My Berlin, Part Two – Andrews Barracks

Or, even spies have to have somewhere to live.


Me at andrews

    This is me outside the Barracks I lived in on Andrews Kaserne in April of 1977.

Andrews Barracks, located on Finckensteinallee in the Zehlendorf district of Berlin, was originally a barracks and NCO Academy for Hitler’s Shutzstaffel. To the victor goes the spoils, and after the war, the U.S. Army grabbed this prime piece of real estate and created a Kaserne named after Lt. Gen. Frank Maxwell Andrews.

To me of course, it was home while I was in Berlin. There were a lot of amenities, among them a swimming pool built for the 1936 Olympics, a movie theater, an amateur theater-in-the-round, where I actually had a small part in a production of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest , a small PX, and a recreation center, where I played a lot of contract bridge with various denizens of the American community and some expats who came by from time to time.


the barracks

    A winter view of the building I lived in. My room was in the center section, on the third floor, between the stairwells.

There was an awful lot of somewhat grisly history associated with the site; some of the the executions on the “Night of the Long Knives” occurred on the Kaserne, in a small courtyard at the northwest corner.

History aside, the Kaserne was not bad at all as living conditions went- It had been designed as basically the West Point for central Europe, and of course it had been remodeled a couple of times since the war.

Since I was an E-5, I got NCO quarters, which were large rooms that were partitioned off out of even larger squad rooms. In many places there would be 8 to 12 people living in a space I now had to myself, or with an occasional transient roomie. 12-foot ceilings added to the feeling of spaciousness. In the original architecture, my room and the two on either side of it were one huge space, probably a classroom or squad room. Pictures I found later in my tour in the post library showed Hitler standing just about where my couch was. Creepy.

My room in BerlinWe were allowed, within reason, to decorate our rooms as we saw fit. This led to some fairly wild variations in room decor. One fellow had draped every surface in his room with DDR and Russian flags, including the ceiling. Hanging DDR flags was a common way of partitioning off space, because large DDR flags could be gotten extremely cheaply in the East, for far less than plain cotton cloth in the PX or on the local economy.

AH reviewing the troops

    This contemporary photograph shows Hitler inspecting members of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler in front of the building that would later be my barracks. The white circle shows my room. Some wag during my tour had an enlargement of this photo printed up with a label that said “First Sergeant Middlesteadt inspects Company B, USAFSB”, which was funny when you considered that Top was a generally all-around decent guy and family man.

Not to belabor all this dark history, but it has a bearing on later events. Suffice it to say that the buildings and grounds fairly reeked of a bloody past and dark history if one was at all sensitive to that sort of thing, and could well give you pause when hearing strange noises at night.

I wasn’t particularly a barracks rat, but I did spend enough time on post to become very familiar with all the denizens of Company B. My best friend Mike was spending his time in his room writing a novel, while another friend was busy with an apple II computer- the first one I had ever seen- learning how to program it. I was spending a lot of time developing film in the barracks bathroom when I wasn’t over at the rec center playing bridge, learning German from Gerhard, one of my partners, or the little German gal who was in charge of the center. The overall atmosphere was pretty laid back, and almost like I’d imagine a college dorm to be like.

The general level of soldiers in FS Berlin was very high, indeed. Most of them were college educated, and there were a wide range of cultural and outside interests evidenced in the population. There was drinking, to be sure, and some drugs, but most of us were fairly sober and intelligent folks. The surrounding community had adapted itself to the presence of GI’s completely by the time I got there: The big restaurant right outside the gate was Al Mulino’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria- just like any corner pizza joint back home- except they served German beer and you paid in Marks. One had to travel a bit further afield to find genuine German establishments.

The mess hall on post was unremarkable, save the one time we were served lemon Jello over a layer of raw onions, due to a misunderstanding on the part of a newly-hired cook.

All in all, the U.S. Government had managed to provide us with fairly luxurious quarters as quarters went. Next time, I’ll talk about work and the Hill.

This entry was posted in My Berlin, Places, Slices of my Life. Bookmark the permalink.

87 Responses to My Berlin, Part Two – Andrews Barracks

  1. Jim Freeman says:

    42nd Engr. 75-78 I think the old days once and a while. I remember good times I had.
    It would be great to hear from some of you.

  2. Andres Mejia says:

    Iwas there during 1991-92 on 6 support Battallion. Tim Sargent, Edward Morales, Richard Fabian, Ricahrd Mongomery, Ronda Brown and Sgt Vasquez were my family there. if any of you guys can get in touch with me I will really appreciate. I played soccer there in the yankie stadium.

  3. Richard McKinley says:

    Checkout Berlin Brigage site on Facebook

  4. ssg david beeler says:

    hi there we c/s co. 19th inf. reese kaserne ausburg germany le
    ft in fall of1961 for andrews in berlin not at first knowing where we were going but 6days later surprise front gate andrews till summer 1962 did not die in place or check point charlie left out 1big moment married frulein rosmarie matheis from augsburg did not speak english till watching bonanza &my 3 sons this being 49 yrs. 7 dauthers 1 son later ask me if i remember andrews ha ha &ho ho

  5. Phil Knauth says:

    I lived in Berlin a couple of times, and my elder brother Pete and I went swimming in the big pool at Andrews Barracks – this was in 1948-49. We went to school at TAR: “Kai yai ka yikus, nobody like us, we are the students of T-A-R”. The school bus was a US Army deuce and a half truck, and the sarge would lean over the tail gate and haul us one by one into the truck. Good memories for us.

  6. Raphael Benn says:

    Hello every body,
    My nick name was Benny , I am german and I stayed at homebar every day in the time of 1976-1978. I remember some of nice guys and friends of the 42nd engeneers, also the bartenders Eddy, Monika, Sami and Susan (girlfriend of Parker)!
    I rember names like Larry Durham ( I called him Daddy , I don’t no why), Steve Simons, Anthony, Robin (nice girl :-));
    Maybe somone remembers me and like to contact me via email

  7. Jeff Cobb says:

    Greetings. I was posted there from 83-86; I went back as a civvy in 94 or so to show my wife where I used to live. It was sad in a way because it was so tore up but on the otherhand, the guys at Al Mulinos across the street remembered me and it was good to have some of that great food again after so many years. I only lived at Andrews about half of my time there; the rest was in an apartment on Sundgauer strasse. And I worked on the hill too (I mean, who didn’t?). Check-point Charlie was so different now…but one place that was till the same was the Ku’dorf, that massive underground collection of bars and live music, just off of the Ku’damm….also have fond memories of the Top Hat and the Speakeasy. I got to know the folks who owned it fairly well. I actually drank the Top Hat dry of apfelkorn once.

  8. Irv Nelson says:

    To jon p regarding the home bar and Parker Smoak/ I was stationed there form 82-84 and he was still there running th ebar right next to al mulanos with his grilfriend whose name i cant remember but she was american if that helps you at all

  9. Barry Cox says:

    I was at Andrews Barraks from 1968 to 1971. I worked on the hill, drove a shift bus and ended up as the Motor Sgt. of the ASA motor pool. My daughter was born in 1969 at the military hospital. As strange as it sounds I really had a good time in Berlin. I also served with some really great men.

  10. Joe D'Arcy says:

    Hi! I was stationed at H&S Co FSB,Andrews Barracks.I would visit the Home Bar. I remember the hamberger special that like a “pizza sausage/hamberger”.The name Monika sounds familiar.Also remember some people who were there all the time,but don’t remember there name,only faces!Wonder were they are sometimes.

  11. Ed Heinze says:

    I was there in the glory days of the spooks from Teufelsberg-1963-1968. It is as you
    remember, but our bar the Die Goldene Sonne. (The Golden Scum). We all had 24 hour passes, so nobody was ever there except to fall out and ride up to the mountain.

  12. roland meinert says:

    I was assigned to the G-2 Section of Berlin Command during 1953-1955 and lived in Andrews Barracks. I am writing my autobiography for my grandchildren and would like to hear from anyone who served in Berlin during that period. I’m 81 years old and my memory is bad so I would like to hear from anyone who could help me with what was going on during that time.

  13. John Tidwell says:

    I was stationed in Berlin from Jan. 59 to July 62. Assigned to HQ & HQ CO 2nd Battle Group Engineer Platoon. That was at Mcnair Barracks. I am now a member of the Berlin U S military Veterans Association. We meet for a reunion once a year in a different location. Every four years we go to Berlin. This year the reunion is being held in Fairfax, VA. Check us out at berlinveterans.com

  14. Ed Buist says:

    I was the manager of the Home Bar after I left the Army in 1976 and returned to Berlin. Rapheal Benn well. I’m the eddy he mentioned in his post. He was only around 16 at the time, and was a great kid. If I had his e-mail address, I’d love to hear from him. We lovingly called him Benny. Mine is ebuist1825@aol.com.
    I had served for 12 years in the Army starting as a private in 1964 at McNair Barracks with the 3/6. After Vietnam I returned to Berlin working on the Teufelsberg with ASA. those were the best years of my life. After leaving the Army, i returned to Berlin for about three years and worked at the Home Bar. I noticed you stated Andrews barracks was in the Zehlendorf district. It was in Lichterfelde West.
    I hope Benny sees this and contacts me!

  15. Ed Buist says:

    I hope this website is still checked regularly by old friends from Berlin. I have been hoping to find out what happened to some of the old gang from FS Berlin, and my wonderful German friends from the Home Bar. Sadly some have died. Among the FS Berlin gang, I know we lost Sgt. Diane Ganyard. She was a trusted friend and a fine NCO. SSG Joe Pilzak passed away in 2010, he was a fun guy to be around. The only FS Berlin I am still in contact with is SP4 Steve Holt. He visits every year at Christmas. I’d like to find Dave Hayes & Dave Wallace, both of Co. A, FSB. They were good friends. I would love to hear from the gang I worked with in sub system M doing transcription. Among the Germans from the Home Bar, I know we lost Gerhardt Weyershauser, known lovingly as “Sammy”. I wonder what happened to my coworkers at the Home Bar, Monika Creplin, and Heidrun Gessner. I miss all the bright happy young kids that used to come in the bar, Raphael Benn, (Benny), Christan Schrag, Mattius, and so many more. I remember Opa Kuss, who must long be in heaven with the wife he missed so much. I loved that old Panzer soldier, and have many fond memories of him. Ach, Berlin hat noch Reiz fuer mich, ich habeHeimweh. I’d kill for a Curry Wurst! :o) I hope to hear from someone from my Berliner past. ebuist1825@aol.com.

  16. John Henry says:

    I was in Berlin 78-81 and worked at Teufelsberg with the FS/INSCOM. I had a great time there, where I meant my future wife. We have been married for 30 years now and plan to go back to Berlin in 2012. We really liked Al Malino’s (ate there at least 2 time a week).

  17. Kevin Pond says:

    I was there in 1973 and 74 as a civilian. I actually visited Andrews a couple of times.
    I have great memories of Berlin. I lived in Charlottenburg on Danckelman Strasse with some British room mates.

  18. ronald e. dodd says:

    i was a checkpoint charlie mp from 1963 to 1965 co 287th mp co.

  19. Steve Cooper says:

    I was in Berlin from 1971 t0 1973 I was a cook for the 287 MP.
    I love all of Berlin But most of all the Berliners.

  20. Was stationed in Berlin (ASA) in 1968-69 and worked at the small facility in the woods below the “hill”. The British PX food truck came by every night with fis and chips and currywurst. Worked at Frank’s bar (Zur Grotte) as the cook for awhile and remember well the Golden Sun accross the street from the gate where Hans served up the best knockwurst and potato salad I’ve ever had. Spent some time with some of the resident “ladies” who frequented the place, most notably Beatta, AKA “slash”. Learned photography and darkroom techniques from the German guy who ran the photo lab/darkroom at the special services club …led to a great career. Love to hear from anyone who was there when I was. ..Cheers and merry Christmas to all.

  21. Jim Coleman says:

    I was in Berlin from 1966 to August 1969. I was also was a cook/baker for the
    287th M.P. Comapny. It was a great time of my life seeing the differences between West and East Berlin. In addition getting out to see the border and getting to go on the boat patrol. I value the friendships I made with the M.P.’s and how I was treated by the Berliners. It was the expierence of a life time. I have been back to Berlin in 2006, 2010, and I will return in 2014. I am a member of BUSMVA, Berlin U.S. Military Veterans Association.

  22. Lou Schulist says:

    I was stationed at Andrews from March 1956 to March 1959. I was in the engineer platoon, service company, special troops. Our evenings began and ended at the Goldenen Sonne just outside the gate. The proprietor Anton would wander around saying, “So ist das.” A memorable event was when our platoon was assigned to remove and replace a rotted out, tall stretch of barbed wire fencing on a wooded section of the border. The Russians complained smuggling was occuring there. As we tore out and replaced each section the Russkie guards would stand across the line with their dogs and burp guns and watch us. We offered cigarettes which they refused. I had my Retina IIIc camera with me and wanted to take pictures but an American army Major who was observing the operation ordered me to put the camera away to “avoid getting cut down by a Soviet burp gun.” We put in 12 foot high 4×6 posts and stretched the barbed wire using crowbars for leverage as we stapled the strands with about 5 inches spacing between strands. My real job was the Engineer Clearance Section inspecting building conditions as we moved officers and non-coms into homes, apartments, etc.

  23. Jim Stacey says:

    Stationed at Andrews from July of 61 (a month before The Wall was started if I remember correctly) to Feb or Mar of 63, a member of A Trick with 78th ASA. Very young…a naive 18 from the hills of eastern Ky., when I arrived. I was a complete misfit as far as the Army went, so I fit right in with the 78th (I believe we had the lowest enlistment rate in the entire Army). My outfit was full of rich kids from the best schools (this is what happens when you have a draft) so I met a lot of neat people, but stupid me, I lost touch with almost all of them. I sure wish I had heard from Bob Stava (I believe his dad owned or controlled trading in Ford on Wall Street), Romer Holleran (a very kind dude who used to borrow money from me every month, as did his friend, Dominick, whose father was a broker on Wall Street), and then there was my best friend from Georgia, Ellis Davis, who had attended three or four of the best schools but “was not invited to return to any of them (said with a Southern drawl).” It was a very tense time, with the Cuban crisis being just one of the times when we wondered if we might live through it all. Used to hear machine guns going off when we took a break at night out at Templehof. My life changed as much in those two years as it did in the next ten.

  24. Richard Schmuckal says:

    I served in Berlin from 1960 thru 1963. I was stationed at Andrews Barracks, HQ & HQ Company, and worked at Command Headquarters on Clay Alee. Was there the” Wall” went up. Enjoyed reading the stories of my fellow Berliners. I would like to hear from anyone who might remember me.
    Richard Schmuckal, Michigan

  25. Darrell G. Swanigan says:

    I served in Berlin June 1963-Sept 1965– Ellis R. Davis was my first hero there in Berlin. Was told by Ops that no new ASA personnel would be eligible for a pass until setting through a briefing which might be scheduled in a week. After about three days of boredom my roommate came in and invited me to go out for a beer. After explaining my predicament he asked me for my Id and a few minutes later he came back with a 3 day pass signed by Lt. Col. Ellis R. Davis. Was later told that Ellis Davis was the first ASA guy to take several trips to the Opera by the SBan. Darrell Swanigan Suffolk, VA

  26. James Green says:

    I was stationed at andrews 85-87, I had lots of great memories in berlin and some bad, I was in the labelle disco bombing in 86, my company has a page on facebook USAISC Berlin field station I loved that place. God Bless All

  27. Daniel Kummer says:

    I served with Headquarters Company of the 7781 A.U. at Andrews Barracks from January 1954 to April 1955. Our Battalion Commander was Lt Col English and I reported to Major B. Merchoff, the Batallion S2-S3 Officer. Great memories of the Resi Bar (now torn down) , many local bars and restaurants, the Russian Garden of Rememberance and, yes, even battalion alerts! I introduced one of my best buddies to a German girl, and he married her after returning to the states. Unfortunately, he died in an accident a few years later. Other units at Andrews during that time included the 272 and 287 MP Companies, the 298 Army Band, and the 559 Inf. Rifle
    PLatoon (Honor Guard).

  28. David Whitlock says:

    I am so glad I found this site, I was stationed in the S2/S3 Office with Daniel W,. Kummer, Msg Lilley and Major Herschoff in 1954 and they transferred me to the 559 Inf Rifle Platoon (Berlin Honor Guard) in 1954. Daniel I well remember the times we had with John Stanton and Ron Soble. The Berlin Honor Guard was deactivated in Jun or July 1955 and I was transferred to the 126th Labor Supervision Unit at Roosevelt Barracks. Those were wonderful times. I went to Berlin as a 17 year old kid and grew up in Berlin. If there is anyway anyone can get in touch with Dan Kummer, please let him know I would like to hear from him.
    SFC David C. Whitlock, Retired, davwhit@gmail.com.

  29. Daniel Kummer says:

    Dave, Just confirming that I have now revisited this site, and read your commentary on the 559 IRP.

  30. Malcolm Campbell says:

    I was with the 592nd sig from Nov 63 to Dec 64. Worked at Army HQ on Clayallee. I remember the Golden Sun and the Blue Moon. Was great friends with Ray Voss, He died of a heart attach in Colorado in the 1980′s. Got to know Berlin like the back of my hand. I’ve been back about three times since the wall came down, I think in 89, 90 & 92. Those were the first times I was ever in East Berlin. I worked for a US company with mfg plants in Germany so it made it easy for me to get to Berlin. Was actually in Leverkusen, Germany for Reunification day, that was some celebration.

  31. Robert W Stanton says:

    I remember Dan W. Krummer from the time we served together in Berlin with the 7781 AU. We spent time together at a small bar in Zehlendorf where another friend, Jim met the girl he later married. We also enjoyed the Rex Casino where one could listen to good music and eat exceptional food. After my two years in the army I used the GI Bill to obtain a couple of degrees. Following a number of boring jobs I worked for the USG in a number of countries and retired in 1984, Since 2004 I have lived in Thailand which I heartily recommend. Would love to hear from Dan if he is still alive. Bob Stanton

  32. U.marggraf says:

    I met my husband in berlin he was stationed at the Andrews barracks with the mp s,he was there from 1963-66 Charles Marggraf, we had a lot of friends,he also patrolled check point Charlie his best friend mike Evans was I’m my wedding. We lost touch with him any one know of him he might have had to go to Vietnam,thanks ,uschi

  33. Paul Young says:

    I was stationed in Berlin Andrews Barracks from 1954 to 1958. My job was company clerk of Service Company 7781 Special Troops. We had the four tech services, Transportation, , Engineers., Ordinance and Quartermaster, in our company. My 1st sergeant was Clifford E. Weatherbee, a full blooded Cherokee Indian, kept me out of trouble for four years. When I rotated back to USA we were the two men who had been in Berlin the longest period of time. In fact he came to the train station to see me off, the first time I had seen him do that to anyone. I don’t know why he always

  34. Tom Gross says:

    I was at Andrews barracks from 62-64 with the 78thASA. I was a comm center
    specialist and had the amazing opportunity to work at various comm center sites at
    Templehof,Rudow site 1 and Grunewald site 4 and the early trailer site we operated
    from on Teufelsberg the hill.The memories of the time and history of that haunting
    era are unforgettable to this day.The city was an amazing place for an 18 year old
    to wander around and live and learn in.

  35. delores lewkowicz says:

    it may have been in 1977 that I became aware of Andrews olympic sized swimming pool and I started going frequently – 3 or 4 times a week. I was always the only person in the pool (about 3p.m.) and such a pleasure for me I cannot describe. I would sing softly to myself and swim slowly to the end and then back to the other end for 30 minutes or more. The ceiling must have been about 30 feet up —–and I wanted to share this with anyone who enjoyed the pool as much as I did!

  36. Daniel goodrich says:

    I was stationed there from 73 to 77 287′s MP. I want to hear from anyone who was there then. I also owned the Speakeasy.

  37. Daniel goodrich says:

    I’m looking for Michael Leroy Hanns and John Wesley Andrews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current month ye@r day *