This book had its origins at a reunion of former members of the 13th Armored Infantry Battalion when at the closing dinner each person present was asked to tell a story from that era of his service with the Battalion. It was a wonderful occasion and the stories were both humorous and serious. This led to a determination to capture them and others for our children and grandchildren. This desire, has led in turn to this book which tells part of the history of our Army through our experiences at an important transitional time for our country. We hope it will be of interest to all readers interested in unit history and of this era of the American Army.
The turmoil of these years to get ready, to stay ready and to be ever ready to fight provided an incredible rich vein of stories. Some of the stories are about officers and noncommissioned officers with distinguished prior records from World War II and Korea. Some are about young soldiers who would go on to serve in Vietnam and Laos in positions of responsibility. Some are about young soldiers who did their two year tour with the colors and then returned to their civilian pursuits. Some stories are about unhappy warriors and some stories are about happy warriors who provided humor, not always intentionally. For all it was, as we look back on it, a privilege to have served the people of the United States and to have helped preserve the peace in Europe. We think you will enjoy sharing our experiences and the quotations on the military experience throughout the ages, interspersed between the stories.
The book also tells the story of a division and its units moving from a training division status to a fully trained and deployable armored division. It also records the experience of Operation Gyroscope, an experience shared with other units and with other divisions. This was the Army's attempt to rotate whole divisions as unit moves to Europe and back again, being replaced by a sister division from the United States. The three year draftees after one year in Germany. The goal of Operation Gyroscope was that it would provide, particularly for the career enlisted soldier, a permanent home in the United States that he would always return to through out his career as he rotated with his parent unit. Alas, while a good idea, it was too ambitious and on too large a scale. The book records the result of a late decision to abandon Operation Gyroscope on the units in Germany. Many in the Army was welded to the individual replacement system of World War II and the Korean War that caused so many unnecessary losses as replacements tried to get assimilated into their unit on the battlefield. Only in ''modern times'' has the Army recaptured a successful unit replacement system. The bonding that occurred in the 13th Armored Infantry Battalion over four years proved the value of such a system.
Frederic Remington, the great painter of the Frontier Army, once said that he regretted the loss of all the wonderful stories he heard over the campfires of that Army and wished that someone had taken the time to record them., This is an attempt to presreve the stories of another generation of soldiers. We hope that you and future generations will appreciate a look at the Army during the early days of the Cold War in Europe. HONOR AND PRIDE!