22NOV2018 – War Pig’s Posts – The Deterioration of the US Media

The only places you will find this on the Internet are a couple of Cold War casualty websites. The news is remarkably blank on the subject as they were caught doing bad reporting (no reporting at all, really). The news media at the time basically ran a story based on what they heard, not an investigation of the facts (sound familiar?).

 

I was stationed in (then) West Germany when this happened. There was some difference of opinion whether or not it was over a card game or a love triangle, but the rest of the facts were clear. A GI put a sabot round into his M60 tank’s gun and fired it into another M60 directly behind him at the rail head.

 

By the time the story got back to the USA and the American media coverage was repeated on Armed Forces Radio and Television, this story would not have been recognized by its own mother. It was variously portrayed as a terror attack, as communist infiltration within our ranks, in fact, almost everything but what it was.

 

I admit I trusted the US media when I was young. Walter Cronkite and the rest. That trust was shaken during Vietnam and finally destroyed in West Germany. The reporting in Vietnam was slanted, we all realized that, but the reporting from West Germany on this incident was so far off the mark I realized they were just making it up. And it as all of them back then. All three networks. I’ve never trusted the Fourth Estate since. I always insist on backup, then backup for the backup. Having the mainstream media decide what you should hear and how it should be spun is a bad idea. That’s why I like the Internet. It can, and has, held the media’s feet to the fire and caught them being wrong, lazy, and out & out lying and/or making stuff up. That is also why I am worried about the big Internet companies censoring people for political views which hold the liberal media up to scrutiny. We need freedom to challenge opinion, even (or especially) the media’s. I find it strange that the big Internet companies allow flat-earthers and anti-vaxxers free forums, yet censor conservative political views.

 

Here’s the real scoop from the Association of the 3rd Armored Division. I looked all morning for news reports on this but there are none I can find. Only other Cold War casualty websites:

 

 

1980

 

SP4 Gregory “Frank” Montoya & SP4 Patrick Romero, A Company 3rd Battalion 32 Armor. were killed on 4 November 1980 at the Hohenfels rail head when (name deleted) climbed into a tank during rail loading, loaded the M60A3 main gun with an armor piercing round (Sabot) & fired the main gun into the tank behind his. All tanks are rail loaded with the main gun in a travel lock position over the back deck. There was apparently a lot of confusion about the whole incident with reports of a lighting strike causing rounds to explode. The incident was finally solved when the tank main gun rounds were counted & inventoried. SGT Jeffrey Young & PVT David Park were also badly burned during this incident. *****The SOB convicted of this murder was sentenced to 20 yrs in Leavenworth but only served 8 years!!

Additional information provided by CPT Mark S. Atwood: The 1980 incident in 3/32, when the sabot round was fired into the turret of another tank during movement by rail, it is my understanding there was bad blood between the shooter and some/all members of the other crew over a card game. During rail movements the troops played cards, D and D, etc to pass the time. The shooter had been the big loser and I believe, thought he had been cheated. Here is additional information on this incident from Ken Armstrong: I served with 3/32 in 1979-1981 and was stationed in Freidburg at Ray Barracks. I also served with Greg Montoya and Pat Romero and was present when they were killed in November of 1980. Pat was a good friend and we drank many a beer together. Additional information on this event from Richard Zipse: I didn’t know Pat Romero but Frank was not only a great guy but getting very short. It was sad indeed that the filthy **** that killed him got out of Germany, much less Leavenworth, alive. As I remember it, he had been chasing a section 8 for months. I’m pretty sure Sgt. Young and I were on 14 together for a bit before he made rank and moved over to the third platoon; and, also that Park was very new to the unit and had just arrived as they needed crewmen. I’m thinking SSGT Able got him out of the smoked vehicle but not certain…also I’m thinking he was flown to Walter Reed Hospital due to the extent of his burns and later passed on….though this obviously may be incorrect.

 

War Pig’s Anecdotes on General Patton the Younger – Part 3

War Pig’s Anecdotes on General Patton the Younger – Part 2

 

One of my very interesting readers, War Pig, was inspired by the General Patton quotes this week to provide a personal remembrance of General Patton the Younger in the comments.  On hearing that he had more stories I asked if he’d provide them and allow me to post them here.  He kindly agreed and here is the third and final installment.

 

I saw an example of Patton’s care for the troops. After the mock battle a brigade commander went to see Patton. A spec 4 (equivalent to a corporal, more or less), a very good tank gunner had gone home on emergency leave as his parents had died in a car crash and his minor brother was now an orphan. The young man buried his parents and sent his brother to live with their grandparents, their mother’s parents. He had to borrow money from Army Emergency Relief and used up all his accrued leave as he had to settle the estate and all.

 

The gunner got back and no more than two weeks later the grandparents were killed in a car wreck and now there were no more living relatives able to care for the younger brother. Patton was shocked, as anyone would be over such a horrible coincidence. He called the division Chaplain to get over to his office, pronto. He asked if the kid wanted a hardship discharge. The brigade commander said he did not, as he had no other job prospects to support his little brother, and that both of them were going to need mental health counseling, especially the brother. They held a skull session and Patton ordered the young man promoted to sergeant, wiped out his AER debt, got him a bigger loan and somehow took care of that, too, making it a grant, gave him 90 days “free” leave and said there would be housing available when he got back. Then Patton called base housing, demanded a two bedroom quarters for the pair, fully furnished down to towels and sheets, and to be full of groceries when the young man returned with his brother. From what I gathered, Patton paid for the groceries himself but I was back at DivArty before the kid got back so I never heard what happened.

 

But Patton did love the NCOs. When he was getting ready to leave for Germany the division NCOs threw him a party. There was barbecue and beer, lots of beer. Patton was there and we presented him with various sentimental gifts. As the party progressed, we were running low on beer. Patton sent two aides back to base (we were at a rec area away from the barracks areas) and had them return with several kegs of beer, for which he paid.

I did see him later, in (then) West Germany, at the Graffenwoehr training facility. He remembered me and shook my hand. He was the Deputy Corps Commander of VII Corps by then. He retired a little over a year after we shook hands. His old injuries were getting the best of him, and he developed Parkinson’s disease later. He retired in 1980 and died in 2004, aged 80. He was known as a soldier’s general. All I know for sure is that if the Soviets and Warsaw Pact had attacked West Germany in VII Corps’ sector, they would have been in for a hell of a surprise and one HELL of a fight.

War Pig’s Anecdotes on General Patton the Younger – Part 2

War Pig’s Anecdotes on General Patton the Younger – Part 1

 

One of my very interesting readers, War Pig, was inspired by the General Patton quotes this week to provide a personal remembrance of General Patton the Younger in the comments.  On hearing that he had more stories I asked if he’d provide them and allow me to post them here.  He kindly agreed and here is the second installment.

 

I drove for Patton the Younger at Ft Hood, Texas when he commanded the 2d Armored Division in the mid seventies. His regular driver was on leave and he called my brigade commander for a replacement. The colonel sent me. It was interesting, and he was as spectacularly profane as his father had been. It seemed to me he must have gone straight from West Point to a captain’s commission as he despised lieutenants. When he saw a young lieutenant doing something stupid, which young lieutenants often do, he was almost overcome with apoplexy. At such times he was wont to become obscene, profane and entirely disrespectful, to the delight of sergeants and privates in earshot.

One day he had me take him down to the division’s motor pool and as we drove around a lieutenant saw us and came running. Patton turned to me and said; “Loot a that! The sonuvabitch must think he’s a f***ing unguided missile.” The Lt ran up, saluted and reported. Patton told him to go back to his business and asked where the motor sergeant was. The Lt did not know and Patton blew up like Mt Vesuvius. After the tirade we found the motor sergeant and Patton spoke to him about maintenance (Patton was big on supply and maintenance). Then he called the Lt over and made the motor sergeant sign a hand receipt for the Lt, and told him to take charge of the Lt and to train him in maintenance on all wheeled vehicles. Basically he put a Lt under the command of a Sergeant First Class. Patton then said’; “And you WILL f***ing learn, lieutenant, or I’ll have your f***ing bars, your f***ing ass and the honor of your motherf***ing family. Then I’ll nail your d**k to my trophy board!”

 

Maybe Patton didn’t despise all lieutenants. If they had common sense, listened to their sergeants’ advice, showed initiative and, most of all, if they took the blame when they screwed up and didn’t try and lay it off on the troops or NCOs, Patton liked them. He liked them even better if the lieutenant took the blame when the troops did screw up, then handled it himself within the platoon.

 

When I was driving for him it was time for the annual battle simulation between the First Cavalry and the 2nd Armored division, both stationed at Ft Hood at the time. It was supposed to be a heavily scripted battle. The First Cav was to attack from one side and represent the Warsaw Pact, while Patton and the 2nd AD defended. Patton treated this mock battle as if it were life and death for the entire nation. Ft Hood was divided by Cowhouse Creek. The First Cav was to attack across the creek into “West Germany”. The 2nd AD was to absorb the attack and slowly give ground, a fighting withdrawal as was the plan for the US Army in Europe. Patton said, simply; “F**k that”. He had his engineers dam up Cowhouse creek so that it was too deep to ford with tanks except at certain points. At those points he had his engineers lay down beautiful simulated mine fields. As the First Cav advanced they’d be slowed and concentrated into choke points where we had camouflaged tanks sitting, covering the points with interlocking fields of fire and the divisional artillery had the choke points zeroed in for a barrage and the Cobra attack helicopters were loaded and waiting, too.

 

The First Cav commanding general complained that he could not cross the creek and start the battle because it was flooded. Patton refused to remove the log and earthen dams. “I was told to defend, and Goddammit, I’m defending.” The corps commander had to fly out, chase Patton down and order him, in person, to open the dams. They reset the beginning of the battle for two days later to let the creek drain. Patton changed his battle plan and HE attacked. A “spoiling attack”. He got yelled at again, which he found to be quite funny. Finally the First Cav crossed the creek and the battle began in earnest but by then the Cav had little chance. Patton had kept recon very busy and we knew where all the Cav’s assets were and their likely avenues of approach so it was a pretty big show, but for naught for the First Cav. Patton and the 2nd Armored Division won the Battle of Cowhouse Creek pretty convincingly. In victory he had his Cobra attack helicopters fly in the formation of a big “X” across the First Cav areas and that of the III Corps HQ.

 

War Pig’s Anecdotes on General Patton the Younger – Part 3

 

War Pig’s Anecdotes on General Patton the Younger – Part 1

One of my very interesting readers, War Pig, was inspired by the General Patton quotes this week to provide a personal remembrance of General Patton the Younger in the comments.  On hearing that he had more stories I asked if he’d provide them and allow me to post them here.  He kindly agreed and here they are.

 

Some personal anecdotes about Major General George S. Patton IV (son of the WWII Patton).

 

General Patton the Younger (as we called him) was every bit as much of a firebrand as his father, and could be as spectacularly profane as his sire.

I was a young sergeant assigned to the 2nd Armored Division at Ft Hood, Texas in the middle 1970s. Patton commanded the division back then. He spent as much time as he could riding in his specially modified jeep and out of headquarters. You never knew when or where he’d show up. His jeep had a bar on his side for him to hold onto. He disliked sitting as he had a bad hip. He also had a flasher light and a siren installed. His driver was on leave for some reason and he called my brigade for a replacement. I was a counterintelligence agent and I was attached to the division artillery. The Command Sergeant Major wasn’t too fond of intel types so he tasked me to drive Patton for almost 6 weeks.

 

__________________________________________________________

 

As I have said elsewhere, Patton despised lieutenants. He said to me, once; “A private knows nothing and we expect him to do nothing more than to follow orders. Unfortunately, lieutenants also know nothing yet they are allowed to give orders. Without a good sergeant, a lieutenant is the most dangerous thing on the battlefield – to our own cause.”

Patton had a high regard for NCOs. But had little time for officers below Lt Colonel. He also trusted the troops, the enlisted men. My time driving for him was interesting, to say the least. He had a deep respect and care for the enlisted men under his command.

 

One day that summer it was a Black Flag day. It was so hot and humid that training was to be kept indoors if possible. The heat index that day was, I believe, 110 degrees. Of course, I drove Patton’s jeep as it was open-topped and we were moving. We were heading to corps headquarters for some briefing or another. As we were driving along Patton yelled; “Stop this f**king jeep!” I stopped as quickly as I could without throwing him head first over the windshield. Between two barracks was a platoon of soldiers doing close order drill on the dry grass. In the heat, on a black flag day. “Pull over there!” he yelled. I drove across the concrete median, over the sidewalk and up to the platoon on the grass. Patton’s jeep went where Patton said, and screw the traffic laws. In the shade stood a platoon sergeant, looking pissed off.

 

The lieutenant saluted but Patton yelled; “What the f**k do you think you’re doing? Where in hell’s your platoon sergeant and why isn’t he kicking your ass right now? Who’s your company – your battalion – who’s your brigade commander lieutenant?!”

 

The lieutenant tried to stammer out a reply but Patton was on a roll. “What the f**k are you doing? Answer me!”

 

“The platoon needed discipline, sir.”

 

About this time Patton saw the platoon sergeant. “Why aren’t you kicking his ass, sergeant?” To which the sergeant answered that he was ordered to stand aside.

 

“You!” Patton said to the lieutenant, “You will have yourself and your entire chain of command in my office at sixteen hundred. You got me?!”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

“Sergeant, you are now in command of this platoon until further notice. Dismiss the men.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

We went to the meeting/briefing/conference. We were back in Patton’s office before 16:00 Waiting outside were the lieutenant, his company commander, the battalion commander and the brigade commander. They were called into the office in order of seniority, the door was closed, and loud voices were heard. By the time the lieutenant was called in I was sitting by the door and could hear what was said. Patton was swearing up a storm and the young lieutenant was catching it for disobeying a training directive, putting his troops in danger of heat stroke, and refusing to listen to his platoon sergeant.

 

“Well, you’re f**king fired. Relieved of command of the platoon and a commanding general’s official letter of reprimand will be placed in your records.”