Email conversation between MadDog and Gerry Crow

From: John Freyermuth []
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2009 3:35 AM
Subject: Bad Aibling

Is this the e-mail for the Gerry Crow who was stationed at ASA FS Bad Aibling?

This is John Freyermuth, known as Mad Dog. I was at Bad Aibling, in B Company from 1968 to mid-1970. I remember you well. Do you remember BALTA. There is a website at

You might remember several of them. I have a lot of contacts. We are having a reunion in New Mexico in October. Hope to hear from you!!!


PS. Also known as The Pterodactyl

Subject: RE: Bad Aibling
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 08:10:40 -0500
Mad Dog!

Yes, you got the right guy!

How the hell are you? Yes, I remember you! I don’t know how you remember me, since I hardly remember me from 40 years ago!

I remember the bauren fruhstuck at the Chance after working the mid-night shift.

I remember Mike Hannan taking sucker bets from the Nuggies about how fast he could chug a beer. (Does he still do that?)

I remember the BA volunteer fire department.

I remember Dancing Bear (I think)

I remember my old room mate Chris Blum (STP-man) getting a section 8 discharge. (This would have been about the time you got there.)

I’ll check out the BALTA website.

I live in southern NH, about 40 miles north of Boston. Retired for about 5 years and making beer-money as fly fishing guide. Right now I am in Fort Myers, FL getting ready to head north after 2-months away from the ice and snow of NH.

How about you, John?

Keep in touch!


Websites and blog:

From: John Freyermuth []
Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2009 4:40 AM
Subject: RE: Bad Aibling

I would never have found you were it not for my being retired, and for the wonders of internet search engines. Still, I wasn’t sure it was you, but had a pretty good hunch is all.

Yeah, the Farmer’s Breakfast = Bauernfrüstück washed down with a couple of Maxlaxs or Maxlrains. Bad Aibling – That was the greatest of times. I never wanted to leave BA. Why did we?

Well, there are a million places or more to begin, so I hardly know where. I’ll just ramble.

John Michael ‘Mike’ Hannan. One of the people I’ve stayed in touch with. He and Heidi (ex Keller) Cotler were part of an original small core of people with whom I’ve stayed in touch. This was largely due to their efforts at first. Hannan is married to Elizabeth of England. They live on a bridge (no lie) near Tellico Plains, TN. Just like Hannan to go an’ buy property that had the foundation of an old bridge on it. I’ve never seen it. He says it was the most affordable way to obtain the safety provided by one’s own moat. I know he fishes some too. Don’t think he drinks like he once did. He’s retired for the most part. Not doing too well healthwise, but still around. He sells some of his art work occasionally. No kids.

Ed ‘The Dancing Bear’ Hoben. Married to Kathy. They live in Louisville, KY. Lost touch with him, until about 5 years ago. He’s got that big voice. Really likable guy. Still the same for the most part. I think they have 4 or 5 kids.

Heidi Cotler is married to Dan Cotler. You probably remember her as Heidi Keller. She and Bob Keller parted ways around the early 1980s. She has two boys, one by Bob and one by Dan. She’s still the same. Loud and hillarious and gregarious.

Larry McCown and Brigitte (from the Chance) are still together. They live in or very near St. Louis.

Mike Rodgers, Capt Hog. Still crazy too. He lives in Grove City, PA. It’s a real place. I’ve even been there. I was originally from that part of the country. Mike is as funny and outspoken as ever.

Others I’ve stayed in touch with are Lance Boyer (lives in Connecticut), Sam Flippo (Oklahoma), Don Pier (Oregon), Jim & Mimi Crandall (Wisconsin), Brian Pfeiffer (San Francisco area), Curt Simonson (Chicago), Dee Mills (formerly Beeching), Bob Hamlin (Michigan), and a few more.

I don’t know of anyone who has heard from Chris Blum. I remember him as ‘Electricity Man’. Gerry, you are absolutely right. I got to BA about 3 or 4 days before he left. It was in April of 1968. The put me into a corner bay – large room – in B Company with another new guy named Bill Miller (who didn’t stay at BA long). But Chris Blum was in the room too. He had a tire from a car under his bunk. He slept all day and didn’t want to talk much. He told me he was leaving and the tire was the only piece of his wrecked Jaguar that he was keeping.

A little later Bill Miller took me aside and said, “John, don’t talk to that guy. He’s crazy! He’s getting kicked out of the Army.” I got very interested. I asked around and that’s how I learned about Electricity Man. Even though I was a new guy, I kind of admired Chris in a secretive kind of way. I soon learned that a lot of other guys did too.

I met PJ and Nick Dostie when they made me a poker. Bill Miller told me it was disgraceful to be made a poker. I’d been one of the top Bulgarian linguists from Monterey. But Jim Crandall was already holding down the slot for the one Bulgarian linguist at BA. I came there with Sam Flippo and Lance ‘Interpol Raven’ Boyer, plus Miller, Malcom, and Stryker. The last three all left BA after a two or three months. I only remember them because they were in my class at Monterey.

Besides Dostie and P.J. McCormick, I met other veteran pokers too: J.J. Wallace (RIP), Gary Hendrickson, and Ralph Shriver come to mind.

I’m becoming aware of a lot more people of late – like I said – due to the Internet and Search Engines and a renewed interest in the past. Two years ago I got a call from Hanni Beer. Hadn’t seen her since the very early 1970s. She’d been J.J. Wallace’s girlfriend from BA. She lives in Exeter, NH. That must be very near you!

About a year ago now it was – I came home one afternoon and found the name Kerry Vandegrift on my caller ID. I thought he’d been dead since the early 1970s!

Others in the past year that have turned up: Mike Gleason, Nick Dostie, Wally Knox, Alan Gland, and just recently, Forrest ‘Woody’ Dieckman. Kerry lives in Philadelphia and is disabled. So he has a lot of time to help with finding people.

So Gerry, have you been in touch with some folks?

By the way, it’s not too late, in case you’re interested in coming to the reunion.

Before you left BA I remember you stayed in the barracks for a few nights. One night you were driving golf balls down the hallway. You don’t remember that do you?

Fishing guide. Wow. I did most of my fishing before I was in the ASA. I grew up fishing with my Dad. First in Western Pennsylvania, and later here in New Mexico. We fished a lot in northern New Mexico in the 1950s and early 1960s. I’ve probably fished less than 10 times since I got out of the Army in 1970. Too bad. I’ve forgotten what little I ever knew about it.

I remember when I was about 14 or so, hiking with my dad to small ponds in the meadows of Northern NM, up above Trout Lakes and Nutrias Lakes – We’d catch little native cutthroats. They’d attack like mad for a couple of minutes, and then nothing. So we’d move on and search out another little lake.

We live in Las Cruces, NM. It’s in the south central part of the state, on the Rio Grande. Not much fishing down here. One has to go to the big lakes – Elephant Butte or Caballo (bass) – or to the mountains where there are trout streams and small lakes.

What a coincidence though. Right now I should be working on my story about a fishing trip to the Rio Grande Box in 1956. A childhood friend, a writer in Rhode Island, has been helping me spiff up the story for possible publication. He’s a published writer and he filled me story with red marks galore. Only about two or three per sentence though. But then he told me to completely rewrite it. I feel overwhelmed a bit.

I’m retired from New Mexico State University since 2002. I worked there in the library for nearly 30 years. My wife, Carolyn, is retiring from the public schools in June. We married in 1983. We have two girls aged 23 and 25. One is an artist – painter. The other works as a manager in a small grocery. We probably won’t get rich.

Sorry, but I had to attach a picture. That’s part of our family from about a year ago. I look a little younger now, though. Our daughters are below Carolyn and me in the picture. The guy in back is my stepson, David – Carolyn’s son from her previous marriage. He’s with his girlfriend. The guy in front is my older daughter’s boyfriend.

I enjoyed looking at your websites and seeing you catch a fish. You sure do put a lot of work into it. I sense that you’re hooked.

Gerry, please stay in touch. You might hear from a few others. I don’t know. Kerry has a big list that he’s putting together. He’s kind of extremely enthused and hyper at times. I once was too. Not anymore though. But let me know if I can help you find somebody – I mean as long as it’s nothing serious like, ya know, then I’ll try to help.

Good luck and do please stay in touch.

Maddog – John Freyermuth

Subject: RE: Bad Aibling
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 21:08:40 -0500

Wow! Hitting golf balls in the barracks! I vaguely remember that – probably under the influence of a few Maxlax.

Chris (STP-man or Electricity Man) was an Air Force brat who could never live up to his dad’s expectations. In November of ’67 they had a post Fasching party. For a costume he dyed his army long johns red and his boxers blue and made a cape out of a pillow case. He glued an STP sticker from the post auto shop onto his chest. I think I made an arab outfit out of an army blanket and a sheet.

He would dress up in that get-up in the middle of the night; steal a bike from one of the locals and ride around the post. He used to go down to the main gate and ride his bike around the guard shack in circles. The MP on duty tried to stop him from coming onto the post and when he didn’t stop they chased him down in their jeep. They caught him and asked for his ID and he told them that he did need one. After that he was relieved from any duty inside the barbed wire and had to go to Munich to see a shrink every Friday.

He told me he wanted out and was just putting on an act to get a discharge. Before all this stuff he borrowed $50 from me and in lieu of paying me back, gave me his ’53 VW bug – blue with racing stripe. Then he got some money and bought a BMW bike.

I rode on the back wearing the red fire-marshall helmet from the barracks as we roared through all those little towns. I am lucky he didn’t kill us both on that thing.

If I remember correctly, PJ was my room mate in the barracks before I rotated back to the states. He stole a big role of that brown paper that they gave us to wrap packages we were sending back home. He covered his bunk and the entire floor on his side of the room with the paper.

And then on inspection days he would roll up the paper and throw it away along with the dirt and “ghost-turds” that accumulated under the bed.

I kept telling him that it was quicker and easier to just sweep up once a week, but he enjoyed the challenge of beating the system. The only problem was the racket he made every time he rolled over on that brown craft paper bedspread!

How about the ditty-bopper guy who had a ham radio outfit? One night strange traffic came in on his problem’s frequency. They called for RDF – and it tracked about 15 miles from the base. They quickly figured out what was going on and that was the last we heard of that guy. Don’t remember his name.

Has anybody started a collection of this kind of “historical recollections?”

I used to hang around a bit with Nick Dostie and Larry/Fran Labree. How about Jerry and Ros Boyle? I didn’t see them on the list, unless I skipped over it.

Keep in touch!



9 Responses to “Email conversation between MadDog and Gerry Crow”

  1. Mike Hannan Says:

    Hi Gerry-

    Between John and Kerry (the Fool) Vandergrift some names from the past have suddenly begun to show up after all these years. It’s nice to hear your “voice” again. We have had a pretty steady group doing the reunion thing since 1971 in Mason City/Clear Lake, Iowa. Since then something between 15 and 35 have gathered from NH to California and from Wisconsin to Texas. Amazingly there has never been so much as a cross word at these amazing get togethers and we are about to get our “stories” right. My beer guzzling adventures at the Chance put a little spending money in my pocket at the end of the month and were good for a laugh. At the last reunion in Orange Beach Ala. I had one beer – that was on Sunday morning with the bauren frustuck. I think I had 5 or 6 beers in all of 2008 and a couple of Scotch and sodas and a shot or 2 of local moonshine. I look forward to to looking at your websites – I live on a creek and do a little fly fishing myself. Hope that you might be able to make it to NM in October.

    To settle a little confusion, I have told the story of (in my version) Chris Blum fly fishing for bats behind B Company for many years. Kerry seems to think it was you – I was sure that it was Chris but I may have had a dozen or more Maxs before that wonderful little memory was created. Was it you or was it Chris?

    Hope all is well in NH


  2. Mike Gleason Says:

    Sounds fishy amigo.

  3. Gerry Crow Says:

    Good to hear from you. I wish I could definitively clear up the fly fishing for bats mystery, but I can’t. Clearly, you and Kerry have a stronger recollection of that event than I do. I have inadvertently tangled up with bats while fishing the evening hatch, but don’t have a specific recollection of trying to “fish” for them. This summer I will attempt to replicate the circumstances and see if that jogs my memory.
    All the best,
    Note to self: On warm summer evening drink a couple 6-packs; put on CD of Maddog calling pterodactyls; rig up the fly rod and go out back and entice a bat to bite a fly. When neighbors call police on me, refer them to Mike and Kerry.

  4. Fool Says:


    Gerry—Chris’s longjohns were dyed blue, not red, and thecape was orange, made from the curtains in the day room (where by the way I found the meaning of the word “the” that Maddog wrote on walls, floors, etc.–it was the “duck” which I found underneath an end table).
    You can see bothe the cape and the longjohns in the photo that the Maddog attached to one of his e-mails.

    On “bat fishing”–I have talked to Mike, and others who have chimed in and commented only by their recollections of “stories” and “legends” handed down over 40 years, and have come to the conclusion that Chris did do bat fishing in BACK of the barracks. My story took place in front of the barracks. Also, Maddog would not have been on post but for only a few days when Chris was around, so the possibility of it being Chris in my incident would have been nearly impossible.

    On finding Baltans–I have a surprise for all, with a new search. You all will be e-mailed the information.


    • FOOL Says:

      Someone has commented that he thought that it was PJ who did the bat fishing, and that the aforementioned Jaguar that Chris wrecked was indeed an MGB.


  5. Lanning Hochhauser Says:

    Were you a fly fisherman when you were stationed at BA. I fished the Traun and the Red Traun, as well as the little stream on post. During one of the Rod & Gun Club fishing derbys my pal Wayne Parsons landed a 24 inch Brown on his favorite Pennsylvania fly, a March Brown wet. That year be beat out Major Jordan the post exec.
    Lanning, ’68-’70.

  6. Gerry Crow Says:

    Yes I fished on the post. If you remember it was a real big process to get your German fishing license. I am not sure, but I think Wayne and I attended the instructor school in Bertchesgaden together. I didn’t fish any other area rivers. Making up for that now in retirement.

  7. Julie (Young) Rhodes Says:


    My husband and I are getting ready to take a trip to Bad Aibling (in two weeks), so I decided to google the place and see what was on the internet. Your blog site came up and surprised me . I was in Bad Aibling from 1968 to 1970. My father was Richard Young who was part of Project Wildbore. I haven’t been back since 1970 and wanted to find out if you could still visit the station, if anyone was there, or if it was completely locked up. I’ve read that it has closed.

    Does anyone remember much about the Wildbore group? Our family lived off-base in a little town called Kleinhohenrain, but we had base privileges and went to the American high school in Munich. We took the Army bus to get there from BAS. I remember hanging out in a cafeteria, going to the movies, using their dark room to develop pictures, going to the teen center for dances, and visiting school friends in their homes on base. I know no one is going to know me, but it would be nice to find out if anyone knew some of the people my father worked with. It would be nice to connect with them if possible.

    I’m really looking forward to revisiting the area and seeing Garmisch, Berchesdaden, Munich, Chiemsee and other towns in the area. I expect to see a lot of changes since 1970. I was only a teenager then, and have wanted to go back for years. Our family had the best time living there. It sounds like others feel the same way from what I’ve found on the web.

    Thanks for letting me comment on your site. It’s been fun reading other comments from people who have been there.

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