My Personal Visit to the Former East Berlin

By
Real Estate Agent with Hawaii Military Realty, Inc.

Twenty three years ago, I had a position set up in the "Fulda Gap" in West Germany to emplace my M109A3, 155MM Self Propelled Cannon capable of firing a 100 pound high explosive, rocket assisted projectile, approximately 18 miles.  Positions were well documented where my .50 Caliber HB M2 Machine Guns would be placed.  A diagram was drawn to let my Soldiers know what their left and right limits were so as to not shoot any friendly troops and insure interlocking fields of fire with the other howitzers to our left and right flanks.  I had an Air Defense plan in the event that we would get attacked by air from the East German HIND-D helicopters or the fast moving MIG aircraft.

 

That was then.......

Today, we celebrate the fact that we do not live in a world like that in Germany.  The country has become one and the city of Berlin is no longer divided by the wall. 

I like it better the way it is now. 

Sharing some pictures of my visit to East Berlin in 1985.  Under the "Status of Forces Agreement" or SOFA, we as American Soldiers were free to cross the border into East Berlin after providing a stack of paperwork and checking in at Checkpoint Charlie which was manned by American Forces on the West Berlin side.  I was fortunate enough to visit the divided city on several occassions and was even able to take my parents and sister there when they visited me in Germany.

1.  Allied Checkpoint Charlie on the West Berlin side

2.  Looking at Checkpoint Charlie from the East Berlin Side.

3.  Brandenburg Gate can be seen on the other side of this building.  This view was taken from the East Berlin side.   

4.  This was the "Changing of the Guards" for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  My fellow Army buddies and myself took turns posing next to these East German Soldiers that we could possibly be facing in war the very next day.  When we were positioning for the "best photo", the Soldiers intentionally tried to exaggerate their "Duck Walk" and kick us. 

5.  This is the East Berlin side of Checkpoint Charlie.  When i took my parents through here, they were taken into rooms and searched.  They were only allowed to have a certain amount of money with them and were given a 1 for 1 exachange between East and West German Deutsch Marks.  It was a total rip off because the value of the East German Mark was terrible compared to the thriving West German Mark.  Because of the SOFA, I bought everything that they wanted and carried it back across the border without being checked.  They had to go back through the chekcpoint on the East Berlin side and show receipts for whatever they purchased and were only allowed to purchase a certain amount or any overage would be confiscated.

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Rainmaker
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Michael A. Caruso
Surterre Properties - Laguna Niguel, CA

David,

Cannot believe that its been 20 years today since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Great moment in history.

Michael

Nov 09, 2009 06:36 AM #1
Rainmaker
292,476
Robin Rogers
Robin Rogers, Silverbridge Realty, San Antonio, Texas - San Antonio, TX
CRS, TRC, MRP - Real Estate Investment Adviser

Thanks for commemorating this anniversary with your photos, David! Hopefully soon, all the walls will come down and we'll have peace everywhere.

Nov 10, 2009 01:10 AM #2
Rainmaker
161,453
1SG (Ret.) David Kucic
Hawaii Military Realty, Inc. - Ewa Beach, HI
President and Owner

Michael....me neither.  That 20 years went by very quickly.  It seemed like just yesterday when the wall came down and all the East German Trabants (their cars) were filling up the roads an clogging up the autobahns in West Germany.  Aloha!

Nov 10, 2009 02:57 AM #3
Rainmaker
161,453
1SG (Ret.) David Kucic
Hawaii Military Realty, Inc. - Ewa Beach, HI
President and Owner

Robin.....I agree.  If only it was possible......maybe someday.  Aloha!

Nov 10, 2009 02:57 AM #4
Rainmaker
312,275
John Occhi
Mason Real Estate - Temecula, CA
SRES,CPRES.ePRO - Temecula-Murrieta CA Real Estate

ahhhh, the memories from another 'Cold War Warrior'...I spent 6 years in Europe from '74 to '80 - I remember it well.

Nov 12, 2009 08:20 PM #5
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1SG (Ret.) David Kucic

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