Bad Nieder Breisig, Germany DF Site
Submitted by Wayne Atwell
DATELINE: December 24, 1955, Bad Nieder Breisig, Germany
Bad Nieder Breisig is on the Rhine River, 12 kilometers south of the famous Remagen Bridge, and 20 kilometers south of the American Embassy near Bonn. It's a beautiful little river town in spring, summer and fall, but it's hard to find beauty there during the winter months. There were eleven of us stationed at the DF site.
The NCO in charge: Art Wilson; the equipment repairman: Dick McKee; the driver/mechanic: Tom Allen, and eight Dfers: Selig Galter, Joe Cazalet, Leon Duquette, Cecil Cornet, Martin Kaiser, J.D. Clawson, me, and a guy with an Irish last name that I can't recall.
Our officers, Capt. Patterson and CWO Jim Shannon, were at FS 8611 in Baumholder, about 3 hours away, and didn't bother us too often. In fact, they always called two days in advance to warn us of the upcoming surprise inspection. It was very nice duty, especially since we were authorized to purchase booze at the embassy commissary.
On the night I'm writing about I was pulling the graveyard shift and, since my partner had a schatze living town and that it was Christmas Eve, I opted to work alone. As most of you know, it was not that difficult to do if you had a few hours under your belt. The operation shack was about 150 yards from our living quarters, and there was a telephone line connecting the two. And damn good thing, too. On this particular night, as I went out to relieve the guy on swings the fog was incredibly thick, thicker than any fog I had ever encountered. I grabbed the telephone line and headed for the operations shack.
Somewhere between the house and the shack, hanging tightly on to the line, something totally unexpected happened. It seemed that every church bell up and down the Rhine River started ringing. The sound seemed as though it was coming from every direction, probably made more pronounced by the heavy fog, and it stopped me in my tracks. I was hearing the Rhineland Germans ringing in Christmas and it's an experience I'll never forget. I think I even had Goosebumps. When I got to the shack, relieved the guy on duty and wished him a Merry Christmas, I realized that the Soviets didn't celebrate the birth of Christ. They kept me hopping all night, the buggers. I think they did it on purpose.