Life at the Motor Pool Oberursel, Germany, in the 1950s

Jack Stites, a former U.S. Army soldier and now a retired police officer, was stationed in Oberursel at the Motorenfabrik (Motor Pool) from January 1954 to January 1955. Here are some more photos he shared with me.

The guys at work

Shaving cream fight

Vehicles parked near the Urselbach Creek

A description of a wrecker

In front of the Motor Pool Oberursel, with men working underneath the vehicle

Life at the Motor Pool Oberursel, Germany, in the 1950s

Jack Stites, a former U.S. Army soldier and now a retired police officer, was stationed in Oberursel at the Motorenfabrik (Motor Pool) from January 1954 to January 1955. These are some of the photos he shared with me.

Oberursel, Germany

Goofing around, the boys were having fun.

The shipping trunk served as a writing desk for home-bound letters.

Looks like this photo was taken in some park in Oberursel, where there are many.

Life at the Motor Pool in Oberursel, Germany in the 1950s

Jack Stites, a former U.S. Army soldier and now a retired police officer, was stationed in Oberursel at the Motorenfabrik (Motor Pool) from January 1954 to January 1955, and he loved every minute of his time there. Now, almost 60 years later, he is here to share some memories with us.

Jack Stites in 1954

Jack Stites in 1954

1)  In what ways was Oberursel different to the places you were previously stationed?

The difference between Oberursel and other stations was that it was very low key, and like a regular job. We got up in the morning, went to roll call and then to breakfast. After P.T. we were off to our assigned jobs.

We were a Direct Auto Support. We repaired vehicles from all over Germany. When a vehicle came that needed an engine, our mechanics took the engine out and put it in a crate, then put another one in the vehicle. We just replaced engines — not overhaulling them.

I had been to 14 weeks of wheel vehicle repair at Atlanta General Depot. Then to Red River Arsenal in Texarkana, where I packed wheel bearings in trucks, which really doesn’t need any schooling. Duh.

Then to Oberursel, finally! After arriving there, they discovered that I had been a truck driver in civilian life. They assigned me to a M62 wrecker, where I evacuated vehicles that were in need of repair and brought them back to our base.  14 weeks of schooling wasted. I never touched a wrench while there. My job was to take the engines in crates to different military bases where German civilians overhauled them. I was very fortunate because I saw a lot of Germany through my job.

2) What sort of interaction was there between the Motorenfabrik and Camp King?

The only interaction with Camp King was the Post Exchange (PX).  Camp King was a military intelligence center, and we were the grease balls from down the street.

3) What were your impressions of Germans and German culture? Did you have a favorite hangout in Oberursel?

As for the German culture, it was so interesting.  For example, I had never seen leather coats, knapsacks on the school kids, and reflectors on bicycles’ pedals. These are things that we have here now. It just goes to show how far behind we are.

In regards to hang outs – at $91.30 a month, there wasn’t much hanging around. This is where I learned  poverty is no crime. It’s just a helluva inconvenience. Across the street from our building, and about a block towards Camp King, there was a bar in the basement, and we used to go there for steak sandwiches and a beer. Not much, though. Poverty ruled.

4) Is there a particular memory that you would like to share?

There was an Enlisted Members (EM) club in town. The only time that I was there was during Fasching. Bad news!! There were four of us sitting at a little round table, drinking German white wine. When we couldn’t fit another bottle on the table — empty, that is — we decided to go home. Back at the camp, I crawled up the steps to the second floor. It wasn’t pretty.

The other place was in Bad Homburg, at the Texas bar. The funniest thing that happened was at the Texas bar. Claude Wiggins, a real redneck from the south, got drunk one night, then punched out a few of the windows in the bar, cutting a large slash in his wrist which could have been fatal. In front of the bar, he asked the owner how much he owed him, then paid him. It was quite a scare!!

5) How has the town changed from the way you remember it?

As far as if the town has changed? I really can’t say. My wife says it’s really built up! I wasn’t there to compare. My wife is the traveler.

Thanks so much, Jack, for sharing your story with us.