First Trip to Hohenfels
For all of you that haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Germany, well hopefully you will get to go someday. However, you might want to steer clear of the US Army Training Facility at Hohenfels.
I had just arrived in country on January 3rd, 1996 and it was 20 below zero and I there were about 600 soldiers in the processing area. What the hell did I walk into? Germany didn’t need this many soldiers or did it? Was a war going on that I didn’t know about? Nevertheless, I processed and hopped on the bus to Schweinfurt and got to what would be my first duty assignment.
I luckily found a couple of soldiers that were in the class ahead of me at AIT so it was nice to see a couple of familiar faces but as soon as I could lay my bags down and get settled, they said we were heading out in a week to the training facility. What about in-processing? I wasn’t all that new to think that we wouldn’t be properly instituted into German and 1/7th culture. Needless to say, I was wrong.
A week later, we were in our FIST-V’s (Fire Support Team Vehicle) and heading to the trains to book ourselves a nice little trip to the beautiful countryside of Deutschland. We arrived and it was even colder there as it is more northern than Schweinfurt and I thought life couldn’t get any worse. Well it did. Yoast (a good friend of mine) and I had guard duty that night at midnight… a two hour shift. It started snowing heavily but we dealt with it. We just got out of Boot Camp and AIT- we were hardened soldiers. We thought we could handle anything or so we thought.
A few minutes later we heard some rustling in the woods and we had no idea what it could be. Small animal, sure it could be but this sounded pretty big so we called out like we were trained. “Stop- Identify yourself!” No answer. The sound got a little closer. We had no idea what it could be… Yoast thought it was a ghost of German soldiers coming back for revenge but that is ridiculous, right?
We started to back up and pull our M-16’s off our shoulders but a lot of good that would do. They had no ammo. What were we going to do beat it to death or just scare it away? Yoast was a tall guy… about 6’4” and weighed over 200 pounds but he clumsily knocked over the trash cans behind him. All of the trash from earlier (wasted food, etc) came flying out of the trash. All of a sudden we heard whatever was in the woods rush towards us and it wasn’t just one thing. There were multiple footsteps. He high-tailed it out of there and I was moving backwards at a good pace as well and that’s when I saw our foe. I should say foes rather. Three 500+ pound wild boars came flying out of the woods and ran for the trash. They attacked those cans like it was fresh meat and it was Christmas dinner. Needless to say, we knew from that point on to never leave trash close to the ground again.