Memories of Elite First Decade DoDDS Teachers
When I was in college at New Mexico Highlands University, I’d hear “Far Away Places” and in my heart I knew that song contained a secret message for me. So I started pursuing my goal of “traveling in far-away places!” I think it meant Europe.
In 1954, by then a college grad and teacher in Albuquerque, I applied for a job as a DoDDS teacher through Washington, D.C. from an article in the newspaper. Beautiful French Morocco, near Casablanca, was my first assignment. Aside from the washing machines in the BOQ’s and colorful Arabs everywhere I turned on base, it was very much like Albuquerque – warm weather, golden sunshine, and cactus plants. (more…)
We left New York City for Vienna, Austria on my thirteenth birthday, November 10, 1946.
My father had been assigned to Vienna and had left in July of 1945, so we were anxious to join him. I can’t remember his specific assignment, but he was in charge” of the American sector of Vienna, which was divided into four sectors American, French, British, and Russian, as was Berlin. He had superior officers over him so I am not sure what my mother meant when she said he was “in charge”. (more…)
Dear Family and Friends
After forty-two years I revisited the scenes of my youth in Vienna.
Wien, Wien, nur du Allein,
Solist Stetes die Stadt Meiner Traune Sein.
(Vienna, Vienna, of you alone, so is the city of my dreams.)
It was amazing how much, and how little, things had changed.
The first impression was of cars, people, speed, crowds, modern buildings, rebuilt old buildings and that every thing was rebuilt and a little smaller than I remembered. But then the second impression was of the same laid back atmosphere I remembered.
Letter 1: September 8, 1946
Dearest Mother and All,
The best of intentions were mine, when I began this ocean voyage, to write a day-by-day account of my feelings and the happenings. But along with many other things, I had planned on this trip when I left home, have had to fall by the wayside. It would simply be unable for me to explain why. Anyone would have to be on this trip to understand. You made the remark before I left home that now that we were leaving not to look back. That is good advice but extremely difficult to follow.
The main essential of this trip is a rugged physique and much fortitude. That I must have in comparison to many on this trip. From all reports we have had it harder than the other groups that have gone because they simply tried to send too many at one time. Our sailing was canceled three times but finally we loaded Tuesday morning, Sept. 2nd. Three hundred girls, without youngsters, had been quartered on the boat on the Friday before, in order to make room at Fort Hamilton for the new group coming in. (more…)
TEACHING IN ENGLAND IN ’54 WAS REALLY QUITE A TREAT. MY CLASSROOM WAS A QUONSET HUT, AND THE TOILET ACROSS THE STREET!
WE DIDN’T HAVE COMPUTERS, NOR MUCH OF WHAT WE HAVE TODAY, BUT WE DID HAVE STUDENTS WE CARED ABOUT, AND WE ALWAYS FOUND A WAY!
THE FIELD TRIPS WERE FANTASTIC! ENGLISH HISTORY BECAME REAL! THE MANY SIGHTS WE READ ABOUT WERE THERE TO SEE AND FEEL! (more…)
I anxiously awaited orders to fly to Germany in August 1955. The time came and went for my departure. Finally, orders arrived with the explanation that my passport had been misplaced. But all was in order, and I was to leave Portland, Oregon, on August 21,1955 for New York. I was on my own until I reported in on August 22. Then I was sent to the THE ADAMS residential hall at Fort Hamilton, New York, for three days. Thus, August 25, my 25th birthday, I flew across the Atlantic on military transport. After an over-night in Frankfurt, I was sent by taxi to Wiesbaden. Since it was after business hours at the Air Force Base, my taxi driver suggested the Goldener Brunnan Hotel. My two nights there gave me an opportunity to enjoy Wiesbaden. It was enchanting to a farm girl from Oregon. (more…)
TACHIKAWA, JAPAN, 1947-1948
On a cold, gray, rainy day mid October of 1947, four travel-weary teachers from California arrived at Tachikawa Army Air Base where the 317th Troop Carrier Group was stationed.
After two weeks on a stormy voyage from Fort Mason, San Francisco, to Yokohama aboard the troop transport, M.M. Patrick, and processing at 5th Amy Air Force Headquarters in Nagoya, we were ready and eager to assume our teaching positions as the last group of teachers to be assigned there. At the time of our arrival on the base, the School Board was in session. The presiding officer of the School Board had given orders for us to be brought to the meeting as soon as our suitcases had been deposited at our living quarters, which were in a Quonset hut. (more…)
Mr. Ron Downing came to Ohio State to recruit teachers for Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. I was delighted to be asked and signed a contract for the years 1956-58. Then I went to Bitburg AF, Germany with Mr. Downing.
Never have I known such camaraderie as the days in Puerto Rico. There is something unique about island living that draws people closer together. We were in our friends weddings, traveled to the Caribbean islands together and joined in all the base activities. The Base was our life – all socializing and sports events revolved around being with our friends there. (more…)
I was hired by Richard Meyering on July 23, 1946, as an instructor with the Dependents Schools in the European Theater. I was very excited about going to a foreign country to teach.
Eight Michigan teachers left Ann Arbor together for New York City on September 10, 1946. They were Donna Baker, Pearl Baxter, Philemena Falls, Alta Fisher, Constance Morrison, Roberta Snyder, Grace Van Wert and Kathryn Wilkenson. We were scheduled to travel on the General Alexander (I believe that was the name) but it hit a mine on its trip from Germany to New York so we were delayed in New York for ten days until September 20 when we left on the General Richardson. (more…)
These reminiscences date from the years 1953 – 1954 that I spent working for the Army’s Dependent School Division, Northern Area Command. While all three have to do with my MG” they are not about the car but rather, about the kindness I experienced in Germany.
IN THE NICK OF CRIME
When I returned to my Frankfurt teaching station (Frankfurt American Elementary School) after a Washington’s Birthday holiday observance that I’d spent on a visit to pre-Wall Berlin via rail, I noticed that my MG wasn’t where I’d parked it. (This was in February of 1954.) (more…)
Len Sylvanus McCartney
Superintendent and Principal, Yokohama American Dependent Schools
by: Col. William F. Wollenberg, U.S. Army (Retired)
LOREN SYLVANUS MCCARTNEY
Lieutenant Colonel Loren Sylvanus McCartney, U.S. Army, Retired, was the first Superintendent of the Yokohama American Dependent Schools and the first Principal of Yokohama American High School. (more…)
School Libraries for American Dependents Schools
After two years as a Special Services Librarian (1950-1952) Heidelberg Military Post, Germany, I became Chief Librarian for the Dependent Schools, stationed at their offices in Karlsruhe, Germany. This move from Special Services to Dependent Schools was not without conflict between the two services. In 1951, I was invited by Sarita Davis from the University of Michigan to apply for her job as librarian with the Dependent School System. Special Services refused to release me and recommended another for the job. (more…)
I arrived in Tripoli, Libya from MacGuire AFB on or about August 24, 1956. Aboard the plane were several other personnel newly assigned to the base. We were flying a MATS four-engine plane.
We were assigned to the male bachelor quarters for none of us had families with us. My family could only come after I established quarters off the base and that took some time. They finally arrived just before X-mas and the AF band was at the dock to greet them. My family came by ship. (more…)
An icebreaker frequently employed with Dependent School educators was to ask the question, How did you manage to get overseas?” The answers usually provided a fascinating tale. Most came by chance, and I was no exception.
I was teaching sixth grade in Los Angeles while my wife, Beverly, was teaching in Redondo Beach. With our combined salaries in 1955, we were relatively prosperous and content with our lot in life. Going overseas was the furthest thing from my mind. One Sunday Beverly spotted an article in the Los Angeles Times that provided the information that both the Army and the Air Force were recruiting teachers for overseas positions. I was not interested and even if I was interested, I didn’t relish completing the necessary forms. Beverly was not eligible as kindergartens were not part of the Dependent Schools program in those days. Only after much cajoling, Beverly convinced me to at least try for a position as long as she would complete the paperwork and set up the necessary appointments. (more…)
Getting There and Trips Around Europe: 1946 – 1947
Mists of time. Yes. That depicts it well. Fifty-five years ago I embarked upon an event that affected my life forever. And it is covered in a scrim screen in my memory. I was six years old and am now sixty-one. The memories are mine and may or may not be precisely accurate but they ARE mine.
So many aspects of 1946-1947 I could ramble on about. The trip over to Europe, life in Vienna in post war times, trips while there, school times, etc. So, this epistle will be about trips. Others later.
First Trip was actually getting there. (more…)
Some time early in 1949, I read an article in an educational magazine about the Army Dependent Schools in Germany. The article announced the teacher recruitment schedule for persons wishing to teach in Germany. I showed the article to Hetty and said this could be our last opportunity to see Germany. I was afraid she wouldn’t like to go so far from home, but, instead, she said it wouldn’t hurt to send in an application form.
By the time I had filled out the forms and returned them, I knew I wanted very much to have a teaching assignment in Germany. While I waited for an invitation for an interview, I got out my German books to brush up on my reading and speaking ability. On the application form I included the names of five references who knew of my German background. I wrote each of them a letter asking permission to give their names as references. (more…)
My assignment as PI/Business and Social Studies Teacher at Clark AFB was my one and only overseas teaching assignment. On December 6,1956, I married Lieutenant Herbert N. Lindsay, Jr., who retired from the Air Force in 1974 as a Lieutenant Colonel. In December, 1994, we will be married 38 years. We have two sons: Herbert N. Lindsay, III, and Scott D. Lindsay, plus one grandson, Scott D. Lindsay, Jr.
My year in the Philippines was a memorable one: I made many wonderful friends and traveled to places I had only dreamed of. I remember that neither the living quarters nor the school was air-conditioned; in order to avoid the afternoon heat, our school day was from 7:10 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. I sponsored the newspaper and the cheerleaders, and wrote the lyrics to some of the Wurtsmith High School songs. (more…)
As I write, the headlines in today’s NEW YORK TIMES are no different from those that have captured our attention for many months about the battles in Yugoslavia. Yet when I think of the Yugoslavia of 1957, my recollection is of two verbal disputes. One confrontation was with a border guard and the second with a trio of Communist officials in Niska Banja about obtaining lodging. Oh yes, there was also a tussle with bedbugs.
There was no conflict in my mind about wanting to teach overseas. I just needed a little shove. During my first two years of teaching third grade in North Plainfield, New Jersey, I eagerly corresponded with a friend who went to Japan. The following two years I taught in Clearwater, Florida and met another teacher who had taught in the Panama Canal Zone. She gave me the encouragement I needed to send in my application. Nine months later I was aboard an Army transport, the Darby, bound for Europe. (more…)
JEAN MCDONALD RECEIVED THE GUAMANIAN OUTSTANDING TEACHER AWARD OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY THE GOVERNOR OF GUAM 1955
It was 1954 and the U.S. was at war in Korea. My husband had been called into the Navy the year before, and after training in San Diego, California was sent to Guam M.I. (Marianas Islands). Luckily I was able to join him, and arrived a few months later with my six-month-old son. I was in for a shock.
The housing available to us consisted of a room with two cots and a crib. The bathrooms were shared by many families as were the cooking and washing facilities. With luck and ingenuity we soon found a nice little house of our own and were happily settled. (more…)
Hanau, Germany (U.S. Army) 1950-1951
Wiesbaden, Germany (U.S. Army & Air Force) 1951-1956
From the first declaration that I had been accepted by the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) – to the trip across the Atlantic Ocean by ship, my wonderful adventures began.
Three other teachers and myself traveled from Bremerhaven to Frankfurt, Germany, by train – then on to Hanau, Germany. In our blissful state – and trying to help the teacher who had broken her leg on the ship – we got off the train hoping someone would be awaiting us to take our heavy luggage. While we were looking about (no red caps available!) the train started up with all our luggage on it The result was I was elected (since I understood and spoke some German) to go to Aschaffenburg with a German driver in a large Army truck to retrieve the luggage – only to find I didn’t know which billets we were assigned – nor where they were at the Kaserne. The School Officer solved this for us. (more…)
BAMBERG AMERICAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, NORTHERN AREA COMMAND
PARIS AMERICAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, SEINE AREA COMMAND
The telegram of May 16, 1953 began: YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO TEACH IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN EUROPE. LOCATION OF SCHOOL WILL BE ANYWHERE IN FRANCE OR GERMANY.
Shortly thereafter I left by train from Alhambra, California and traveled to New York to report for indoctrination at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn. After several days we sailed from New York on the MSTS General Buckner, a ship carrying supplies, troops, a few officers, one other male teacher and some 200 female teachers. After an interesting, but uneventful voyage we docked in Bremerhaven, at that time an American enclave in Northern Germany. From there we were sent by train to Frankfurt am Main for assignment at the I.G. Farben building (with open, no-stop elevators one jumped on.) (more…)
Burtonwood Air Force Base, Warrington, Lancashire, England
1953 – 1954
While attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, in June, 1953,1 decided to check out the possibility of teaching in the Dependent’s Schools.
The very small high school on Burtonwood Air Force Base needed a teacher and I was available. Thus began a most interesting and enjoyable year of teaching.
Some highlights in my memory of that year. (more…)
A Memorial of John Sigler Robertson: 1954 – 1964
By: John F. Robertson – Son
John Sigler Robertson, GS-9, entered Federal Civil Service in 1954. He began his initial employment as Procurement Officer for HQ US Army Europe at Campbell Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany, from October 1954 to June 1956.
In 1956 the unit was slated to move to France. John arranged a lateral transfer in 1956 from the Department of the Army to the Department of the Air Force, HQ US Air Force Europe, USAFE Dependent Schools, Lindsay Air Station, and Wiesbaden, Germany. He was initially employed as Statistical Analyst working for Mr. Arthur Strommen. (more…)
I had the privilege and pleasure of teaching a wonderful and diverse group of students. It was an educational experience for me, as well as an opportunity to meet, know and share teaching ideas with other teachers from all over the country.
In September of 1956, my class had the honor of having our Opening Exercises broadcast over Radio Free Europe and that was a particular thrill for the students.
My two years overseas have given me lifelong memories and enriched my life.