Charles "Chuck" Shaffer
12th Air Postal Sqdn - Detachment 3
I arrived in
Châteauroux in November of 1957 at the ripe old age of 17. I remember at the
train station in Paris before leaving for Chad, I had to use the restroom. The
Army Sgt. directed me to the restroom and while I was using it, a woman came
in. That freaked me out! I was told later that that was common in France
where men and women used the same restroom. Hmmmmmmm!
I was assigned
to the 12th Air Postal Sqdn. We ran the base post office at Chas and
Déols. We pulled duty at the warehouse at Déols loading and unloading mail
sacks from aircraft. The mail bags were sorted, with some going to APO's in
Spain, Libya, Germany, and more.
we would have to take registered mail to a plane sitting on the "hot spot".
That's where they would rev up their engines before take-off. Our French truck
drivers wouldn't get very close so I would carry the mail to the side door
(staying away from those propellers ) and get the required signature before
turning the mail over to the loadmaster. Quite an experience and I have many
many memories which I will share later.
mail guard for one month at a time. We were issued a 45 and 3 bullets and
told not to shoot anyone since it might cause an international incident.
Never figured that one out. We were guarding registered mail which
included the base payroll which we brought from Paris and also secret
material. One of the guys pulling guard duty accidentally fired the pistol
while the train was headed back to Châteauroux. He said that bullet
ricocheted all around that mail car. If I remember right he got an Article
15 for that one.