Monday, May 7, 2007

Finding Katterbach, Germany

When U. S. Army Chaplain David Waweru and his wife, Chaplain Christine Waweru, learned that they both had orders to detach from duty at Fort Hood in Kileen, Texas and report for chaplain service in Katterbach, Germany, they immediately began trying without success to find the town on a map of Germany.

They asked Army friends at Fort Hood, many of whom had been stationed in Germany, but no one knew Katterbach. Christine and David then began to really wonder about this mysterious garrison that no one seemed to have heard about.

Alas they bumped into a Lieutenant Colonel and his wife who had just returned to Texas from duty at Katterbach. This fine officer and his spouse excitingly assured the Wawerus that they were in for a wonderful place to live and serve. The LTC's spouse followed up with phone calls to Christine in which she provided helpful contacts in and around Katterbach and other information about their soon-to-be "home town" for three years.

Katterbach is located in Bavaria. The nearest somewhat-large city is Nurmberg -- site of the post WWII Holacaust trials. Katterbach is a small town very near the old and interesting small city of Ansbach. I drove the five-hour trip from Ramstein/Landstuhl on Saturday, May 5 to visit with the Wawerus at chapel on Sunday and to make chaplain rounds with them on Monday.

My compact visit included participating with the Wawerus in the Katterbach Chapel Liturgical (Episcopal Rite) Holy Eucharist where David and Christine are co-pastors. Their two fun-loving, spiritually-maturing sons, Baraka (17) and Imani (13), also serve faithfully in the chapel life. Baraka takes his turn as an usher and as a scripture reader; Imani plays percussion (gently, rhythemically playing the drums) and he substitutes as pianist when the regular keyboard person is away.

The Sunday afternoon Episcopal chapel-community lunch at the home of newly commissioned lay Worship Leader, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Crogan, and his wife Jackie; my Monday separate chaplain rounds with Christine then with David; and the Monday evening dinner-out with the Waweru family -- all allowed me see something of how this dedicated, faithful, happy family is making a positive difference in this relatively small military garrison community.

The Waweru chaplains along with their gifted, smart and athletic sons, have indeed found Katterbach, and as a result, Katterbach is a good deal better place to live and serve. They are gently, good-naturally and faithfully serviving God, the Episcopal Church and the U.S. peace makers/keepers and their families stationed here. Thanks be to God.


Chap said...

Wonderful article. God bless the the Waweru's as they minister in the Ansbach milcom.

I have wonderful memories of having served in the area and having supported services at Katterbach Chapel (and Barton Chapel) until 92 as a Chaplain Assistant. It is indeed a beautiful area.

PS "Stinky's" in Katterbach had the largest schnizels and Cordon Bleu...mmmmm...I am gaining weight just thinking about it.


John said...

I was there from Aug 1987 thru Feb 1990 - loved this place. I was a CIV working for the 501st MI Bn, S-2. Great memories, met some good people who I still keep in touch with. Not too far away, Weissenburg - cool place to visit - interesting history, too. Can't forget about the Army totalling my 1986 ASC McLaren Mercury Capri Limited Edition #113/500 on January 25, 1988 in Burgoberbach! They paid dearly!

Robert said...

I was stationed at Katterbach Dco. 501st from late 1979-1982. I was married in the chapel in 1980, my name is Robert Bergold and my wife of almost 28 years is Lisa.We had our honeymoon in Garmish. How's that for a fairy tale. Maybe you could find some records from that period.


mike said...

I was stationed at Katterbach in 1970. 1/37 armor. I was a cook. Great times. Out in the woods at 39J guarding some storage bunkers. Qualifications at and lambrusco..the e-club in the basement. the stone buildings and great arches...air cav across the street...been a long time since I thought of this stuff...thanks


Russell said...

I served at Katterbach,1969 thru 1972. D Troop 2/4 Air Cav was my unit.I was a mechanic at the motor pool.I have many good memories of those days.I remember going to Ansbach with my buddies to have a beer or to see a show or just to walk around.It's been 38 years now and those memories are still clear in my mind.I wish I could see some of those guys again.Time has sure gone by.

ken crawford said...

Yes. very nice artical.
remembering 40 years ago that we were the first troops to move into Katterbach from down town Ansbach. D-Troop /what memories. God Bless all that I served with and hoping you are all healthy and doing fine.Ret.Msg. Ken Crawford. Milwaukie, Oregon.

Patty said...

Hi. I was stationed at Katterbach with C. Co (?) 501 MI Bn. I worked at the motor pool under CW2 Oscar Pinkston and MSG Robert Freund. I wish I could remember the names of the men and women I worked with..I should have written their names in a book. I was the PLL clerk there at the motor pool. My name then was Patricia Hinson. Maybe someone will come across this and remember me and post something. I can only hope they do. I wish I could still be there, loved the place, the people, the food. If they'd have let me stay, I think I would have stayed in for 40 years..LOL

ken crawford said...

Patty, I did not see the dates you were in Katterbach,
I was there from 1968 till 1971.

mike said...

I had a great time when I was at Katterbach 70-71. 1st Batallion 37th Armor. I was a cook in HQ company in that huge modern kitchen. Trips to Graph and 39J, Alerts, I wish I appreciated the whole thing a little more than I did. That's what happens when you're 17 and were too young to go to 'Nam.

Lucky I Was,

Mike Johnson
from St. Paul Mn. at the time, living in San Diego for the last 40 years.

Patty Gonzales said...

I also worked under CW2 Oscar Pinkston and MSG Freund. I was in HHC 501st at Katterbach from Dec. 79 to Feb. 83. I was their PLL Clerk in the Motor Pool. Chief Pinkston and SSG Freund were the BEST people to work for. I can hardly remember anybody's names aside from them. I lived with Earl Rancifer, and had my son Earl Jr. in Nuremberg Dec. 80. Damn I wish I had some names to look up. Specialist Moreno, female, and a guy who's last name was Henry, another mech. ohh duh..My name at that time was Spec. 4 Patricia Hinson. It is Patricia Gonzales now. Sure hope someone will write me and tell me some more names. My email is Miss those days...they were fun.