31 December 2016

Berlin Memoir, Part 2

[In Part 1 of my “Berlin Memoir” (posted on 16 December),  I told you about how I happened to start this reminiscence and introduced some of my earliest experiences  in Berlin—including how I ended up there.  This memoir isn’t really presented in chronological order—it’s more a “stream of consciousness”—but I strongly recommend reading Part 1 before embarking on Part 2 or the subsequent chapters because I explain things when I first discuss them and don’t repeat the explanations again later.  (The same goes for translations of German terms I drop and definitions of army jargon and abbreviations I throw around.)] 

When I first arrived in Berlin, people with security clearances like me were not allowed either to go into East Berlin or to drive the Autobahn to the Zone.  When my car arrived at the port of Bremerhaven from the States, I had to hire someone to go there, retrieve my car, and drive it back to Berlin.  (There were NCO’s who made extra dough doing this service.  I’ll bet they were pissed when this restriction was lifted!)  We either had to fly over the SZOG or take the U.S. military train.  We couldn’t use the Bundesbahn, the German railroad, under any circumstances (one reason was that the Berlin railroad depot was an S-Bahn station—controlled by the East Germans even though it was on our side of the Wall; I wasn’t even allowed to go in there), but we could travel by American, British, or French military train.  Ours, called the Duty Train, went to Helmstedt and Frankfurt; the Brits’ went to Braunschweig (Brunswick), which was their border town, and back (I never took it); the French Train Militaire went to Frankfurt, too, and then on to Strasbourg, and I did take it once to visit friends in France one Christmas-New Year. 

We could also fly on any of the Allied military flights, though that meant using the AB’s, of course.  The American AFB was also the civilian airport, Tempelhof (the one in The Big Lift), but the Brits and French had their own, Gatow and Tegel, respectively, and they were out in the boonies.  I never used them.  (Tegel is currently the city’s main international airport—until 2018 when it’s expected to be superseded by the new Brandenberg Airport, now under construction.)  We were also allowed to fly civilian planes in and out of Berlin—but only one carrier was authorized: Pan Am.  This was because it was the only airline that pledged never to land in East Germany under any circumstances; Air France and British Airways wouldn’t make such a pledge.  (No other carriers, including Lufthansa, were permitted to fly into West Berlin.  Aeroflot, the Soviet airlines, flew into East Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport, now one of Berlin’s two international terminals.)  I can’t say that that made me feel especially safe, though.  The Army was worried that if the plane made an emergency landing in, say, Erfurt or Dresden or something, the Soviets would grab me and take me off to Potsdam and interrogate me for all the secrets I knew.  Okay, but what’s worse, landing alive in the GDR or going down in flames because the plane can’t make it to Berlin or back to the Zone?  (As far as the Army was concerned, I was expendable.)  I kinda figured, pledge or no pledge, if a Pan Am plane was in trouble over East Germany, that pilot was gonna put it down.  Happily, I never had to find out.

We were never cleared to travel in the SZOG or East Berlin—I regret that I never got to go to the Berliner Ensemble—but after about a year, we could drive in and out of the city.  But we couldn’t drive unaccompanied.  When we arrived at the checkpoint—Bravo going out of the city or Alpha coming back in—we’d have to go to the MP desk and announce that we needed an escort.  That meant we had to wait there until someone driving a military vehicle, an official car, or, as a last resort, a green-plated POV was willing to drive along with us and keep us in sight.  (Yeah, right!)  The idea was supposed to be that if we got picked off by the Soviets or got lost en route, they could go on ahead and report the incident at the other end.  (We could not be escorted by someone else who needed an escort, by the way.)  The truth of the situation was, of course, that as soon as we made the necessary declarations at the MP station and got on the road, no one waited for anyone—there were no speed limits on German Autobahns—so the whole thing was a paper reg.  I never heard of anyone getting pulled over, and I never heard of anyone getting in trouble for not sticking with his escort.

I said I regret not getting to see the Berliner Ensemble, but that’s not precise.  I can’t really regret it—it wasn’t something I could have done and I missed my chance.  The B.E. was, of course, in East Berlin and I wasn’t allowed to go there.  It was never possible, never in my control.  (I’ve gotten to see them since, after reunification when they’ve performed in New York City.  See my report on The Threepenny Opera on 22 October 2011.)  The army encouraged GI’s to go to the East, especially in uniform, to exercise our right to do so under the four-power occupation—and, as the army put it, to “show the flag.”  As I’ve noted, the Occupation Agreement gave each of the four powers unrestricted access to all of the city and among people without the security clearances that I had, hopping over to East Berlin was very popular. 

But the army was too paranoid at that time in the Cold War that people in sensitive positions would be targets for false arrest and kidnapping, so MI personnel and others were prohibited not only from going to East Berlin or into East Germany, but even from merely entering an S-Bahn station in the West because it was considered East German territory.  I kept hoping that the restrictions would loosen up, just as the driving restrictions had—but that was too much for the Cold War era. 

I always had this odd feeling because right over there was a third of the city I was living in, and I’d never seen it.  I’d been to Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, and Warsaw—but I’d never seen East Berlin even though I was as close as a few yards away.  I’d have given almost anything to get to see Brecht’s theater as close to the way he intended as possible after his death.   Also, a lot of the historical city was in the Eastern Sector—and I’m a sightseer.  The East Berlin opera was supposed to be much better than the West’s—I wouldn’t know anyway: I’m not an opera fan.  Shopping was much cheaper, even at the one-to-one exchange rate mandated for West Marks to East Marks.  Antiques were more plentiful, as was crystal (made in Czechoslovakia) and some other items.  I can’t say I missed shopping at the Russian PX—it was a popular spot, lots of souvenirs: Red Army watches were popular, and uniform belts, a couple of which I got through a friend—and the antiquing might have been fun.  (I did get a neat old clock, but I had to get it through an NCO who had a sideline of buying them in the East, restoring them, and reselling them to guys like me.)

Showing the flag in one way or another was a very significant result during the Cold War, and Berlin, being what it was politically and geographically, was a center of this effort.  The civilian air service into Tempelhof was as much a symbolic part of this as it was a matter of transportation, and the decision of Air France and British Airways to combine their flights but not abandon them was certainly a manifestation of it.  (Around the time of my arrival in Berlin, France and Britain jointly decided that there wasn’t enough air traffic into the city to maintain separate services and they combined flights by alternating the flag carrier.)  So were the Berlin Orientation Tours of GI’s from the Zone and the encouragement of Berlin personnel to go to the Soviet Sector in uniform. 

Another aspect of the effort were the highly visible “liaison” patrols each force sent into the others’ sectors of the country to keep the lanes of access open.  One of the more specialized and less-known army units in Berlin was the U.S. Military Liaison Mission, essentially an overt intel unit.  All four of the occupation powers had their versions of this organization, whose ostensible mission was to serve as liaison between the parent force and the forces of the other three powers.  To do this, USMLM ran regular patrols in high-powered, four-wheel-drive vehicles, painted OD but in a matte finish that wouldn’t reflect light and carrying special equipment such as a powerful radio with an extra-long antenna and both high-intensity headlights and a set of infrareds, into the SZOG all the way to Potsdam.  (Each of the other occupying forces had the same kind of vehicles, though they were models indigenous to the home country.  The Brits, for instance, drove similarly-painted Land Rovers.  While the three Western Allies directed their patrols toward Potsdam, the Soviet HQ in East Germany, I don’t really know where the Soviet patrols went, other than West Berlin.) 

The actual mission of the liaison patrols was to keep an eye on the Soviet and East German troops scattered around the SZOG, and each patrol took a different, carefully planned, circuitous route from Berlin to Potsdam in order to make a sweep of as many Red Army installations as they could cover, taking photographs whenever they could of the units’ equipment, disposition, manpower, facilities, and so on.  The patrols, which ran 24/7, kept tabs on the units’ readiness, training, maintenance, and routine so that they could act as an early-warning system for possible hostilities: if a number of Soviet units were out of their barracks at a time when they weren’t usually scheduled for maneuvers, it might be an indication that troops were assembling for some kind of attack or raid.  The USMLM patrols had detected this very occurrence in 1968 when units of the 40th Tank Army surrounding Berlin had moved out to spearhead the assault on Czechoslovakia to quash the Prague Spring.  Along with the busloads of Soviet soldiers and airmen which arrived regularly at the American PX in Dahlem—the Red Army didn’t allow its soldiers to wander around West Berlin on their own; they organized their forays and controlled where the soldiers went and what they brought back to the East—the liaison patrol vehicles, with their distinctive non-reflective paint jobs, were among the most visible reminders of where we were and what was going on there.

Living in Berlin was crazy-making, as you might guess.  We were on an island 110 miles inside East Germany, surrounded by a wall.  Two walls, actually—it was a double wall with a no-man’s land in between.  (Outside the Wall, the city was surrounded by the Soviet 40th Tank Army, as I mentioned.  Not a brigade or even a corps—an army.)  You couldn’t go very far in the city—and West Berlin alone was two-and-a-half million people at the time—without literally running into the Wall.  It made you claustrophobic.  GI’s stationed in Munich or Frankfurt, when they needed to get away, could get a pass or leave and just split.  Drive or take a train, all they needed was a couple of days’ notice to get their papers and they could go off wherever they wanted pretty much on a whim.  For us to leave Berlin—and this wasn’t just for the folks with clearances; it was everyone—we needed special movement orders, dubbed “Flag Orders” (because they had a full-color symbol of the flag—Stars and Stripes for GI’s, Union Jack for Brits, Tricolor for the Froggies—at the top of the page), and that took up to a week under ordinary circumstances. 

Then, of course, for us with the clearances, we had to get reservations on the Duty Train, a military flight, or a civilian plane (until we were permitted to drive out), and that was difficult to do at the last minute.  You could hang around Tempelhof and wait for an Air Force hop if you were willing to go anywhere, of course, but that made planning trips tough.  (I did do this once, though.  I met my parents in Athens and flew into Athenai AB.  It was the return trip that Colonel Halvorsen piloted into Berlin.)  And leave travelers were low-priority: you could be bumped for official travel (including cargo) or someone with a higher rank (which wasn’t hard when you’re only a first looie).  There was no such thing as a spur-of-the-moment trip out of Berlin—it took planning and paperwork no matter if it was a month or a day. 

And of course, people stationed in the Zone could drive out of the city or town for a few hours when they were off duty without any paperwork—just take a country drive or go sightseeing in the area for an afternoon.  I couldn’t do that in Berlin—there was no place to go!  Very claustrophobic.  The trade-off was that Berlin had the best of everything—the best PX, the best O-clubs and NCO clubs, the best recreation facilities, the best hospital, even the best quarters—of any place in USAREUR (U.S. Army, Europe).  Generals from the Zone used to come to Berlin to play!  The Berlin Army Hospital, by the way, had the best mess hall I have ever heard of—except one my dad told me about during the war years.  It was so good—they even had Chinese and Hawaiian food sometimes—that when we had business at BAH (checking medical records was part of our personnel investigation routine), we tried to work it out so we’d be there for lunch.  Beat the PX snack bar—across the street from our office—all to hell!  GI’s in Berlin even had some unusual perks: in uniform (which didn’t include MI agents), for instance, they could ride the busses and U-Bahn for free.  We also got our housing for free, courtesy of the German government—because Berlin was still under occupation—and they were excellent!  My BOQ, for example, was a one-bedroom garden apartment.  Married NCO’s had apartments in high-rises that German civilians would kill to live in.

Berlin was pretty far north, though.  During the winter, the sun wasn’t up yet when I went to work and it had already set by the time I went home.  My last job in Berlin was in a basement office.  If I didn’t get out for lunch, which happened occasionally, I’d never see the sun all day.  That could get depressing after a while.  Seasonal affective disorder wasn’t commonly known back then, but there was a lot of alcoholism in Berlin.  There were also suicides, maybe one every other month or so.  I don’t know if there were more of those in Berlin than elsewhere in the military, but it wouldn’t surprise me.  (We often had to investigate suicides to determine if there was a security reason for it, especially if the soldier had had a clearance or access to anything sensitive.  I never saw one that was, though.) 

The pressures of military life, especially for the very young, were exacerbated by the strangeness of the alien environment, the isolation of Berlin, and, for the personnel of Berlin Station perhaps more than others, the added stress of the secrecy and sensitivity of our routine.  One of our soldiers, a teenaged specialist who ran the photo lab, got himself hooked on heroin—and he did it deliberately in order to get mustered out of the Army.  He had been good at his job—he helped me immensely and expertly on a big project that involved a great many photographs, including copies of old prints—and, by all accounts, was a good soldier and a nice, bright kid; his act shocked us all when he revealed his addiction.  How desperate must he have been to choose one of the worst drugs he could think of and to set out purposely to become addicted.  There were certainly easier ways of getting out of the Army, less lasting and destructive.

Actually, even as far north as Berlin is, the weather’s not much worse in the winter than it is in New York—just darker.  It’s not Alaska, though—the sun does come out.  It’s funny, but when I knew I was being sent to Berlin, I figured it was cold up there.  It never got hot in Koblenz or Bonn, in the middle of the country (and the same latitude as Labrador), so I figured Berlin, way up north, would be cold.  I was arriving in late July, but I figured it’d be cool, so I packed fall clothes—nothing for summer.  I arrived in a normally warm late-summer season not unlike New York—all the rest of my belongings were still in transit by ship, of course, so all I had was what was in my suitcase.  And it was all wrong for the weather.  I sweltered until I could get to the ’X and buy more appropriate jackets.  (Remember, we wore civvies—business suits and sports jackets.)  I guess I was lucky the ’X didn’t operate like civilian stores back home—by July and August they’d have been stocking fall clothes and I’d have been SOL.

Temperature-inappropriate clothing was not my only wardrobe malfunction, though.  My last gig had been at Fort Holabird, the Intel School in Baltimore.  (I was at USAINTS from March to June 1971.  We were the last class to go through there after the Intel Center and School opened at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.  Holabird, a former transportation post built in 1918 in Dundalk, down near the Baltimore docks, was where the Watergate crooks were imprisoned after it was vacated by the Army.  Let me tell you—they were well and truly punished by having to stay there!  What a hole.)  Anyway, Baltimore is—or was—a men’s clothing manufacturing center.  (A family friend from Baltimore was in the business—he made uniforms, of all things.  I got my dress blues from him, and he made me a gift of a new Class A felt cap as a going-overseas present.)  There were lots of men’s apparel factories in Baltimore, and they all had outlets. 

Since I knew by then I was going to Berlin and that I would be wearing civilian clothes, I stocked up on all the latest styles of suits and jackets and shirts.  Now, remember, this was the early ’70s—remember what the styles were then?  I was into Mod and boldly colored shirts, wide ties, very tailored jackets.  I had some six- and eight-button double-breasteds, some boldly pin-striped fabrics—I even had one suit that had a take on the Norfolk jacket—with a belt in the back.  How was I to know that when I got to Berlin, the dress code—unwritten, of course—was FBI-plain, with dark suits, narrow lapels, thin ties, and white shirts.  After the second day of being in the office, just being introduced and getting oriented, I got a message from the CO through Lieutenant Lurey that my attire was inappropriate and that I needed to get some conservative jackets and shirts.  (The other agents, by the way, were delighted with my clothes.  It was the first chance they had to see what men were wearing back home and they wondered how I dared wear them to work.  In a few months or a year, the ’X and the Army had caught up some with the States and I was able to get back into my Baltimore wardrobe.  By then I wasn’t alone—other new agents, both officers and EM’s, had joined the unit and came with stateside styles.  I was a trend-setter, don’cha know.)

My CO, a funny little light colonel named Pat Collins, didn’t hold my fashion faux-pas against me for long, fortunately.  (He, by the way, had a penchant for black leather trench coats.  He should bitch!)  After I’d been in the unit for a while, I got an assignment which was to end up dominating the rest of my time at Berlin Station (until I became a spook accountant, that is).  This concerned “exfiltration,” the process of helping Easterners escape into West Berlin and West Germany.  Well, Colonel Collins asked me to put together a report on what we knew at that time about the personalities and methods of exfiltration, which was no longer an officially sanctioned activity for U.S. personnel.  (In the late ’40s, the ’50s, and the early ’60s, exfiltration was an official, if clandestine, project of the U.S. government to bring out scientists, engineers, and other useful and high-profile people.  By my day, most of those kinds of people who wanted to leave had been brought out, so the U.S. disbanded the operation.) 

I went through the files with the help of one of the German legmen who did the interviews at Marienfelde, the refugee processing center in Berlin—he knew all the incidents of exfiltration and could guide me to the appropriate case files—and I wrote up a one- or two-page report summarizing what we knew.  Colonel Collins read it and decided it was worth expanding and asked me to add more detail for a report he could take to a staff meeting with one or the other of the generals.  That meeting was later that day, so I pulled together my notes and dictated an expanded version of the report to one of the secretaries who typed it as I dictated.  Talk about hot off the presses!  Colonel Collins went to his staff meeting, and the report so impressed the general—whichever one it was—that he ordered up a full staff study.  (The colonel was also taken with what he saw as two of my special talents: one, that I always seemed to have a little more info in reserve whenever he needed it; and, two, that I used “civilian” words like ‘aegis’ and such.  Some people are easily impressed—as we shall see.) 

From then on, I was the station expert on exfiltration.  I soon knew everything we had on the activity, most of the names involved, many of the cases, and all of the methods employed.  One day, as I was walking down the first-floor hallway, Colonel Collins—in his black leather trench coat—came down the stairs and greeted me: “Here’s Collins’ Commando.”  (Fortunately for me, no one else was in the corridor at the time.)  Any case that smacked of exfiltration was sent to me.  I was the go-to guy for exfiltration, and my staff study, which ended up a big book with illustrations, photos, and charts, became a best-seller in the intel community—not just in Berlin but across USAREUR.  (This was the project with which that young photo technician helped me so expertly—the one who hooked himself on heroin.) 

We had to produce a sanitized version of the study for the Brit and French military intel and the German cops, BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungschutz – Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution – the West German counterpart to our FBI), and BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst – Federal Intelligence Service – the equivalent of the CIA) because they all wanted copies.  I was almost-famous—except no one knew who I was.  (I  don’t think my name appeared on the study actually.  Some people knew it was mine by word of mouth.  Not that it was a secret, so when someone found out it was my study—like the time I was at the British intel unit for something or other—he got all excited.  My first—and so far only—taste of celebrity!)

One weekend after I had become the unit exfiltration expert, a frat brother from college who was stationed in Frankfurt called to tell me he was coming to Berlin and asked if we could get together.  He was coming up with a colleague, a captain who’d served with Colonel Collins.  When they got to Berlin, they went to see the colonel first, then came over to my place.  “Man,” said my classmate, “your CO thinks you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.”  Apparently, Colonel Collins spent much of their time together extolling my great accomplishment.

This episode has a tragic coda, however.  As you may know, this was the time of a lot of domestic terrorism in Germany, mostly perpetrated by an anarchist group called the Red Army Faction—more commonly known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang.  The RAF—ironic initials—liked to blow up U.S. and Allied facilities and kidnap German businessmen.  A couple of months after my schoolmate and his colleague came to visit, at about 7 a.m. on 11 May 1972, the RAF set off a bomb at the I. G. Farben Building in Frankfurt.  That’s where the HQ of the U.S. Army in Frankfurt was located, and my friend’s colleague was killed in the blast.  He had two little daughters, one only 12.  In all of the Vietnam war years, he was one of only three people I knew who was killed by violence.  I don’t even remember his name now.

My little exfiltration staff study did include one semi-major coup.  The common wisdom was that there were established gangs who organized and carried out the exfiltrations—like mini-Mafia families.  One of the things I did in the study was put together what the Germans called a WKW Schema.  (WKW stands for Wer Kennt Wen—“Who Knows Whom.”)  It’s a line-and-block chart that shows the connections among all the personalities involved, tracing contacts, phone calls, collaborations, and so on.  I discovered—and proved—that the gangs were a myth.  There were, in fact, a half dozen or so exfiltration leaders who could organize a team to carry out an operation as needed, but there were no permanent organizations.  The same operatives would work for any number of leaders, and all the leaders knew one another and cooperated with one another.  This was a revelation—no one had figured this out because no one had ever pulled all the info together into one place before so that the pattern became obvious.  So, from that moment on, I was the expert. 

Most exfiltration cases were small matters, investigated quickly and disposed of without much effort.  One exception was the case involving Berlin’s Deputy Provost Marshall.  (The Provost Marshall, or PM, is the military equivalent of the chief of police.  The Provost Marshall’s Office, known as the PMO, is the military counterpart of police headquarters.)  We had gotten a report, from one of the German legmen who was interviewing refugees at Marienfelde, that a refugee couple had been sneaked into Berlin in a green-plated car.  (The private cars, or POV’s, of GI’s in USAREUR and USAFE bore bright green license plates with black lettering.  Very distinct from the long, thin black-on-white German plates in shape and size, POV tags resembled stateside plates.)  The couple reported what time they had gotten into the city—or their arrival at Marienfelde provided this info, I forget, but we knew pretty accurately when their car had crossed Checkpoint Bravo.  They had only seen the car from the rear—because they were climbing into the trunk when the car stopped on the Autobahn in East Germany (which is how they knew about the green plates, of course)—but they described it as a particular German model (I forget now what they said it was).  From the crossing lists, we determined the likely suspect—the Deputy PM! 

I had to go over to Andrews Barracks, the compound in Lichtenfelde where the PMO was located, and scope out the parking lot.  I found the DPM’s car—a blue AMC Javelin, which looked from the rear almost exactly like the German model the couple described.  (They’d never have known a Javelin, of course, so they saw it as a model they knew.)  I had a Polaroid and, just my luck, as I was taking photos of the DPM’s car, out of the PMO the major walked.  “What are you doing taking pictures of my car?” he demanded.  I stammered some unconvincing lie—and he knew something was up.  Not that there was much he could have done: one advantage of Berlin’s geographic isolation was that you can’t just slip out and lam.  I went back and wrote up my report, including the evidence of the crossing lists and my judgment that the DPM’s Javelin looked from the rear exactly like the German car the refugee couple described, submitting the photos as evidence.  Our Ops Officer, a captain who was our second-in-command, the equivalent to the XO in other units—Colonel Collins was out of town, a fact which would play a part in what was to follow—decided that since this was a case involving a member of the forces, it was legitimately a military police matter. 

(Exfiltration was an odd duck, legally.  It wasn’t against any U.S. or West German laws, but it was against U.S. Army regulations.  But that only affected uniformed personnel; civilians weren’t subject to military regs.  That’s what made it so hard to control.  When a civilian was caught doing exfiltrations, the USCOB had to step in and exercise his authority over all matters within the American Sector.  He expelled the person from Berlin.  But a soldier could be disciplined under Army regs, so this major was subject to investigation by his own people—the MP’s.) 

I compiled my report and immediately shipped it off to the PM for his action.  Later that evening, at one of those briefings I had to attend in the secure room, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence of USCOB, a full colonel, asked off-handedly about the case.  I told him what my conclusions had been, and said that my Ops Officer instructed me to pass the case off to the PM for action.  “You sent it classified, didn’t you?” he asked, clearly assuming the answer.  “No, sir, I didn’t.  There isn’t anything classified in the report.  I sent it FOUO.”  That’s “For Official Use Only,”  not a classification, but a use designation.  “You sent a report implicating a senior officer of the PMO through Brigade distribution unclassified?  That’s potentially embarrassing information and anyone can look at it!”  He was livid.  I was terrified. 

“Classification isn’t authorized to avoid embarrassment, sir,” I gulped.  I was right, and I knew it, but I was pretty sure that wasn’t going to help me now.  I had a bird colonel furious at me, and there was nothing I could do.  I was entirely alone in that room.  I don’t know what I was thinking about, but I was pretty sure I was dead.  Believe it or not, I don’t remember what happened right after that.  The DCSI must have sent me back to my unit to wait for his decision or something, because I ended up in the Ops Officer’s office—it was late by now, but for some reason the Ops Officer was still in the Station.  He assured me I was in the right, but he was only a captain himself.  He did point out that as Ops Officer and, in the absence of Colonel Collins, the acting CO, all materials sent out of the unit went out under his signature.  He was ultimately responsible, and I had merely done what I was instructed to by my superior.  I wasn’t sure what that would accomplish, except maybe get us both hanged—but I guess I felt better that a) he’d stand with me and b) he would affirm that I was right according to the regs. 

But just then, the cavalry rode in!  Colonel Collins got back from his trip and came straight to the office.  I don’t remember if he’d already heard of the flap or had been headed to the office anyway and learned of it when he got in—but he backed me to the hilt, told the DCSI that not only had I done what I was told to do, but had done it exactly right.  (Collins’ Commando!)  I don’t know what I did after that, but if I didn’t get very drunk, I sure should have.  Still, ever since that incident, even though I was 100% correct, the DCSI didn’t like me.  I guess as much because I beat him, in a way, as because I had caused potential embarrassment to the forces.  (The major was shipped out to Helmstedt, I believe, to that satellite outpost of the Berlin PMO and soon left the army.  He knew his career was over even if he wasn’t prosecuted.  I figure he deserved whatever happened to him—for being stupid if nothing else.)

[I hope the visit to West Berlin in the 1970s has been interesting so far and that you’ll come back to the blog for Part 3 in a few weeks.  I pick up then with the biggest investigation I handled while I was at Berlin Station—that one case takes up the entire chapter.  I imagine you’ll see why when you read it.  (I should remind readers that everything I’ve written in this memoir is true and as accurate as my memory will permit.  If anything you read strains credulity, it’s not because I embellished or fabricated, but because the world of Cold War Berlin, the army, and Military Intelligence was just . . . well, different.  The 2½ years I spent as an MI Special Agent at Berlin Station wasn’t like anything else I’ve lived through in my 70 years.)]

No comments:

Post a Comment