982 -83 can still remember that place even today I was a tank mechanic that little patch on our hats that said border ment a lot then thy made us take it off

    Russell Masterson march 2019

    Liked by 1 person

  6. c woods

    They have leveled most all of the buildings , and, Camp Gates is totally gone, its now a frigging solar panel station……I was there 76-77…. The Rock is no more.. its all housing now….Fritz”s taxi stand is gone , Its a damn shame to see what they did to it……So many dedicated soldiers came thru those Gates….for the most part , not a trace remains…


    1. Evan C.

      That’s just sad. 😦 I always thought it would have been neat to go back and show my family where I was stationed. I guess you can never go back.


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