Original Blogspot Posting - June 18, 2003
Back in 1992, I was a First Lieutenant (1LT) in the US Army. I was an Executive Officer - 2nd in Command of a Company - in the 3rd Infantry Division (3rd ID) and was headquartered in Wurzburg, Germany, which was nestled in the hills of the northern tip of Bavaria. It was the end of June, and I was getting ready to head back to the states.
Now, normally, when you are leaving one post for another, you receive about ten days administrative leave (read vacation or time off) in order to put your things in order - things like shipping your car back to the states, packing and shipping your belongings, and ensuring that you have properly filled out about ten reams of paperwork properly. It is during this standard, ten day period that you are considered untouchable for additional duty assignments. For all intents and purposes, you are supposed to be considered already gone...
Well, over the Fourth of July weekend, the 3rd ID was going to celebrate it's 75th Anniversary. Major General (MG) Keller, the Division Commander, was going to bring every living 3rd ID Medal of Honor (MOH) recipient to Germany. This meant that each MOH winner would need a junior officer as an escort. You guessed it, MG Keller caught me in his net for junior officers even though I was supposed to be left alone.
Please understand that is was a great duty to escort a MOH winner - so I didn't complain - hell, I wanted to meet the heroes and I ended up as escort officer for Ola Mize. He was a Sergeant when he received the MOH and ended his career in the Army as a Colonel. He was a great guy, very easy going and funny. I really liked being around him. I even had the Division Staff Duty Officer - charged with knowing everything that was going on at night and had keys to open every building - open the bowling alley on base for Colonel Mize at midnight so we could bowl and have a beer. After bowling, I dropped the colonel off at his VIP suite. I caught up with the other junior officers who escorted MOH winners that day, and the consensus was that every single one of them were great guys. All of us had been treated with enormous respect. Hell, I bowled and drank beers with an amazing American hero that I would have willingly carried on my back around the base.