The Furth Park Caper
The Furth Park Caper
By Chuck RitenouR
In 1972, I was a member of an army artillery battalion, 3RD of the 37th an eight inch self propelled howitzer battalion. I was stationed at Herzo Base located in Herzogenaurach, Germany just 19 kilometers from Furth, Germany. I was a special weapons assembler for C Company. Special weapons is a unit with very high security clearance(that's all I can say about that). Our squad shared a large loft room with the base MPs(military police).
My section chief was Mark Larue. Mark was about thirty years old and was an E-6 sargent. He had a drinking problem and on occasion was a bed wetter. After a few months of this, several members of the MPs as well as several members of the Special Weapons unit myself included decided to take action.
It was a Monday morning about 2 AM. Mark had stumbled into our room, fell on his bunk and passed out. It wasn't long until the stench of fresh urine permeated the room. Mark didn't move as we undressed him down to his army issue boxer shorts. We put him in his bed and tightened the sheets and blanket under the matress so he couldn't fall out of bed. Four of the stronger MPs carried Mark and his bunk down the steps and past the private who was our CQ (charge of quarters) for the night. The CQ didn't even look up from his book he was reading.
While the MPs were moving the drunk in the bunk, I was busy stealing a duce and a half (2 1/2 ton truck) from our motor pool. I pulled up in front of our barracks. The MPs lifted Mark and his bunk into the back of the truck and jumped in with him. They pulled down the flap so they couldn't be seen. In ten minutes, we were at the front gate. The MPs at the gate waved us on through. They were roomates and also in on this caper. It was now 3 o'clock in the morning. There was no traffic on the back road from Herzo Base to Furth. Furth was a small city. In the center, there was a beautiful park with a huge fountain.
I shut the truck off right beside the park and began praying the Polizei (German Police) did not show up. Two MPs jumped out the truck while two others handed down the bunk with Mark still unconscious. Then the four of them placed the bunk right beside the fountain and ran back to the truck. The drizzle was getting heavier. I cranked up the truck and we left Mark and his bunk at the park. I could hear the laughter coming from the back all the way back to the base.
After returning the "borrowed" vehicle to the motor pool, I joined my comrades in our room. There was no sleeping that night only laughter and telling and retelling our parts in the caper to those who had stayed behind.
At 6 o'clock that morning, we gathered at the mess hall for breakfast. It was raining hard now and Mark was still MIA (missing in action). At 8 AM, we were standing at attention in front of the barracks for roll call when a black Mersades taxi pulled up.
Mark jumped out of the taxi in his boxer shorts looking like a drowned rat. He ran passed the formation and into the barracks. He returned in a few minutes in full fatigue uniform and paid the driver. Then he took his place at the head of our section.
No one laughed nor even acted as if anything was out of the ordinary. Our Battery Commander, Captain Leatham was staring at Larue, but said nothing. As it was raining, he dismissed the battery immediately after the roll was taken.
A few days later, Mark Larue asked for and was granted a tranfer to the 3RD of the 33RD which was station in Ausburg. I never saw him again, but I never will forget him nor our Furth park caper.