Excerpts from Gen. Colin Powell's autobiography
about the terrorist threat in Germany.
||From "My American Journey" (published
in 1995), dealing with his assignment as V Corps commander in
Frankfurt in 1986, prior to his transfer to the White House under
About stateside preparation for V Corps, Powell wrote:
"Because of the terrorist threat in Germany in those days,
we both [he and his wife] had to take a course called Defensive
Driving, at a stock-car track in West Virginia. They had us barreling
around the track taking curves at eighty-five miles an hour,
practicing how to elude terrorists. We were taught how to spin
the car around at breakneck speed and wind up going in the opposite
direction, like a Mafia getaway driver. The final test involved
ramming a car blocking a road. You had to hit it just right to
knock it out of the way without destroying your own car or killing
About his personal security as commander, he wrote:
"Admittedly, security was a problem. Terrorists had bombed
the Frankfurt PX some months before my arrival ... I had an armor-plated
white 380 SE Mercedes."
"Our house resembled a checkpoint at a hostile border crossing.
It was eight miles from my office in a suburb called Bad Vilbel
[three miles from 3rd Armored Division Headquarters at Drake
Kaserne] and consisted of two cramped stories served by one orderly.
One bathroom had been converted into an armor-plated sanctuary
in which we were to lock ourselves until rescued in case of a
terrorist attack. The house was encircled by barbed wire, and
in front stood a guardhouse with one-way glass from which MPs
scanned our residence twenty-four hours a day. Home sweet home."
About a commander's need to take a break, he wrote:
"Soon after my arrival, I bought an almost new BMW 728 ...
My idea of fun was to come roaring out of the garage at Bad Vilbel
like Batman and have the BMW up to 105 miles an hour on the autobahn
before my guards could figure out what had happened."