Happy 40th Birthday to Balta, comments/photos

Tennis Tournament

Today, August 17, 2009, marks the 40th anniversary of the very first BALTA Function, the Tennis Tournament held on post at Bad Aibling Field Station. The ongoing activities of BALTA and the persistence of the powerful BALTA CONCEPT provide proof of the long-lasting importance of our seminal event of August 17, 1969.
BALTA CONCEPT?    (from John MadDog Freyermuth)


Hi to all BALTA members and congrats on 40 years.
I was the Brit Sgt in charge of the DF Det at BA in the late 60’s. Had a great time down there with you guys, and I lived in the MQ’s with my wife and dog.

I am still looking for a GI who I was great friends with, his name was Mike Lee or Lea; he was a Spec 5 at the time and he was a tech of some sort. He drove a dark green VW Beetle which had lowered suspension and tuned muffler etc.

I have tried all sorts to find out if he is still around but still no luck. Is there any chance that some of your members might know where he is currently. Any help would be appreciated.
Denny Byrne Ex Royal Signals Sgt. Retired in 1984 as a Warrant Officer. Denis Byrne denis.byrne@hotmail.co.uk

From Shaky Moore:

That’s interesting because I had already left Bad Aibling in May of that year and BALTA already existed in some primitive form.

Gregory J Moore
Operations Engineer

From Gerry Crow:

Damn, my daughter Sheri was born that day in Munich.  I forgot to name her BALTA.  Maybe next time. . . gerry@flyfishnewengland.com

From Bill Shea:

Wow!  First there’s the Moon landing, then Woodstock then…. THE BIRTH OF BALTA!  …and I missd them all!
…Mysto bshea@shealatone.com
From Dottie and Bill Dunn:
Cool!  We were still in BA, but not at the function.  We have heard stories, however, and know of this event.  Does anyone have any pictures?

The first reunion stateside was in the summer of 1970 in Clearlake, Iowa.  We have some pictures of that, and will bring them if we can find them!  Our memory of that was it was in a cornfield with no facilities.  We camped, drank, and ate hot dogs for 3 days!
Boy, we have come along way since then – no more roughing it!!!


MadDogs answer to the Dunns email:

Bill & Dottie,

Great hearing from you! I often can’t remember when someone came or left BA.
Some of these reunions are interesting because there are often people there who were at BA but I never knew them there.
I do remember you all from the Chance and some other occasions. I am often never quite sure which occasions I shared with certain individuals. After leaving Operations, one could soon wind up in one of several locations such as the Chance, Maxlrains, the road to Munich, the road to some other place, the barracks, the PX, the snack bar, an apartment, a Bierfest, etc. Who we would run at into at some place or other was usually unknown.
I’ve attached a jpg photo of the first reunion at Clear Lake. I was not there – probably didn’t get word of it or couldn’t get a ride from Albuquerque where I was camping out at my folks place until school began in the fall. I think the date was 1971. I count back on my fingers and get 1971 if this years reunion is going to be the 39th, as everyone tells me it is.
Somewhere I have a list of all the reunion sites that Cpt. Hog compiled. I know or think I know just about everyone in that picture from Clear Lake.
As for the 1969 tennis tournament on post, I have at least two slides. Cranny says that he had some pictures that burned in a fire at his place in Wisconsin a few years ago. I will try to get my slides converted to photos, or get someone to scan them – by someone who has a slide scanner.
One of the slides shows the unveiling of the Maddog Cup. Kerry & Hannan & Diane Zubi & Diana Lopes built it in the USO. It was a cylindrical metal ashtray atop a 8 foot pedestal. Red geraniums were planted in the ashtray.
I believe Hannan took the picture and I think it might be Diane Zubi who is removing a tarp or sheet from around the trophy. I am standing facing the camera, wearing white tennis shorts and a dark maroon sweater. Jim Crandall is standing beside me.
On the court behind, two players are warming up for their match. I believe they are Rocky Keyes and Ken Still. (I remember Rocky pretty well. Ken I remember as a guy who looked a bit like Bob Newhart, the TV comedian.)
The other slide shows several cases of Maxlrain stacked up under a tarpaulin near a tree. It started to rain by the afternoon. We never finished the tournament.
Everyone was too drunken by mid-afternoon and the rain picked up in intensity. Rules stated that every participant had to chug a bottle of Maxlrain before their match. The winner had to chug a bottle after each set and again before the start of his subsequent match.
At the end of the day, the losers were still standing and the winners had passed out in the grass or in the gym or somewhere. I don’t know what became of the trophy. Perhaps it got picked up by the trash collectors or returned to the USO Club.
I also scanned a copy of the uncompleted draw. It gives last names or nicknames of participants. It is in Hannan’s handwriting. I think that the announcements prior to this seminal event were nothing more than a couple of handwritten flyers posted in the snack bar in Operations and perhaps, in the B Company barracks.
I have a copy of one if you’d like a jpg of that. Otherwise, the brave souls who showed up likely learned of the tourney through word of mouth.
Shaky Moore says that he left BA in May of 1969, but that he remembers hearing of BALTA. So, perhaps there were earlier unrecorded activities. Actually, BALTA is likely older than the hills: pterodactyls and such.
I’m looking forward to visiting with you all at the reunion. Meantime is there anything special that you’d like to do or see besides the typical routines? Any special interests about sites in the area that I could send you information about? I would love to see any pictures you have of earlier functions, incarnations, events, mysteries, etc.
John ‘Maddog’ Freyermuth
1st balta reunion1971

One Response to “Happy 40th Birthday to Balta, comments/photos”

  1. FOOL Says:

    Shaky Moore is full of grass–or has been smoking it!! When I “found” him a month or so ago, he had not heard of Balta–maybe that’s where his memory is from.

    The geraniums were “found” by yours truly in the flower box in front of the Colonel’s house. i remember replanting them.

    In what was the final match–I don’t think that Hannan and Rocky played–maybe they did–I couldn’t walk for a while after my “match” with MD because I think it was still in the first set when I went up for a lob and came down, forgetting to put my feet on the ground first–landed on my knees.

    PS—At the beginning of the match, Maddog had to be poulled from underneath the pup tent that was keeping the beer cool–or as much as it could be, anyway. John trailed a line of vomit as he was pulled out!

    If anyone remembers the aftermath in the gym–maybe I am wrong, but that was the exploding hot dog fight where Maus was hit with one at the top of the bleachers and put a five inch gash in his side as he fell against and broke one of the windows. He refused to go to the post doctor–note that I say “doctor” with as a small “m”—and stiched himself up!!

    Or maybe it was another time–or not.


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