Calling German Fighter Pilots
November 17, 2013

Dearest Old Bolds, Family, and Friends,

I hope you enjoyed Veteran's Day, and I'm sorry to have missed spending that day with you. As you might have guessed, I am in Germany again.

As the number of days I spend travelling in Europe grows over the year, so the amount of energy and money to be spent decrease in fairly equal proportion. Therefore, our (yes, Charley is with me)recent hotels have been nothing to write home about, and their less-than-lofty atmospheres have not been conducive to the writing (or sleeping, or proper bathing) process.

Charley, the lifelong soldier with ne'er a complaint to pass his lips could happily sleep on a bench. A girl, on the other hand, can only take so many run-down, dirty industrial carpet, in-desperate-need-of-paint-walled hovels before a marble tub is an absolute necessity. A very unfortunate cancellation in our schedule has allowed us to find a last-minute deal on a nicer hotel, where finally clean white sheets, fluffy down comforters, a bed long enough for all of me to fit on, and a tub have all had miraculous restorative powers.

Since I arrived we have visited some very good old friends, made new ones, and attended the annual tank reunion, which is no longer the mecca for Wehrmacht veterans it once was. Over the summer some pretty drastic changes, rumored to have been initiated at the very highest levels, have worked to try to brush WWI and WWII completely out of view on the Bundeswehr bases, with the hopeful thought that Please God they will be forgotten. Only, some of those pesky WWII veterans are still alive and kicking, and are too stubborn to go away quietly. All attempts at insulting them directly to their faces and trying to drive them off has not been as successful as hoped for.

True, the "Inspector of the Army" did a phenomenal job of thrusting a knife into even my heart with his shockingly cruel speech aimed at the dozen or so WWII veterans attending the gentleman's evening. But the scores of Bundeswehr officers in attendance whose views are not represented by the politicians, and the speech on the following morning by a darling, young lady French officer candidate did much to heal the wounds inflicted by a government that just can't wait a few, short years to increase the tempo of its delusional bulldozing of the past. Yet no one in America, Britain, or France would ever think of being as heartless and downright mean to the German WWII vets as the German people themselves can be.

Although we've just interviewed a 24th Infantry Division artillery man whose howitzer was transported by a 6-horse team from the invasion of France all the way to the End in the Baltic, and a radioman who fought with Africa Corps in Africa, and Panzer Lehr in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, many of our upcoming interviews are with fighter pilots of JG1, JG2, JG7 and JG54 as well as night fighter groups, with a few ME 262 pilots sprinkled in for good measure. Unfortunately, several have already cancelled due to poor health and the lack of desire to entertain visitors at the age of 98-102.  It's clear that for some, this may be our only and last chance to interview them. Just a few, however, will go a long way to helping me put the whole story together from both points of view.

Looking forward to letting you know how it goes.

All my love,



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