143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 40
Table tennis is one of the most played games in our battery at which every fellow has improved to the point where its hard to pick a champ. "Zup" Zupancic, Mort Spitz, Brinc Brincefeild, "Office Boy" McIntire, "Omar the Tentmaker" Hatfield, Fitz Fitzerald, "Clothes--Horse" Soltoff and "Donald Duck" Moore are some of the players in the higher brackets.
Other activities in the battery were swimming, fishing, chess, checkers, and volley ball. In Gymnastics, Junior Hogue, General Electric Martin and Lt. Mac are the experts on the side-horse and parallel bars. "Muscles" Gill and his weights were a sight for anyone to see. Also, if you want to see a pretty sight, get "G.I." Al Jacinto to kick a football for you. At the present time, we are working on a tennis court so that we can develop some more champions to our already long string.
On August 6th, Lt. Katz, our Special Service Officer, felt that it would be a good thing to provide the men of the battery with a little diversion away from the area. He obtained a 33 passenger bus and a driver for it named Herr Adler.
Placing Sgt. Jacinto in charge, Lt. Katz got the party started the following morning. It was planned to stop at Suttgart for the noon meal. However, we had a flat tire 20 miles short of our destination and during the delay we ate our noon meal of C rations in a shady spot by the roadside. We proceeded to Ulm where we spent the night and continued the next morning to Munich where the party saw some of Hitler's infamous beer-cellars. Later in the day, the men were able to see Hal McIntyre's orchestra at the Stad Stadium.
We left Munich and arrived at Salzburg, Austria where we spent the night. In the morning, we journeyed on to Berchtesgaden arriving there to find that it would be necessary to negotiate some steep mountain grades in order to see Hitler's hideout. Herr Adler, whom most of the fellows will agree is a cautious driver, was dubious about essaying these steep grades with his beloved "Wagen" but 33 GI's convinced him that "everything was Prima" and after much hesitation he finally consented. After 30 minutes of grueling up-hill driving, Herr Adler finally got us to the Platterhof Hotel where we parked the bus and walked around the area to view such places as Hitler's, Himmler's and Goering's private residences as well as the SS barracks -- all of which were in ruins from the aerial pounding they received earlier in the war.
We proceeded without incident to Ulm and stayed there once more for the nite leaving the next morning to finish our return trip. Herr Adler was feeling pretty good about bringing his old bus through such a hazardous journey as he drove his antiquated Wagen down N10. Suddenly, some farmer in a dilapitated truck pulled in front of our bus causing Herr Adler to slam on the brakes which sent us sliding into a ditch on the side of the road. Fortunately, some ordnance boys were located nearby and they managed to pull us out in short time. Herr Adler inspectted every inch of the under structure before he would continue the rest of the trip. After he was satisfied that his bus was unharmed, we continued homeward arriving at 1800 to find our BC, Capt. Napier, parked on the doorstep with a very anxious look on his face, since the party was already one day late. His first words of greeting were "This is the biggest bunch of AWOL's I ever had." Then to Sgt. Jacinto "Did you bring back the same number of men you started with?" to which the Sgt. answered "All men of excursion party present and accounted for, Sir!"
I am sure that none of the fellows that went on the trip will ever forget the sight of our driver, Herr Adler as he stopped his bus to inspect the bridges to make sure