United States Constabulary
Army of Occupation

Dan Daniel

     My name is Dan Daniel and I am from Chattanooga TN. I arrived in Schweinfurt, Germany in November in 1948 and was assigned to D Co. 2nd Battalion 14th A/C.  D Co was formally A Co of the 1st Constabulary Squadron. When I arrived there I was required to attend Constabulary Training for six weeks. It wasn't long however the Battalion was required to attend Tank Training School at Fritzlar. I became a tank driver and remained in that MOS until I was selected to attend Radio and Signal School and attend the EUCOM SIGNAL SCHOOL in Ansbach. I worked the Battalion and Regimental nets for the next two years.
     Sgt. John Bandy and I became good friends. He was also in radio school. I remember the day John and I were making Radio Check on the tanks in the motor pool after a day on the Range. It was a cold day and John climbed inside Sgt. Hemmie's tank. This particular tank had been worked on and a section of the fuel line had been left out without any notification of being out of service. John started up the engine and immediately this tank was on fire. John couldn't see the tank was on fire from being on the inside. I knew I had to get his attention. I dropped the scope down inside to him, almost on his lap and this got his attention. I told him the tank was on fire and he had to get out quick. I reached down into the tank and grabbed John, yanking him out as fast as I could. This all happened so fast. John wasn't hurt or burned.  We quickly started moving all the other tanks away from the burning tank saving them from the fire.
     The fire on Sgt. Hemmie's tank was huge. Everyone stood away 300 ft. or more from the burning tank because it was loaded with all it's ammo. The German fire department was called out and they knew not to get too close either. As the rounds of ammo continued to fire off inside the tank, everyone just watched. The tank would jump clear off the ground when the ammo exploded.
     It was in April of 1952 when I left the Constabulary.
     I would like to tell you more about John Bandy, my Constabulary friend. It was in Fritzlar 1949 when we met.  John is also the author of his first book “When Whippoorwills Call”.   As John stated in his book, which I found to be spellbinding, he enlisted on his brother's birth certificate at the age of 16 and came into D Co. We had a 1st Sgt. named Wamstead, a hell of a trooper and much a man in every way.  In John's book he mentioned two friends, Jack Akins and Robert McCracken. These guys were older and always in trouble. Seemingly John always ended up with the short end of the stick.  I knew John had siblings at home in deplorable conditions so I, after John had been busied and was on every dirty detail you could think of, convinced our Como. Sgt., Edward Opila to give John a chance at Radio School where he excelled. John was finally in his element. John made a career of the Army and retired as Sergeant Major.
By Trooper Dan Daniel

Sgt. Maj. John Bandy

Dan {Sonny} Daniel
Salzburg, Germany

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Posted May 5, 2010