Submitted by: Donald Kalbach
I arrived in Germany ten years after the invasion of Normandy. This was the occupation Army, but conflicts remained. I was stationed in a section of Wurzburg called Kleine Moscow, and we often saw cars with darkened windows transporting communist dignitaries around, cars we were under orders to not interfere with in any way. We also had our radio lines regularly tampered with, often cut. We were also told that if the West were ever to be attacked, communications would likely be the first target. That was us. We were 4 minutes by jet from the East German border. If attacked, we had trucks designated to blast through the walls so we could escape and make our way individually to a defensive position across the Rhine. Once there, we would be directed to our designated area. Just before I left Germany, I befriended a GI who had access to the information that there was no such area--we weren't expected to make it. I'm glad I hadn't known that all along.
Two recent events fill me with pride. The first is a letter from Richard Winters, protagonist of the HBO series Band of Brothers and a distant relative. Richard is now deceased. In the letter, he says, " I tell all young people I come across that no matter what your job, 'Do your best every day!' It seems to me you did that and I salute you."
The other is the decision by noted historian Stephen Ambrose to include my book in the Eisenhower Center archives at the University of New Orleans. He agrees that the letters make "a marvelous diary of events in the peacetime Army--really the Cold War Army." Mr. Ambrose also told me that my book would have no commercial value, however, since it contains no sex or violence.
The letters and events in my book are very interesting to me, of course, because I lived the events and wrote about them. I have added footnotes explaining many terms that are familiar to solders but might not be to the general population. I have also expanded on and further explained some of the events and their background to the best of my recollection.
Dear Mom and Dad: Letters from a Soldier is available through Amazon as well as the websites for Xlibris and Barnes & Noble.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, I am proud of my Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. I earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in music at Rutgers University, have taught in public schools and colleges, and spent my career preparing music textbooks. Having been a director of performing organizations of all types since 1959, I am still active musically and hope to remain so. I spent three years in the Army, first as a radio and radio-teletype operator, then as a company clerk, in Wurzburg, Germany.