This is a true story that occurred at Christmas time in 1967.  However, it is not a Christmas story.  The setting is Illesheim, West Germany.

          There was a private in the 4th Armor Brigade, at Stork Barracks, who had a toothache.  He received permission to go see the army dentist on post, during work hours, two days before the Christmas holiday.  The good army dentist pulled a few teeth.  He gave the private the necessary paperwork to take the day off and rest in his bunk. 

          That evening the private was feeling much better.  He and several of his friends went to take in a movie at the post theater.  During the movie, everyone enjoyed the fresh popcorn.  It was covered in hot butter with lots of salt, and shall we say some UXB kernels.  Well, at the end of the program the meatball private was in some real pain.  He now had several kernels lodged in his brand new extraction holes. 

He went to his duty officer after the movie (after midnight) wanting some help from the dentist.  The duty officer called out to the dentist for him to come help this poor, suffering, All-American GI.  (The dentist lives on the economy—GI talk for living off post.  This is usually with a wife or girlfriend, but a phone is mandatory and at the expense of the individual.)  The dentist, a colonel in the US Army, told the duty officer that he was not about to drive to Illesheim to work in a cold room for this meatball.  (You and I will never know the actual conversation that took place, but at the court martial they were convicted of conspiracy.)  They conspired to send the GI in a taxi to Windsheim to see a “German” dentist.  The “German” dentist did not speak any English.  (If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for real cheap!) 

As the court martial records show, this suddenly German GI put away his Stars and Stripes newspaper and anything else that would give him away.  This “German” dentist was actually an active duty officer in the US Armed Forces.  The set up also included using a real German barber shop as the location to perform the procedure.  When the private arrived, he sat in the chair and had the kernels lifted from his bleeding gums.  The “dentist” charged the private 200 German Marks but accepted 50 US Dollars as payment for services rendered.  Everyone went home happy.

Within 24 hours the entire barracks of 3,400 GIs was laughing about how the hill-billy was taken.  However, this hill-billy was not as stupid as one might think.  He complained to his commanding officer.  The long and the short of it is this:  the two former GIs who took him for two thirds of a month’s pay each went to the stockade for one year.  The Stars and Stripes had some real news for GIs in Germany

Next Story