62nd Highway Patrol (MP)
 Germany      1948 - 1958

Stories of the Highway Patrol

 


THE NIGHT WE HAD NO SEDANS

    
by  Lawson Stevens

 

 

 

 

One of the many benefits of being in the 62nd Highway Patrol was driving sedans, unlike the Military Police who drove only jeeps. At the time though, I didn't appreciate our good fortune- until one day, our three sedans at the Bamberg Sub-Station were dead-lined. It meant we would have to borrow an MP jeep from the Post Motor Pool for emergency situations.

 

Driving a jeep was not a problem, as I had sufficient training during MP School at Fort Baker, California. There, we were exposed to driving them in different kinds of terrain, where we learned to engage and disengage the four wheel drive system in plenty of mud. So, it might have been fun to drive one again, except for the circumstances.

 

My partner and I were on a twenty-four hour shift in uniform, on standby that day, in case we were required by the desk sergeant. to respond to an incident out of town. It was also mid-winter and extremely cold, so we hoped it would be a quiet shift. It was, until around 1800 hours, when we were called to investigate an accident some thirty kilometers outside of Bamberg, on one of the secondary roads.

 

The road and weather condition could not have been worse. That night. it was bitterly cold, with a freezing fog that reduced visibility, and coated the world with a film of white. Even though the jeep had a canvas top, it was frigid inside. If there was a heater, and I don't remember, it was completely inadequate for the job. The windshield wipers barely kept the windshield clear of the fog on the outside, and we had to keep' rubbing inside to clear our breath from freezing. Even with our field jackets on we were numbed by the cold, and it took the best part of an hour to get to the accident scene.

 

As it happened, it was a single vehicle accident involving an off duty military person in his own POV. It had left the road and was badly damaged; the driver had long been transported to a hospital, and there were no German Police at the scene. There was little we could do at that point, although we spent some time at the accident site to complete what we could of an accident report, we then returned to Bamberg. The details of the accident have long receded from my mind; the one great memory is the two or more hours of bone numbing cold, and the discomfort of our drive in the jeep.

 

When we returned to post, our immediate priority was to get warm, and we headed to the snack bar for hot coffee and a meal. As we slowly thawed out, we were thankful our experience was over, and felt a great degree of sympathy for our MP brothers who had to put up with the discomfort of the jeep every day. Fortunately, that was the only time all of our sedans were dead-lined at one time during my whole tour of duty!

 

 

 


This story previously appeared in Volume # 9, Issue # 1, January-February-March 2006 edition of "The White Mice"


 

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