Thursday, January 5, 2012

Another Old Soldier

Another good friend who I served with in Germany in the 70s was Sgt. Abel Lopez.  He and I were assigned to Bravo Company 1-70th Armor in Fort Carson Colorado in late 1975.  In September of the following year, Abe and I and 4,000 other soldiers flew to Germany becoming Brigade 76.  We were supposed to reinforce the East-West German border.  Our alert area was Fulda, right where Tom Clancy said World War III would begin.

At one point Abe and I were tank commanders of tanks parked next to each other in our motor pool in Wiesbaden.

The picture above was taken in that motor pool during the two hours each week we had to work in our gas masks.  Abel is in the middle flanked by Gene Pierce and Don Spears.  

After the Army, Abe went back to San Diego and became a fire fighter--retiring a few years ago as a Captain.  For most of the years since he left Germany in 1979 we have talked a half-dozen times each year.  Most of those conversations are about our faith mixed with the Army, family work and bad jokes.  

Once in 2008 I called Abe and said I read that Gen. Petraeus went to West Point about ten months before I enlisted which meant we were the same age.  Abe said, "The only difference between you is he is a big success and you aren't."  

Which is just the kind of jokes we have been making since Gen. Petraeus was a Lieutenant.

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