James Logan Brown, a Charter Member who helped in creating Chapter 1919 is an Army Korean War veteran. He was a platoon leader in Company L, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, wounded during the defense of the Naktong River Line, in the early days of fighting to hold the Pusan Perimeter in the Summer of 1950. His wounds were severe, requiring medical evacuation to the United States. He was a career officer who originally hailed from Louisiana. He had later assignments in the 6th Infantry and 7th Infantry Regiments and with the Army Rangers, and is also a Vietnam veteran, having served there, 1965-1967.
He had memorable experiences during his Cold War assignment in the Berlin Brigade and he reports here on a recent reunion of Berlin Command Veterans many years after he had served there. James Logan Brown, recently enjoyed a trip to Berlin, Germany, and has provided us this summary of his visit there.
As you recall, the Allied forces occupied and defended Berlin for 50 years, 1945-1994. After we left Berlin for good, a few of our military members who served there got together and formed the Berlin United States Military Veterans Association (BUSMVA) for interchange of information and recollections and commaradie.
The Berlin Government formed a corresponding agency, the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation (CCF), to commemorate its survival as a free city-state. Checkpoint Charlie was a small building in the center of Berlin where the interchange of U S and Soviet Forces took place. Checkpoint Charlie Foundation was founded by the Berlin government in 1994 as the American Forces withdrew, to develop and maintain German- American relations. One of the projects for the past two years has been to sponsor a “Welcome Home” visit of a few servicemen who served in Berlin during the cold war. Participants were selected from members of the BUSMVA.
The CCF recently invited 10 former members of the U S military garrison to be its guests for a week, along with wives who cared to attend. I accepted the invitation, and my wife and I flew to Berlin-Tegel for the 10-18 October visit. The cost of airfare was our only expense. Other former serving military men were from MA, NJ, VA, FL, and MI and of course us from TEXAS. There was only one other career soldier and I was the only one who served in Viet Nam during that war.
The CCF organization treated us in a superior manner. Our accommodations were in Motel One in Berlin Mitte at the Kufurstendamm near the destroyed Kaiser Wilhem Church.
All meals, entertainment, and tours were planned, coordinated, and handled for us in an excellent, pleasant and polite manner.
We were greeted on our arrival by Professor Alexander Longolius, Chairman of the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation. and Doctor Andrea Mehrleander, Executive Director, Checkpoint Chatlie Foundation.
We toured Berlin in a comfortable bus and were shown various castles, museums, memorials, and government offices. Although space is not available to describe all we did, the following summary may give you some idea.
We toured and had photo stops :
Charlottenburg Palace; Olympic Stadium(1936); Schoenberg City Hall (JFK “Ich bin in Berliner); Brandenberg Gate; the Soviet War Memorial; Septsen Juni Strasser(17 Sep – riots); Allied Museum, using the PX and Movie Theater near the former Berlin Command Headquarters, Spandau Citadel; barraks of the German Army in Berlin, lunch and welcomng remarks by the CO, Col Arandt, and Mayor Wanjura of Berlin District Reinickendorf; bus tour of East Berlin with appropriate photo stops; thorough tour of Templehof Air Drome; visit to the U S Embassy and conference with the American Ambassador Murphy; lunch with Herr Momper, President of the Berlin Parliament; tour of the Berlin House of Representatives; tour of the Deutsch Reichstag building with tour led by Dr. Roland; meeting with high school students with questions and discussion; visit to McNair barracks and museum, Andrews Barracks and Roosevelt Barracks; the Free University and Harnack House, the Commandatura Building where the four powers met rarely, a bus tour through Potsdam, Cilnicker Palace, Sans Souci Palace; German-Russian Museum in East Berlin Karlshorst; parts of the Berlin Wall still standing. The wall was erected by the East German and East Berlin government in 1961 and came down in 1989.
And at night as one might choose :
Berliner Octoberfest, German Symphonic Orchestra, Gypsy Gentiermen, Festival of Lights.
We were provided prime seats in the superior, world-class variety show, “Qi”, (pronounced “key”), and attended as a group.
When I was posted in Berlin to the U S 6th Infantry Regiment 55 years ago, I had a few German friends. It was obvious then and now that the German people liked the Americans and found our presence in West Berlin much preferred to the Soviet presence in East Berlin.
I wrote this note at the request of Sergeant Major Lee Hagan, USMC Retired, Vice Commander of Purple Heart Chapter 1919 of Austin Texas. I decided to send it also to a few other friends, not just military friends. Therefore, please be aware of the Military Order of the Purple Heart; It is an association of those of us who have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal for serving honorably in combat with an armed enemy and being wounded in action or killed in action. I was awarded my Purple Heart for action in Korea in combat with the North Korean Communist Forces while serving as a rifle platoon leader in a rifle company of the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the First Cavalry Division.
Au revoir, laissez les bon temp rouler, and Best Wishes JLB