Yeah!! The Verizon MiFi Jetpack is working now. We’re in Stephensville, TX now after spending 5 nights at the West Fort Hood RV Park & Travel Camp. Maybe the Jetpack just didn’t like Ft Hood, or maybe there’s some sort of jamming going on in the area. The Travel Camp is located pretty close to Robert Gray Army Airfield. Hmmm!?
Anyway, let me bring you up to date on our Fort Hood visit (1-5 July): Here’s our spot at the Travel Camp (below). Full hookups, 50 amp power, and paved level sites… all for $14 per night.
The main reason we drove to Fort Hood is because I have some old Army acquaintances that have since retired near the Army post that I wanted to see. The first old Army buddy that I got to catch up with is Guy Niles. He was the Command Sergeant Major for the 601st Support Battalion when I was the Direct Support Maintenance Technician during the 2003-2005 time period. We were stationed in Katterbach, GE together and survived numerous field exercises, tank gunneries, and deployments together.
Here’s a couple old pics (below) that I dug up of myself and the CSM:
Guy and I were also members of Stillas’ brother’s Harley Owners Group (HOG) Chapter from his motorcycle shop back in Germany (Rothsee Harley Davidson). Here we are (below) posing with our vests for a picture in front of a Saddam Hussein mural that was left standing on the Iraqi airbase (Camp Speicher) where we lived during our year-long tour in Iraq. We got to go on some great motorcycle trips together while we were stationed in Germany. I miss those days.
It was really great catching up with Guy and his wife Ellen. Thanks for the burgers and dogs, Guy & Ellen! Hope to see you again soon 🙂
When we weren’t visiting with old friends, Stilla and I also toured the post a time or two to see if anything still looked familiar from our time stationed here in (I think) late 1990 and/or early 1991. I was assigned to 1-4 Attack Battalion, 4th ID out of Ft Carson but deployed to Ft Hood for 6 months because the unit was getting its new Apache helicopters and had to go through training. I was the Battalion Motor Officer as a brand new Warrant Officer (W01) at the time. Ft Hood sure has changed a lot over the years, not much was familiar anymore… just a couple water towers.
After touring Fort Hood and the museums we also browsed the Main PX and a couple other facilities on post. Then we drove through the adjacent town of Killeen and spotted our old apartment building (below). We also drove by the elementary school where our oldest daughter first started school.
Next, I got to meet up with my old friend and mentor Gary Blackburn. Unfortunately (for us) his wife Bettina was on vacation back in Germany. Gary was the first NCO I had as a young private when I got stationed to the 1-1 Cav, 1st AD (Schwabach, GE) back in 1981. He took me under his wing, taught me a lot, and got me started off on my Army career. We kept in touch over the years as both Gary and I became Warrant Officers before retiring from the Army. Gary retired way before I did of course. We met up again during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and were both stationed north of Iraq on the Turkish border when the war kicked off. Gary was a civilian working for the government and I was in the 601st Aviation Support Battalion, 1st ID.
Here’s an old picture I found of Gary and myself at Incirlik Airbase in Turkey during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Take care ol’ buddy, it was sure nice catching up. Thanks for the brats and bier! Til’ next time 🙂
The next old army acquaintance I had the pleasure to catch up with was Mark Rademacher (below). Mark and I were stationed together in Schweinfurt, GE during the late ’90s and early 2000’s. I was the Direct Support Maintenance Technician for the 299th Forward Support Battalion, 1st ID and Mark was the Armament Technician.
Mark, his wife Rosie, and all their kids just happened to be visiting the Fort Hood area when we got together. What are the odds, eh? He lives in Germany and was traveling with his family. He was getting one of his kids set up at Texas A&M University while they were here, which explains the matching t-shirts in the picture below.
Mark and I deployed together to Kosovo in 1999. We were part of the NATO multi-national peacekeeping forces and basically established Camp Bondsteel. We lived in tents for many months while the huge base was being built and we established support operations for the Ist Infantry Division supporting the peacekeeping efforts. Here’s some more old pics that I dug up:
Although our visit with Mark, Rosie, and family was short, it was sure great to reminisce and reconnect. Hope to see you guys again soon.. maybe next time we visit Germany 🙂
And now, lets see… a couple of other things we did while here at Ft Hood was a dinner at Rudy’s BBQ™, we did a little shopping at an Aldi™, hit a local German Bakery, and stopped at the local Harley Dealer just to check it out. On the evening of the 4th of July, Stilla and I just stayed home at the park and enjoyed an evening together. We could see fireworks from the windows of the Coach. I also got some hydraulic fluid at a local O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store to replenish the HWH leveling system. Unfortunately, I found out later that I had overfilled the reservoir because when we raised the jacks and put in the slides on Wednesday the 6th to leave, I had a big puddle on the ground again. At first, I thought the plug I tightened earlier (mentioned in my previous blog post) was leaking again, but upon inspection, it was clear the oil was coming out of the vented reservoir cap. Oh well, live and learn, right?
Anyway… that’s it for now. I’ll post again soon about our rather uneventful drive to Stephenville, TX (route map below) where we are as I write this post. We plan on visiting another old Army buddy of mine that lives here in the area, and maybe visit an old childhood hometown of mine (Eastland, TX) where I spent a year or two in elementary school. Stay tuned…