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SAT & BAF!: Memories of a Tower Rat Paperback – February 24, 2011
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DePew and his buddies were hard drinking, brawling, fraulein-chasing, pranksters who, when duty called, seriously guarded the warheads and missiles from Soviet and peacenick attacks. Men who bonded and always had each others back. I appreciated DePews' story and will keep the book on my shelf. ~Lee Boyland, Military Writer's Society of America
DePew is an engaging writer. His narrative in "SAT & BAF!: Memories of a Tower Rat" is fast-moving, filled with quick wit, genuinely honest and candid. ~~ Richard R. Blake for Reader Views
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Doug DePew's book is truly a snapshot in time, a journey into one of the most unique US Army infantry battalions that existed during the cold war era. 2d Bn 4th INF had been in Germany with it's parent unit, 56th Field Artillery (Pershing)for several decades (HQ was activated in Heilbronn in the early 60's). The replacement of the Pershing 1's with Pershing 2's began in the early 80's however. This was in response to Soviet deployment of the SS-20, a mobile nuke missle with a range of over 2,000 miles (The P1 had a range of 400). Although highly controversal, the deployment of the P2, combined with the Cruise missile are the weapon systems most credited with helping to hasten the end of both the Warsaw Pact and USSR.
Doug's book begins with his arrival at Frankfort, Germany late fall 1986. He is a freshly minted US Army Lightweapons Infantryman, MOS 11b, 18 y/o and straight out of Ft Benning. Although Doug probably saw himself riding about Germany on a M113 or maybe the just deploying Bradley IFV, the army, after careful screening has another mission for Doug and the 10-20 other screened 11b's arriving at Frankfort that week. Doug gets assigned to 2/4, an infantry battalion who's only mission is guarding the Pershing missiles. While Doug could have gone to Neu Ulm with the bulk of 2/4, he gets assigned to the seperate company, Charlie which operated a couple hours away in Heilbronn.
The book proceeds on his two year journey there, as another reviewer pointed out, written in a nice conversational tone. Doug puts you there as he meets his fellow 'cherries' (FNGs, new guys) hits the town for the first time, does his first site tour, the craziness that ensued after almost all site tours.Read more ›
He takes you with him to Germany and introduces you to his platoon, a family of new "brothers" while your mouth hangs open in shock at some of their shenanigans. Aligning himself with the perimeters of a serious mission, he manages to preserve his passion for fun, sex, relationships with beautiful German girls, booze banquets and insane ideas while off base. SAT&BAF is written in a flowing conversational manner. He exhibits a style of his own while he describes the years he spent in West Germany. He goes on to explain in detail his nightlife in the military and his responsibilities as a soldier commissioned to guard a nuclear storage station in a country where he was a foreigner. The menacing fight to keep himself alive while evolving from boy to man, his cohorts often risk that process with some ideas that could have cost him more than his luck had to give.
His experience during a time in American history few really know of will inform you and make you rethink the cold war.Read more ›
Got the book yesterday in the mail, thank you, and spent rest of the day reading it. I do have to say you pretty much nailed it. My "welcome to Germany" was even similar to yours! The mid-80s in Europe were a strange time period.
Some of the stuff you remembered blew my mind. I had practically forgot that my clearance/PRP took so because I had living relatives in then Yugoslavia. You captured the off site life very well. I do remember the infamous jungle juice party. It was rumored that someone even added rubbing alcohol to the mix.
Some might be taken back by the life we lived. We were young, stressed out, and resigned to die when the balloon went up. We were a priority target for a Soviet attack and knew it. We worked hard, played harder, and took care of our buddies. If you attacked one, you attacked us all (as Doug points out a few times) and we were going to let you know. We were not undisciplined mob as some may read it. We took our mission very seriously and did more to save a soldiers career (teaching, coaching, counseling, and CCF if needed) than any other unit I saw since.
I already ordered a copy that the rest of my family can read. My copy will be next to my other signed works by Mike Novosel, Hal Moore, David Hackworth, and Mark Bowden.
Congratulations Doug. You've recorded a piece of history that few ever knew existed or cared to consider.
Well done sir, well done.
First, even if you served in another unit or even another branch, Doug's writing style is such that anyone who's served would enjoy the sense of camaraderie and the "brotherhood" (or sisterhood) that shines through, and of course the real-life journey told as a story is just plain fun for people like us.
Next, for those who actually served at Waldheide during this time and who weren't blessed with the memory that Doug has (like me) this is so refreshing because it brings back to life things I'd forgotten and certainly emotions and feelings I'd long lost regarding that time in my life. Sure, I remember arriving in Germany as a newbie with no idea where I was going or what I'd be doing, I remember SAT & BAF and the early morning runs through the vineyards... but somehow over the years I'd lost a clear picture of that time.
I remembered my friends and the places, but not the details. I married a German and so we still go back to Heilbronn frequently to visit family and it's amazing how how much has changed, which makes it even more difficult to keep those old memories alive.
The sad thing is that there are so many people who served there, during that time, who would love to have this book but may never come across it, and that's a shame because for us it's almost like a journal we wished we'd kept.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book relived a lot of memories of the pubs and tests. I still think back to the great times.Published 6 months ago by dave
Like many, I had no idea what went on in Germany while the Cold War was in play - but now I know!
Doug DePew has an engaging style which is easy to read and to... Read more
A-lot of memories. We did do a lot of parting, however we did do a lot of high stress work as well, I don't think this book covers that part very well. Read morePublished 12 months ago by rickyoung60
I lived there during that time frame. Everyone was sure the world was doomed.
This account is right on - get the book.
If you ever stationed in Germany, this is a must read. No matter what your MOS was.Published 17 months ago by K. Olsen
Happy to read about the place where I lived and worked for three years during the same time as the author. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Badenerhof
Hilarious from its beginning, Doug's first book is an accurate description of the Cold War and the antics of soldiers in the US Army during this period. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Eric M. Vogt
absolutely must read,anybody that is familiar with the millitary should read this book.I had so many good laughs and memories reading this book!!Published 20 months ago by sunny MD USA