Herzo Now

A September 1998 Visit to Herzoganaurach

By C.H. (Pick) Leibenguth, Jr. Lt.Col, Retired
   I am writing this letter from Herzoganaurach, where I am staying for about 6 weeks with my German friends, Fritz & Hilde Bock. Perhaps our members will remember Fritz as the leader of the Band that played annually at the Beer Fest from 1951 to 1971. Herzoganaurach looks about the same. But at the west end of town, on the main street. Puma built a modem headquarters building about 15 yrs ago, that does not blend with the Bavarian Style. Next to Puma & westward, the Weiler heavy lathe manufacturing co. & adjoining buildings have been demolished and the land cleared for a new Senior Housing & small-store complex. Herzo suburbs have  expanded dramatically. New bypasses have been constructed both north and south of the '-Altstadt." Cafe Mauser building is still here - now called the Piccadiliy. But. it's closed. The building is scheduled for demolition soon and apartments will be built in the near future. The "Vereinshaus" still operates under the management of my good friends, Bert & Traudi Stecker. Members may recall Bert as the manager of the Cafe Mauser for many years.

   Fritz & I drove slowly thru Herzo Base. It was a disappointment for me. Because there is not much left to help recall the good old days. Perhaps a few yrs ago, when the old buildings were still standing, there would have been some nostalgia, but not anymore. We drove thru the Main Gate. (I understand that the entrance, guard shack, hdqtrs building & Commanders house will be preserved as Historic Buildings.) The so-called Fishbowl housing on the left is now occupied by offices. Next, I saw the old brown building that housed the Barbershop, PX, Laundry. etc. Weeds are everywhere and tile building is a disaster. The Gym and bowling alley still stand. So does the EM club. The EM club is a furniture showroom and warehouse for Mobel Mauscr. Further on, to the left the hangers are being demolished - just a huge pile of rubble remains. Further down, to my surprise, the old operations building (circa 1958) was still standing but, occupied bv a warehouse. The Chapel building still stands. The NCO club is occupied by a Private School for children but then will soon be moved out. The Snack Bar has been demolished. Remaining buildings untouched so far are: The old BOQ and adjoining Video store, new BOQ (l958). the Medical Center, Officers Club and 4 Staff Officers quarters. The old Enlisted Mens quarters are being completely, renovated by Adidis for Offices (every one of them). I could not take a decent photo because of all the construction equipment surrounding the buildings. But they certainly do not look the same as we remember.

    Herzo Base, as we remember it is practically gone. The future tho, looks bright because Adidis has purchased or is in the process of purchasing the entire base from the City. I read in todays newspaper that plans have been proposed by Adidis to build a workers restaurant and fitness center. And a cafeteria to begin in November. This will require that 302 trees be cut down. A small lake (160m x 30m x 3.5m deep) will be dug directly in front of the Restaurant/cafeteria Terrace. The Golf Course has been improved and is owned bv Adidis and they plan to expand the course to 18 holes.

     Through a mutual friend, Burgermcister Lang invited me to his office for a 1-hour chat about old times. I was a 2nd Lt. here in 1958-59 and Commander of Herzo Base in 1969-70. I did not know him then. We talked about a possible re- union of Herzo Base Survivors during the Herzo Volksfest (July 1999 or 2000). I believe I read something in one of the newsletters about this idea. He was very receptive to the idea and said that any plans should be firm, at least six months prior to the reunion date. Friends have told me that the German folks in town would probably invite members to stay with them instead of Hotels, pensions. But that is conjecture on my part and on theirs.

     I took around 30 photos and I will be forwarding them by separate package. I hope you find them interesting. You may have them for historical purposes. I  will mail  this letter as soon as I return home.  About November 10th.

C.H. "Pick" Leibenguth  C.O. Herzo Base. 1969, 1970

Note: I for one found this letter very informative for all Herzo Vets regardless of the era in which we served at Herzo.  It is for that reason I asked for permission to post on my site in case others may just happen to stop by and ask " What happened to Herzo Base..?" now they know.
Reprinted with permission of  Carl Denecia, this letter was published in the Dec. 1998 The Herzo Survivor's .

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