Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to my may not be who you think.

Although I am very thankful for my family and my family of friends I would like to tell you about my other special family.

I was born into this family in November of 1988.  I am part of the 1% of the population that chooses this family.  It is a calling for some and an obligation for others.  Whatever the reason, we enter this family freely as volunteers.  The family I am speaking of is the United States Military.  I am part of the army family, but embrace my sisters and brothers of my sister services.

When I started in the Army, I did not understand how strong this bond would really be.  I was a 4 and done soldier.  Now look at me, I am a career soldier.  The bond starts right away.  You rely on each other for everything.  Everything is done as a team.  In basic training I developed bonds that will never be broken. The Drill Sergeants stressed the importance of these bonds.  Who would have known back then that I would become one of those Drill Sergeants and teach the very same values to new recruits.

Over the past 24 years I have met some of the most amazing people from all walks of life.  These people have been from all branches of service.  All of them and their family members I will never forget.   I have laughed and cried with them all.  Yes, members of the military cry!  I have deployed with them to both humanitarian operations as well as to war.  I trust each and every one with my life and I have their back also.

We are one big family.  We become even closer when we are away from our loved ones.  We learn all about each other and are concerned when something is happening in our lives.  We know all about each other’s children and celebrate every birth, birthday and anniversary together.  We celebrate holidays together too, just like any other family.  While we are deployed, they try to make holidays as homelike as possible.  The chow is really good.  We celebrate with our family! Without my Army family, I would have gone crazy while in Iraq.

We also grieve together like a family.  A loss of a military member, no matter if we know them or not, is a loss of a family member.  This includes our K9 family also.  There is nothing more heart wrenching than a memorial service for a fallen Military Working Dog.  When we attend the services, Taps is played, and when the first shots of the volley are fired, our hearts jump, we get a lump in our throats, and we fight back our tears.  One of our sisters or brothers has paid the ultimate sacrifice.  There is no greater honor than to salute our fallen comrade.  When we lose a member of this family, it affects us in a way that no civilian, who has never served, can understand.

On Thanksgiving, as you gather around whomever you are calling “family”, give thanks to the Military.  Give thanks to all of my sisters and brothers in this profession of arms both past and present for if we haven’t served, you could not enjoy the freedom of sitting with your loved ones on this day.  We fought and continue to fight for your right to live free.  I thank all of my Military Family.  I also thank you, my family and friends, for everything that you are to me.

Happy Thanksgiving

Dutch aka Sergeant First Class Deutcher, United States Army

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Women, The Myths, The Legends.....Mom and Pat

It is Thanksgiving and I like to think of all the things I am thankful for in my life.  One of them is having awesome memories.  The one below is of one of my travels in Germany and it involves the Kick in the Pants Mom.  Thanks Mom for showing me that life is fun and to live for the moment!

My sister posted a picture today that reminded me of a place we visited while I was stationed in Germany.  We visited a lot of places in Germany, but this one held a lot of memories, especially the one I am about to tell.  My tales of Germany pop into my head a lot.  It was my favorite duty station In the Army.  I have decided to start writing about all of these tales before I forget them.  Well, enough chitter chatter, on to the story.

I had the opportunity to visit Neuschwanstein Castle while I was in Germany.  You know the one; it looks like the one at Disney.  I went a couple of times.  Once with the person I was married to (a story for another time) and once with my Mom, you know, the Kick in the Pants!

In 1990, Mom came to visit me while I was stationed in Germany.  She brought two stowaways in the form of my sister, Peachie, and her best friend Pat, may she rest in peace.  We traveled all over (more stories to follow later).  One of the places I took them was Neuschwanstein Castle. 

If you have ever seen pictures of the castle, and I am not talking the Disney pictures, you would know that it sits on top of a hill.  This is the website for the castle which will provide the historical background:  Well, we chose to walk up the hill to the castle.  Even though we were in decent shape, it was quite a hike.  Remember it was over 20 years ago.  While we were up there we took the tour of the castle.

The tour was amazing.  It took you through all parts of the castle to include the grotto.  The tour guide was a German lady, go figure.  She was pretty stern and told us at the beginning of the tour no video and no flash photography.  Well, being the goody two shoes that I am, I did not follow the rules.  I had this HUGE VHS video camera. It was one of the first VHS models so it was huge.  Needless to say, I unplugged the monitor so you couldn’t see it videotaping and I videotaped the whole tour.  I had to rush to turn it off a couple time, hehe.  Mom walked way ahead.  I guess I would have been out of luck if I got caught and I really didn’t want to mess with the German lady.  She looked like a real brute.

Well, we got done with the tour without getting caught, whew!  It was time to head down the hill.  My sister and I got ahead of Mom and Pat.  As they were coming down the switchback trail, I decided to video a bit more.  I focused the camera on them and Peachie and I said, “Here they come, The Women, The Myths, the Legends….” Before we could finish what we were saying, Mom and Pat flipped us off!  We couldn’t believe it; our Mom gave us the Bird, the One Finger Salute!!!!!  My sister and I burst out laughing and couldn’t stop! 

Pat passed away this past April.  This story was told at her eulogy.  We wanted everyone to know how much fun she was and still is.  This story still makes me laugh.  This was one of the many funny memories of this trip with many more to follow.  Just wait until Italy!!  Now you can see why I think my Mom is a kick in the pants.  Pat may be gone, but the memories of hers and Moms antics lives on in our hearts and minds.  Thank you for letting me share this with you.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Mary aka Mama Bear

Monday, November 12, 2012


First let me say that I am new to this blogging thing, so bear with me!

I arrived in Germany fresh from Basic Training and AIT (Advanced Individual Training) in March of 1989.  I had just finished my training at Fort McClellan, Alabama and was a Military Policeman in the Army. It was 17 weeks of intense training, but I made it.  That will be a blog for another time.

We arrived late at night and they shuffled us off into the barracks.  The next morning I was shipped off to my duty station, Nurnberg.  Furth to be exact, Darby Kaserne.  Not to be confused with Camp Darby in Italy.  Italy is another adventure I may write about.

It was a major culture shock for me.  I was used to being told what to do and when to do it for the last 17 weeks.  No one blowing whistles at me or banging trash cans.  No counting back from 10 and missing half the numbers.  Now, I was on my own according to the Sergeant.  I was free to explore.  He also told me I could wear what I wanted.  Hmmm, great, now I had to go shopping!  I settled into the barracks which we behind the gated walls of a military "compound."  I felt like a real person, whatever that is. 

The building I lived in was OLD.  Everything was old there.  It was just like in the movies.  Nurnberg/Furth had not fallen into the modernization like most cities had.  The only thing modern were the asphalt roads.  The sidewalks were still cobblestone and the buildings looked old and worn.  When you looked up at the windows of the houses, you saw flower boxes, just like the pictures I had seen of Germany that my uncle showed me.  It was like I was looking at a painting. 

My first week there was spent mainly just exploring around the Kaserne.  I had to change some money over to German Marks.  It was a good thing I took a year of German in high school or I would have been super lost.  My roommate showed me around and got me familiar with the community.  It was fairly easy to navigate.  I stayed close at first.  The park was my favorite place to go during my first week there.  Everyday I ventured out a bit more.  This was going to be great.  There is so much history..........Until the next time tschuss!