We all shared the top floor of the hospital squadron barracks for a couple of years. We had it made. The barracks was right across the street from the hospital, the hospital was at the very edge of the base, and we were next door to a bar and grill. It was kind of a never-ending party up on the third floor, and we called it the orphanage. I don't know how we got away with all the stuff we did, but hospital squadron was "different".
Birdman got his name by jumping out of the third floor window of his barracks room, into the mud, on the night he arrived in Bitburg. He survived without a scratch. It was the custom to take new arrivals directly to the bar next to the barracks, "Harkies" and have them drink one of everything, including the flower liquor that was under the counter. When I arrived, I was met on the steps and whisked away to Harkies, and nearly ended up throwing my new room mate out the window before being subdued.
Anyway, we got caught up on each other's lives and shared some old memories. It was great. He ended up staying in the Air Force and retired after 20 years, then went to nursing school. He has 10 grandkids!
You can see a tattoo on his left arm. It is supposed to be a woman riding a dragon, but it looks like a squid. If you want to see what it was supposed to look like, google the Jefferson Starship album "Spitfire". I was supposed to go with him that night and get a tattoo of my own, but I passed out before they left.
This is Birdman (with the cigarette and beer) and our mutual friend Chuck, after a night of mayhem when we pulled the fire klaxon off the wall and left it hanging with the sign, lettered by me, that read, "I can't hang". We thought that was the funniest thing ever. The first sergeant didn't find it funny, though, and shortly thereafter the orphanage was put on lockdown.
It was good to see my old friend after all these years. We will try and keep in touch. It's interesting, when I first saw him I recognized him, but I really recognized him after we sat down across from each other and I looked in his eyes. The eyes never change.