Thursday, December 14, 2006

Zweibrucken High School

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I found a great site the other day with pictures of one of my High Schools. It brought back a lot of memories.

I was not in any of the pictures, and did not graduate with any of the particular senior classes shown, but I was at the High School during the years that the pictures were taken. 1987, 1988, 1989-90.

I was amazed by the hairdos, the clothes, and seeing folks that I saw in the hallways everyday. It was like looking through a time capsule from 50 years ago.....even though it hasn't been quite that long. I was just a Freshmen & Sophmore during that time.... And I graduated in the States.

I feel really old. Pictures: Page 1,..... Page 2,...... Page 3,...... Page4, .... Page 5, ........ More Pictures

Main Picture page

I wasn't crazy about being a DOD kid overseas.... there was never much to do. Then again, that probably ended up being a plus, because it left fewer opportunities to get into trouble.

The High School had about 800-1000 students, and was located on Zwiebrucken Air Force Base. It served Air Force kids and Army kids from 2 nearby Army facilities. I was an Army kid.... w/both parents serving. My father was a career soldier with almost 30 years of service.

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This Airbase held F-4 Phantom Reconnaissance jets- part of the 26th Tactical Recon Wing, and 38th Tactical Recon Squadron. These were usually 2 seater jets, with a pilot in front, and a technician in the back who operated high powered cameras located in the belly of the plane. This was at a time when the Cold War was still going strong....and these planes flew missions all over Europe. The base also held small transport planes. The base closed in the early 1990's, a year or two after I left. Old Photos of the F-4's from Zweibrucken Germany. Click here for more History and photos of this airbase.

Most of my time there was routine....except for the exercises and jet noise. The school was located right next to the airfield.... If you've never heard the engines of an can be deafening.

And the exercises.... When the sirens would scream.... we usually knew ahead of time when it was just a Cold War drill. But sometimes you didn't know.

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I would like to go and visit Europe again someday (although I hate air travel). Being a DOD kid is something that is hard to explain to people who are not familiar with the military family experience. It's a world all its own.

A movie/documentary was recently released about the experiences of DOD kids. The film is entitled Brats: Our Journey Home. Visit the official website for the film, which is only available on DVD.

Here is an interview with the filmmaker Donna Musil.

There is also a major museum being built for DOD children who went to school overseas.


See Clip of Documentary About Life For U.S. Military Children.

I was born in Europe and I lived in 6 different places growing up (including 2 countries). This had both good and bad aspects depending on how I look at the experience. But I most often think that it was more bad than good....because I never stayed in one place long enough to develop a good social network. All the moving was a pain....


Anonymous said...

I was recently in Zwei, you should go! What is holding you back?

Brian said...

Well, cost and time. But I definitely plan to do it whenever i'm able to.

Were you military, or just on a tour?

Anonymous said...

i was born in zweibrucken in 1990 my father was serving. i want to go back but i have to wait.

Anonymous said...

I was in high school at Zwei during that time too.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I was there. Class of '87. I recognized a number of folks in those pics. Michele Pino used to sit in front of me in Mr Pierce's English class. I'm really impressed with your writings! I'm hoping to attend the 21 yr reunion in July '08 (Vegas)...we'll see.

Anonymous said...

...and that's my brother (in your link, Page 4, the photo "McDreamers", front row, far right wearing the denim jacket). Class of '88. He didn't get to graduate with his class, though. I was the only one who did.

Anonymous said...

I graduated Zwei in 1983, the year the "new high school" was opened on the airbase. I appreciated seeing some of these pics as they brought back some memories, especially one poster's mention of Mr. Pierce (ha!). But note the following passage:

"I wasn't crazy about being a DOD kid overseas.... there was never much to do. Then again, that probably ended up being a plus, because it left fewer opportunities to get into trouble."

I could not disagree more with that statement. My family moved to the Zwei area from a county in central Virginia, which at that time was limited to one stoplight between a suburb of Richmond and the next "town" 50 miles away. Maybe I was used to making up my own fun, but when we moved to Germany suddenly I could go ANYWHERE by bus or train or bicycle, or just walking. When I read that the author thought there wasn't much to do, I felt sorry for them! I met many Germans who were more than eager to share their culture and country with me - we went on Volksmarches, to Fests, walked nature trails in local parks, "hung out" with German neighbors, shared music and movies and books (most spoke English better than some of my American friends) and tried to make the best of what turned out to be an enormous and enriching experience. I crave German food and beer to this day, as do the Americans with whom I attended high school and college at the University of Maryland at Munich.

As far as getting in trouble, yes, I got into my share, but they were situations that I could have just as easily accomplished in the States (e.g. "where were you out all night and why didn't you call me?" kinds of things). I suppose if you want to sit in housing or hang out at the DYA/AYA and act bored, hey, that's your choice, but that "cater to me" attitude is also evident in the comment about how you would like to go back to Germany but insinuate that the six hour or whatever flight is too big of a the cost of a week or more in one of the most beautiful and vital countries in the world.

Don't get me wrong - I did my stints as a summer hire, I spent time at the BI at the air base and the cafeteria at Kreuzberg doing nothing, or thumbing through magazines at the Stars and Stripes while the elderly lady who ran it sniped "Zis is not a library!" at me and my brothers. There's a lot that the DoD tries to do to provide after-school or after-work activities, and I enjoyed those as well. But to say "there wasn't much to do" is simply inaccurate.

Mark Simowitz 1977 said...

I enjoyed your article but I have to say I enjoyed my time at Zwei. I believe my experiences living in Germany and Japan made me a more rounded person. I had a VW bug and drove all over on the weekends. I especially loved winter as I went skiing quite often.

Chessie (Chesshirecat) said...

this was a good drift back to the past. I attended Zwei High in 70/71.

I had a really good time in that year. Would never trade my time as a brat for any other upbringing...

Anonymous said...

If anybody know how I can find monique or thelma please tell me

Anonymous said...

Very well stated anonymous. My father got transferred from Florida my senior year of HS and I was devastated to be headed to Zwei and leaving behind the beaches and friends.. Much to my surprise the experience of that one year was quite memorable. Would never turn back the clock.