From Ron Chiste in 2005:
6th Bn, 40th Field Artillery, 3AD
In July, 1970 I arrived to my first permanent duty station
in Hanau, West Germany, 6/40 Field Artillery (8" self-propelled
howitzers - nuclear capable), after graduating from Artillery
OCS and Paratrooper School. One of the unannounced monthly events
to which we became accustomed were the surprise alerts during
which we had to follow very detailed loading plans and move the
entire battalion to an alert position to await further orders.
It was a test of our speed and efficiency in preparing the battalion
to move to its war position if "the balloon went up."
I had enlisted in the army at the age of 25 and had a bit
of life experience under my belt, so I suppose I wasn't the typical
unquestioning new lieutenant. At least once a year the battalion
received a secret briefing from a general and his staff regarding
war plans for the respective battalions. The briefing was referred
to as the EDP (Emergency Deployment Position) Briefing and was
held on the kaserne in a large room with armed guards posted
and windows blackened. Plans for the transport and possible use
of our nuclear rounds, of course, would be part of the discussion.
I was in awe attending my first briefing and listened intently
as the general described the little amount of time the battalion
would have to get to its position from the time it got the alert.
In the time he gave us it would have been impossible to load
all TO&E equipment and get to the position within or adjacent
the Fulda Gap.
At the end of the briefing the general asked if there were
any questions. I raised my hand to the utter disbelief of all
the more senior officers in the room. I was a bit naive about
the protocol at this point in my career. I was acknowledged and
asked the question about the time he was allowing us. His response
was amazing to us all, "You will not be taking tents, field
kitchens, or anything like that with you. C and B Batteries will
be racing across the Fulda River and A battery will be held in
And even more sobering was the general's next comment, which
probably no one at that briefing has ever forgotten, "We
don't expect C and B to come back."
There were no more questions and when we left the briefing
the joke became, "How do we transfer to A Battery?"
I think at that point we all gained a new sense of seriousness
about our role in preventing the Soviet block from rolling across
the East German and Czech borders to occupy Western Europe.