From July 1985 until July 1988, my family and I were stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. We truly hated to leave our home in Tampa,
but after it was all said in done, we were all truly grateful that Uncle Sam sent us to Europe. Looking back, it felt much like a three year paid European Vacation. I must admit that the on-duty time wasn’t the greatest in the world. After all, this was in the mid 1980s when the Berlin wall
was still up and the Soviets posed a real threat to Western Europe.
Ramstein at that time was in the middle of a conversion from F-4 fighters to F-16s, and as the Shop-Chief for the Aircraft
Electric Shop, I really had my hands full. Not only with the conversion to a
different aircraft, but maintaining mission readiness during this conversion was definitely a challenge. I must say though that as horrible as the duty was, the off
duty time surely made up for it all.
Ramstein was centrally located to many points of interest throughout Western Europe. Within just two hours, we could be in France,
Holland, Luxembourg or Belgium. We took advantage of the time off during these three years. My father (who served in Europe during WWII), and mother came to visit us during
the summer of 1986. During this time we traveled extensively throughout West
Germany, drove to Berlin, and visited Belgium,
Luxembourg and Paris. At other times during our three-year tour, we were fortunate enough to take short
vacations to London, Italy, Austria,
Switzerland, and Holland. There were very few weekends during this time that we didn’t just set out to
explore a different castle, castle ruin, go to a wine-fest or beer-fest, or just go Volksmarching through the countryside