Christmas on the West German Border

By | December 25, 2019

[December 25, 2019]   December 1975 saw my U.S. Army company on the Inner German border.  Our job was to repel a Communist attack into the West if it were to come.  On Christmas Day of that year, we were on high alert and ready with a full load of ammunition, fuel, food, and all the necessary equipment to carry on a fight for at least three days.  It was cold, wet, and miserable.

It is essential for all those who live in a free country to remember why this wall was built.  Ostensibly built as an obstacle to NATO troops invading the “glorious homeland” of East Germany, it was, in truth, constructed to stop large-scale emigration of East German citizens to the West.  This wall was a physical manifestation of Sir Winston Churchill’s metaphorical Iron Curtain that separated the capitalist and socialist economic systems.

Our commander told us that the border wall built by the East Germans was not to prevent us from attacking but to prevent them from leaving.  For example, the tank traps were oriented in such a way that a tank traveling from East to West (its crew trying to escape) would be stopped but those going the other direction from West to East (attacking) could roll over it quickly.  There was no wall, anti-tank ditches, minefields, etc. constructed by the West Germans or allies.

That is why we were there.  If an attack was to occur, and it was more likely to happen on an important holiday like Christmas, we were there to be a tripwire for the Allied effort.  Given the little equipment we had and the fact we were spread thin, no concentrated attack by the Soviet-bloc troops would be stopped for several days.

Sitting in our fighting positions on the border that Christmas day, we opened a few presents from relatives, had a hot meal for the first time in a week, and tried to stay warm.  I remember no one complaining about being there.  We knew our mission was necessary for a free Europe.  It was not that we were “free,” so to speak, but that the Communist system was so repressive.  We could see behind the wall and found the landscape gray and dull.

 “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”  – Winston Churchill

This time of year is the holiday season, and I would also like to extend my hand in friendship to everyone, everywhere that I’ve had the privilege to live and worship.  My special Jewish friends are now celebrating Hanukkah and they too are in my prayers.  Merry Christmas to all.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Christmas on the West German Border

  1. Mikka Solarno

    Thank you Gen. Satterfield for a well-written piece for Christmas. I certainly had a wonderful day with my family and I hope everyone here in this forum did the same.

  2. Willie Shrumburger

    A great quote by Winston Churchill. He was a great man that fully understood socialism (and its variants like communism). He knew that socialism was not a panacea for Britain and never would be. Later, under PM Margaret Thatcher, Britain again avoided a bullet-to-the-head by adopting socialism. But alas, socialism was adopted and despite its rightward drift, the negative effects of it has had a tremendous negative influence on its people today.

    1. Len Jakosky

      Right, just like America when almost half of the population gets handouts for free. And they want more and more to the point they demonize those who work for a living in legit jobs, who go to church, and those who just want to be normal citizens and good for their communities.

    2. Doc Blackshear

      Correct. Here is an idiotic quote from commie Bernie Sanders. “To me, democratic socialism means democracy. It means creating a government that represents all of us, not just the wealthiest people in the country.” I guess that Bernie doesn’t realize one man one vote is the law of the land. Because you’re rich doesn’t mean you get to vote more (unless you are a dead Democrat and you can vote all you want).

  3. Kenny Foster

    “How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.” Ronald Reagan quote.

    1. Jonathan B.

      One of the greatest men ever that represented freedom in the world. He understood. Most of the college snowflakes not only don’t understand but would be willing to give up their freedom for something really small like forgiveness of a college loan. How pathetic.

      1. Greg Heyman

        Yes and no surprise that is the case given his track record up to that point. Merry Christmas everyone.

    2. Tom Bushmaster

      A great man, Pres Ronald Reagan. Just go get any quote from him. The man made good sense.

  4. Deplorable John

    Let’s not fall for the “democratic socialists” in the United States who promise us everything, compassion for all, and equality in every aspect of life. That can happen. But, like in the Soviet Union and China it took the killing of tens of millions – oh, and they still haven’t got the paradise they promised.

    1. old warrior

      Bernie Sanders and his idiot democratic friend from NYC, Alexandria Cortez can shove it when it comes to that communist $hit. They are really about taking away my freedom because they want the POWER and screw everyone else. Oh, Merry Christmas!!!

  5. Eric Coda

    Christmas morning here! The kids are still sleeping and my cousins are getting breakfast ready. This is what family is all about. The fact that there are rough people (our military) who stand prepared to defend us is an awesome circumstance. They deserve all the honors they can get.

    1. The Kid 1945

      Great comment, Eric. Yes, that is why I always thank our military members for their service …. and I mean it.

    2. Dennis Mathes

      This is family. And, this is freedom too. Freedom to have free will, to worship where you want or not, and to go where you want without checking in with the government.

  6. Valkerie

    Wonderful article on this Christmas morning. Thank you so very much General Satterfield.

  7. Dale Paul Fox

    It wasn’t that long ago that I too was in the US Army and stationed in Europe. We were always on alert for something or another. In the beginning we considered those alerts just to be a hassle and maybe it was just our commander making us jump thru our asses for his entertainment. Later, we realized the importance of what we did. While I was never in a war (thank goodness), I know what it’s like to be ready.

    1. Fred Weber

      Thank you too Dale for sharing your experience in defense of your nation. Many will never have that experience where your life and the life of your buddies is on the line. If an attack were to occur, you would have been right there with the soldiers, Marines, and other military members to repel the attack. Thank you for your service.

  8. ZB22

    Great article on the time you were in the army back in 1975. Thanks for sharing your experiences; it helps make the story come alive.

    1. Lady Hawk

      Hi everyone. These articles, which are here every single day are great. I’ve been reading Gen. Satterfield’s blog now for a long time. Each blog post gets to the point quickly. Good thing, since I’m about to get to the Christmas tree before the rest of the family wakes up. Merry Christmas to all.

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