By Sgt. John M. Holman, U.S. Army of Occupation
Last night the First Sergeant came up to me and informed me that I would be the Motor Messenger for Brigadier General John G. Van Houten, Assistant Commanding General of the 28th Infantry Division, who was coming today on an inspection tour of the Kasernes of the 109th Infantry Regiment. I would have a Jeep and driver and would take a communication man with me to insure that the telephone on the General's train was in perfect working order at all times.
This "deal" seemed alright with me, as about two weeks ago, I had acted in the same capacity for USAREUR Commander-in-Chief Lt. Gen. Charles L. Bolte.
My duties were to be on hand at the train after the General's motorcade departed to take all messages which came over his private telephone and take them by Jeep to whereever he happened to be.
This morning I was ready at 0700 hours (7:00 a.m.) when my Jeep came by to pick me up and we drove to the Railroad Station (Bahnhof) in Augsburg where his special two-car Diesel train was parked on a siding, having come in at 0100 hours (1:00 a.m.) that morning.
We parked our Jeep along side the train, keeping out of the way of the Military Police Patrol Car and the other four staff cars.
There was a crowd of VIP's (Very Important People) standing around waiting for the General to detrain. Finally, the door slid open and his Aide stepped out on the platform followed by the General and his staff. Salutes were snapped and many words of greetings were exchanged by the General and welcoming party. The motorcade drove off and we were left with the train in our capable hands.
It was pretty cold so early in the morning, and pretty soon, the German chef cook came to the door of the train, and invited us into the luxurious dining car of the General's to have some hot coffee and get warm. In fact we stayed there all morning until our relief came at 1200 hours noon. That cup of coffee sure hit the spot and we sure appreciated it to say the least.
As you can well imagine, no messages came in but we were there just in case any did.
Toward noon time, we began to get a little hungry, and the relief which came were really welcome. We drove back to camp thinking how nice the life of a General was, but we still agreed that we would rather be just another enlisted man.