Army Brat in Europe


1965 - 1968
In 1963, while living in Mulvane, Kansas (a suburb of Wichita) Boeing had a huge layoff which displaced both my mother and my father. As a result, my father re-enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 1st Infantry in Ft. Riley, Kansas. We moved to Manhattan, Kansas a short distance away from the base. My father transferred to the Army band under a commander named Fluell just before the "Big Red One" infantry was shipped to Viet Nam.
At the end of the school year in May 64, my mother moved me back to Wichita where we remained for another year while I attended 3rd grade.

June 1965, my parents & I drove to New York City where we boarded a ship to Europe. The "USNS Darby" sailed from NYC to Bremerhaven Germany, with a brief stop over in South Hampton England. I had my 9th birthday while enroute.

Our first home in Europe was in Etain, France. We were assigned to live in Air Force housing in Etain, while my father commuted to work at Verdun, France, a short distance away. We lived in Etain for the duration of the entire school year which I attended the 4th grade. My sister's husband had been transferred to France the year before and lived in a french village near the town of Nancy, France.

In May 1966, we were transferred again. This time we moved to Orleans, France to the Ruelle military housing area. I attended the 5th grade at "Foret". This was an enormous school, two stories high with over 6 wings on each side plus additional buildings in the back. All grades were in this one school.

Around November of 1966, there was a large exodus of Americans from France and we were transferred again. This time to Worms, Germany. We would be living here for 1 1/2 years. I attended the remainder of 5th grade and all of 6th grade in Worms Elementary School. My teacher for both grades was Mr Lavato, who was to be one of the best teachers I ever would have. With the sudden wave of new students coming from France, the teachers had to double up and my 5th grade class was combined with the 6th. However, that only lasted for the remainder of the school year and our 6th grade class was not split the following year.

I will always remember that Mr Lavato had the foresight to teach us base math which was the Binary, Octal and Hexadecimal systems we use for computers today. He traveled the world during his summer vacations and brought us hundreds of slides and world wide stories when he returned the following school year. I learned a life time of knowledge in his class.

We were transferred to El Paso TX in June 1968. We boarded a ship at Bremen Germany and sailed to New Orleans on a merchant marine ship The "John" Lykes Line. I attended 7th grade at Ft Bliss until November. I remember Mr Brooks was an excellent science teacher there.

In November 1968, my father was transferred to Quarry Heights in the Panama Canal Zone. My Mother and I moved in with her foster mother, Cora Gelvin, in Ponca City, OK until the end of my 7th grade school year. May 1969 we moved to Cocoli in the Panama Canal Zone. In September 1970, we moved to Ft Kobbe, also in the Canal Zone. My father Bill England, was sent to Viet Nam in March 1971.
In June 1971 we returned to the US.