Ron Smillie Biography
I'm on the guest book, entry 1000132. I have changed my email address again. It should now read - firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, my phone number should read 702-743-7497.
My name is Ron Smillie and I was stationed in Zwei from May 61 to May 64. I had some great memories from those years and managed to stay in touch Ray Sharpe who passed away in February 2005 and Fred Mattea who lives in Illinois. I see Fred about once a year and we get to share stories and maybe a few lies when we get together. I have recently got in touch with Gary Dunlap who now lives near Dallas, TX. I found his email address on this web site. He said he still talks with many guy that we were stationed with. He sent me an email a couple days ago about Sgt Johnny Jones. He lives in Florida and about a month ago (Jul 09) he fell off his roof while replacing shingles. He got banged up pretty good and is still on the mend. While in the 01st, I started working in Col Brady's office with Sgt H.T. Jackson and Lucas Tate. I remained there until I left in May 64 to be assigned to the 6921st Security Wing in Misawa Japan.
I often wonder what ever happened to Jackson and Tate. There's nothing on the web site about them. If anyone know where they might be, I'd like to know. Another guy I think about is Pat Mulvey. He was an AP. I lived in the same bay in the barracks with the "P's". What a crazy bunch of guys they were. Unfortunately, I can't remember many names but would like to hear from any of them if they are out there. I know I could put a face with a name. One other guy I have tried to find is Dick Hawk. We were both from Michigan and our "Sweethearts" came down to Texas on a bus to visit before leaving for Germany. I'm currently living in Boulder City, NV, just outside of Vegas near Hoover Dam. My wife Beth and I moved here in 1998.
I was a structural iron worker after coming home from Japan. I worked in the Detroit area for about 13 years before have my knee reconstructed. That put an end to that career. I went back to school for two years and went to work with Digital Equipment Corp. I fixed computers for about two years when they figured out I was not very good at that so they made me a boss. I did run across a "Zwei Alum" Rodney Dollar who also worked with DEC. I just found his email address on the site. Over the years, Compaq bought out DEC and finally Hewlett Packard bought Compaq. I retired from HP in June 02 after 20 years while managing to get both my Bachelors and Masters degrees in business on their dime.
Would love to hear from any old friends from Zwei. My email address is - email@example.com and my phone number is 702-743-7497. Thanks for the memories... Ron Smillie
I have about 14 pictures from Sunny Zwei from a period of May 61 - May 64. I will send you a few at a time. Unfortunately, with passing of time and no documentation on the back of the photos, I can't remember most names. I worked in the 6901st Operations office and most guys in the photos were 6901st Air Police. Some of the people that worked in my office were : The enlisted airmen were SSgt H.T. Jackson and A1C Lucus Tate. Some of the officers were: Lt Col Tom Brady, Lt Col Don Wanty (sp?) and Lt Col Gene Boillitot (sp?). There are two more officers whose names escape me. Maybe I'll think of them later.
As a side note, most people thought Smillie was a nick name. I was almost always introduced as "Smillie" or "Smiles" so I know there were many who were not sure what my "real" name was.
Explanation of the attached photos:
Photo 1 Smillie picking out his ride from Amarillo, TX to Zweibrucken March 61.
Photo 2 Ron Smillie and Dick........ Dick and I were both from Michigan and went to tech school together in Amarillo, Tex. We were among 7 out of our class, April, 1961 class of 702's that went to Zwei.
Photo 3 (John, Ron ............) Both of the other guys were AP's. I can't remember John's last name or fill name of the other
Photo 4 Soft ball team. The MACHINES Group was the computer guys. The whole group in the team photo, except for me, worked in the group.
Photo 5 - ( Pat Mulvey.............) Not sure of the date when this photo was taken. Pat was in Zwei for about 2 years when I was there. He was an AP and was from California.
Photo 6 -
Photo 7 - The "building" probably around 1961 -62. This was bombed out building in the center of town. I think it was the city hall. I've heard there were at least one bombed out building in each German town and a reminder. I'm not sure if they still remain. I rather doubt it. I also remember seeing bullet holes in some of the existing buildings in town. That was pretty common then.
PHOTO 8 Holland - Germany Border. This was a trip taken to Amsterdam, Holland with three AP's in March 1962.
PHOTO 9 I'm pretty sure this was taken in Zwei. Not sure of the date.
PHOTO 10 Entrance to the Rosengarden. The bridge crossed to get in the garden,
PHOTO 12 (Ron Smillie, his mom ...............) My mom came over to Germany for two weeks during the time President Kennedy was standing up to the Russians and Cubans. Before leaving Zwei to start our vacation, some of my Canadian friends, from the air base across the valley, had a party for us. I heard a couple of years ago that the base was now an American air base.
While she was there, we traveled to Rome, Naples and Florence. The hi-lite of the trip was my mother's brother had been killed during WWII. and was buried in a small town in Italy. She wanted to know, if we had time, could we try to find him. I made it a point to make sure we had time. When we went to that town we only found a British cemetery. I could see the look of disappointment as we walked through and read the headstones only to realize there were no Americans buried there. From there we proceeded to Rome. By a stroke of luck, I ran into another servicemen who said he knew of a large American cemetery in Florence.
It was way out of our way and we were running out of vacation time, but after seeing the disappointment on her face, I decided we were going to Florence even without knowing if he was buried there or not. HE WAS THERE and my mom and I were the first in her family to visit his grave. We took many pictures for her to bring home for the family. What an impressive place to see. At the time, I didn't know that no matter in which direction you looked, the crosses lined up. The grounds were absolutely beautiful and so very well kept. There are over 4000 military personnel buried there.
It turned out that his body had been moved to the larger cemetery a couple of years after he died. His wife was notified of the move but never told the family. He was in the 10th Mounted Division Ski Patrol and was killed in action on 17 April 1945, just weeks before the war's end.