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Gasthaus in Fulda

jimcdecker@earthlink.net

  

Suivez Moi

14th Armored Cavalry Regiment

Wrestling Team 1958-59

Downs Barracks Fulda, Germany

Some time in 1958 or 59 I had a break from practicing with the 14th ACR Le Clerc Rifle Team so I would go to the Gym with APO (Art Apodaca) and practice wrestling. I wonder what type of guys was I associating with here? They would put on their sweat clothes, a rain coat with towels around their necks and get into a sweat box while their team mates were out on the mats grunting and groaning. It did not take me long to realize that I was not meant to be a wrestler. My likes ran more along the lines of being a good Le Clerc Rifle Team member, a lover, dancer and a beer drinker. So I never was on the V Corp Champion Ship Wrestling Team with APO and the rest of the guys. But I am proud of them and their achievements under the leadership of Coach George Beresford

Click on photo to enlarge

The following info is from Coach George Beresford. From Left to Right. Charlie Scott, Coach George Beresford, Mel Yingling, and Sterling Biggs. The 5th and 6th men are not identified. The seventh man (rear) is Robbie Roberts (heavy Weight) in front of Robbie is Jimmy Holliman. The ninth man is not identified but the tenth man on the extreme right is Andy Bowen.

Center is Coach Beresford, to right is Colonel Potts, Regimental commander of the 14th ACR. The other man in not identified

Coach Geroge Beresford L rear. Man in               Ron Pinder pouring Ollie Dunham a drink. Others are not identified.

white t-shirt may be Charlie Scott other two men

are not identified.

  

Coach George Beresford                                              Coach George Beresford

 

   

   

                                                                                    14th ACR Wrestling Team Members

   

Other members not show in above photos             14th Armored Cavalry Regiment Wrestling Team Members

          

APO (Art Apodaca)    C Co. 14th ACR                               Ed Fontenot 501st AMC

Notes from some of the westling team members:

I was running to the top of the hill right off base, I think there was a small chapel on it, I was on the regimental wrestling team and I think you were on the rifle team. I was running and I saw this girl watching our wrestling team running by and I ran over to her and started a conversation. She was from that Gypsy camp. I went to her shanty like abode and met her father, mother and some siblings and I think I was in love with her for a brief time. She had dark hair and beautiful teeth.

And she thought I was something. I think the SP’s were after me once and I went their and hung out one evening. I even put a pirate ring in my ear. Like a gypsy might wear. I remember when I got back to the states in December of “59” that when I saw the statute of liberty I threw my gold earring in to the ocean/harbor and made a wish. Yes I do remember Hildegard she was precious, and Little Amazon was very blond Nordic looking and she was taller them me. I remember she said she could sing. Oh, my son Devin made it back from Iraq ok. “Crazy Horse Warrior”, He trained at Fort Knox as an Armored Calvary Scout. I went to his graduation at Fort Knox and it was fun to see Louisville again.  Art.

Hi Art

May be that Little Amazon was that Gypsy that I went with. She lived in the DP camp across the street from the Kaserne behind the Pizza place and down the embankment. She was cute but her family were refugees from the East Zone (not Germany) and they were scary.

Ma be you remember one night when we were leaving the U-Boot someone kicked me in the rear and I spun around and punched them. I saw to late that it was the owners wife. That did make the people standing at the exit a little more pissed off.

I was in the U-Boot a few years ago and it still looked the same. I think many of the people that we knew still live there and are sitting at the Bus Platz talking about those Crazy Kalifornien.

Hildegard was the young lady (or one of many young ladies) that you took up to the music room at the library

and lock the door. She was so tiny but sweet as apple pie

Jim

 

 

Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 10:02 AM

I do remember the name and I also got rid of or lost some pictures (or some gal friend threw a few away, they could not understand memories). The ladies sure liked us. I was thinking of little Amazon a few days ago. She was with us in the U boat bar and some guys said some rude things to her and I guess we defendend her honor and fought our way out of that place.

 Art

Thank you for the offer of the photo. It will be great to see it. Would you believe that for many years I had some professional photos of Hildegard Mimms, I think that you will remember her and one of my old girl friends did not like me having them so I got rid of them. I also got rid of the girl friend and I don't miss her but I do miss the photos of Hildegard.

Notes from Ed Fontenot

Hi Jim;

    Yes,there are a lot of things that I have forgotten through the years.
The day that I wrestled for the 1958 championship was a disaster for me.
I had wrestled this guy before and pinned him without any trouble.So when it
came to the finals and we were the two left.I had this cocky feeling "I got this
trophy in the bag".
     The match starts and I see fear in this guy's eyes.He knows that I will be coming
at him hard.I cannot explain to you what I did, but I flipped him in a way that his hand got caught
in my suit tearing it all the way down one side leaving me open to the world.
I have him on his back with one shoulder blade touching.I have his right wrist in
my right hand with my back against his armpit and part of his chest.My left hand is
trying to hold on to the torn area of my suit.I bridged up forcing his other shoulder blade
to touch.I bridged three times pinning him twice.He told me this after receiving the trophy.
Anyhow the referee did not call the pin.I knew then that there was favoritism taking
place.There were two of those referees from the same post that the guy I was wrestling
was from.
   I could not do anything else,and they would not stop the match.I just let him go,
rolled on my back,pinned my own self and walked off the mat never to wrestle again.
Sure George came running in the locker room with others saying"They're going to give
you a rematch".I packed my stuff and went back to my outfit .I was contacted about the sweater
and the uniform.So I left  ten dollars for a better sweater that we picked.Never
saw the sweater.That was the second thing that happened in my wrestling career.
I got screwed out of my title and never received my sweater.ha
Left Fulda July 1959.In my heart I new that I was a champion and that I was around some
of the best guys to be around.We won the championship and I was part of that.
Not bad for a country boy from Louisiana who had not even finished high school.
I remember when George first talked to me about coming out to try out for the team.
He asked what college I attended.
I can't remember the guy's name at 160.5 but I pinned him and took that spot.We stayed
good friends even after I took the first string slot.
  Maybe you're wondering where I got my training.We were six boys and one girl growing up
on a share cropping farm.I had a brother that was two years older than I ,that I competed
with everyday of my life growing up.
   There it is ,but I have no regrets and hope  that all my teammates are doing well.
Ed
   

Jim and APO,
 

Thanks so much for your rapid replies to my e-mail. Inasmuch as both of you responded within the same 8 - 9 AM time-frame, I can only assume that you’re both early risers. As for me, I’m strictly a nocturnal creature and my day normally begins at noon and ends between 4 and 5 AM. Thus, in case you happen to notice the early AM hour on the e-mails I send you, I hope you won’t assume that I just returned from a night of carousing. To the contrary, my biological clock seems to dictate that my best hours for writing, which consumes much of my waking hours, is between 9 PM and 5 AM. Of course, I do occasionally indulge in a glass or two of chardonnay during this time-frame and it’s amazing how well I sleep when I finally do turn in for the night (or the morning if you prefer).

 

Now, Jim, I cannot recall ever seeing two “nice and quiet” good looking twin sisters at any time in headquarters company … or for that matter in all of Fulda … unless, of course, you want to count the few times I might have overindulged at the NCO club resulting in blurred double vision … in which case any females at all, even the gypsies in the encampment across from the main gate, might have looked like Hollywood starlets.

 

And there’s a perfectly good explanation for why I never encountered the Red Cross twins. They were day-shift people and I wasn’t. By the time I clocked in on the midnight ‘till 8 AM shift in the communications room, the only other person I ever saw was the guy I was relieving. And the only other living creature in the radio-room during my eight hour shifts was the regimental mascot, a woefully ugly pug bulldog named Jiggs. And that son-of-a-bitch was one horny dude. He had been observed in broad daylight having an affair with a prissy poodle somewhere on the lawn near the dependants quarters. Molly, his twice as ugly soul-mate, apparently became livid over Jiggs’ indiscretion and filed for separation resulting and Jiggs’ banishment to thirty days in solitary - which, unfortunately, just happened to be the regimental radio room. So in answer to your question regarding the Red Cross twins, no, I never got a glimpse of them. But I trust your judgment in saying they were “good lookers.”

 

And Jim, in answer to your question about where I completed my basic and advanced army training, it was at Fort Knox. Inasmuch as I had previously completed two years of Air Force ROTC at the University of Pittsburgh prior to moving to California and subsequently back to Pennsylvania where my draft board caught up to me, I was given the option of going to officer’s candidate school after I completed my basic training. But since it would have required a much longer commitment to serving in the Army, I declined the opportunity and was sent to CW radio school - also at Fort Knox. And no, once I left the military, I never again ever worked a CW key or bug.

 

Now you also asked if I ever met a guy named “Wensel Huber” while I was wrestling. I believe you might have meant Wenzel Hubel. If this is correct, why yes, I did know him. In fact, I wrestled him in the finals of the 1961 Southern Pacific AAU Championships held in San Pedro, California. And I saw him just recently (April 19) at the California Wrestling Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony. I briefly introduced myself afterwards but Wenzel didn’t remember me or our match forty-six years earlier.

 

Now inasmuch a Wenzel’s rap sheet credits him as having won the 1955 Pan American Games, and since Pan-Am Games competition is open to only those athletes from countries in North, Central and South America, Wenzel would have had to have gained a berth on the 1955 US Pan Am wrestling team as a result of his being a member of the US Army prior to those games. After that point in time, Wenzel probably served out his three year enlistment somewhere in the US. I know that he wasn’t present at the Army’s 1958 USAREUR Championships in Augsburg where I won the 174 lb. weight class championship. It wasn’t until 1961 in those SPA/AAU championships that I met, wrestled and beat Wenzel for the 174 lb. weight class title.

 

Now Arthur, or Art if you prefer, I remember you quite well as being a wiry young man with an enormous amount of potential to excel in anything you might have set your mind to. And as your first and perhaps only coach, it was my goal to redirect you and others on our team to accept a few challenging but obtainable goals as a first step toward rediscovering yourselves and your untapped potentials. I recall as a Pennsylvania coal-town kid that my own early outlook on life wasn’t exactly rosy until my high school wrestling coach redirected me toward the euphoria of standing on a victory platform. And it was there that I came to realize my new-found success wasn’t really about winning a bloody medal - it was all about the self discovery of hidden potential that was often obscured by the circumstances at hand. Therefore, upon being assigned to coach the 14th AC’s first ever wrestling team, I recognize my opportunity to pass along the same lessons my coach had instilled in me. And though you guys initially appeared to be little more than a rag-tag collection of oftentimes mischievous teen-agers, each of you arose individually to the challenge of stepping into an unfamiliar arena of activity and collectively emerged as winners.

 

And like your own experience of being “under the gun,” so it was with Jimmy Holliman. This kid, all of seventeen, was caught coming over the fence after curfew. When he protested for having been set-up and became belligerent, he was given “hard duty” and placed under the gun. So when I first laid eyes on this pint-sized kid painting the curbs in front of C company, I didn’t see some disgruntled, pain-in-the-ass GI working off his misdeed. I saw the possible makings of 105.5 pound wrestler. Subsequently, I arranged with the MPs to allow me to intervene in Jimmy’s painting detail and asked that the guard be informed of my plan and not to begin shooting. A day later, while Jimmy was carefully applying red paint to a curb, I purposely stepped on his work. Jimmy looked at me, dropped his brush and came up swinging. I held him at arms length and said I was sorry, but that if it was a fight he wanted, I had a kid his very size on my wrestling team over at the gym who would be glad to clean his clock. Jimmy took the bait and the MP showed up the next day with Jimmy in tow.

 

Well now, I really didn’t have anyone for Jimmy to fight, it was all a contrived story to get him over to the gym. So after making some excuse for his opponent’s no-show, I proceeded to engaged Jimmy in conversation. When he began telling me how he used to trap “gators” back home in Louisiana and sometimes “rasseled ‘em,” I offered him a deal - I’d spring him from his work detail if he’d sign up for my wrestling team. Jimmy said, “I’ll think on it fer a spell,” but within twenty-four hours, the smallest GI in the regiment finally decided to give “rassel’n” a try.

 

Now APO, I won’t bother mentioning how I managed to recruit most of your other teammates, but for a few of them assigned to border patrol units, the idea of sleeping in a warm bed every night and eating hot meals every day, instead of spending two weeks out in an open jeep and one week back in the barracks, somehow played a part in their reasoning for joining the wrestling team.

 

And maybe you might remember Ray Barharis, our Puerto Rican team manager and former army chef. Ray was a career army man who had worked his way up to master sergeant in charge of a mess hall. Unfortunately, upon responding to an insult, Ray pummeled a young Warrant Officer with an entrenching tool which resulted in Ray being busted back to a PFC in rank. Ray asked me if there was anything he could do to help the wrestling team. When I told him we needed workout sweats, game uniforms, etcetera, etcetera, but that the wrestling season might end before the quartermasters ever obtained the gear, Ray asked me to arrange for a jeep and said he’d see what he could do. In a week’s time, Ray traveled from base to base exchanging all manner of items - sheets, lard, cups, saucers, trays, sugar, flour, anything in the way of excess or shortage at various army posts. Eventually, Ray found a quarter-master sergeant in Frankfurt who would exchange all manner of warm-ups and wrestling gear for coffee and sugar which he could then unload on Frankfurt’s thriving German black market. So by the time the 14th ACs quartermaster received our requisitioned wrestling gear, we already had been working out for six weeks in the purloined wrestling gear Ray had scrounged up via his dubious connections throughout various V Corps military bases.

 

And perhaps you remember our team banquet a few days after we won the V Corps championship. Everyone on the team wanted steak for dinner except Jimmy Holliman who “hankered for some real down-home cooked grub.” And once again Ray came to the rescue. He personally prepared grits, black-eyed peas, ham hocks and greens especially for Jimmy.

 

Gees, there’s so much remembering to do, I might not be able to include it all in one or a dozen e-mail writing session. Like you Jim, I could probably write for weeks about my good and bad experiences in the 14th. But sometimes I get overwhelmed with the amount of e-mail I receive and have to respond to from former students, wrestling friends and high school classmates. At seventy-three, maybe all I need is a secretary. You think one or both of those good looking Red Cross twins might still be around and willing to type for me on a gratis basis?

 

I’ll talk to you guys in a few days -

 

Warm regards,

 

George


 


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