I'm trying to locate a friend that I have
lost touch with over the years. I knkow she attended Verdun
American High School in 1959/1960, but am not sure if she
graduated from there or not. In 1959/1960, she would have been
a sophmore and would have been scheduled to graduate in 1962.
Her name (maiden) was Jean Johnson. that may be a common
name?? Please let me know if you have any knowledge of her.
Terre Haute, Indiana
My sister graduated from high school in Verdun. In the theatre.
We returned to the states in 1966. But we lived there for almost
5 years. Friday nights we would take a bus to Marville to
use the indoor swimming pool. We did not live far from the AYA.
My family spent a lot of time at the Red Cross Center. My
father would run the projector with movies. Sort of like on
M.A.S.H., when they would run movies. We would watch McHale's
Navy, Wagon Train, I Love Lucy, Travelogues, and even training
films. This one film was about how to survive if your plane
ditches in the ocean. Very interesting.
We did some touring with the Red Cross Center. Myself I
was born in 1955 so I was just a kid when we were there. I
attended school on the post. It was attatched to the
hospital. Anyway, it was nice to read some of the letters.
Valerie (Elston) Eastman,
Daughter of Staff SGT Darrel O. Elston.
My name is Tom James (I am in the 1964
Verdun year book as Thomas G. James Jr).
I attended Verdun my 11th
grade … School year 1963 - 1964. I wasn’t by any means the
best student there, but I had some really great times there in
the dorms .
At the time it did not seem great. I
lived in Brienne-Le Chateau … (Army base) and those bus rides up
on Sunday and back on Friday were something else. My room mate
was Johnny Roberts (also from Brienne), he was nick named
Alabama, shot pool allot ..
My steady was Christine Banks, young
hearts … heard she married my roomy Johnny later… Her brother
Warren attended for a while and dropped out toward the end of
the year. Just wondering what ever happened to the gang
Had great friends at Chaumont (the air
force base) …
We all were prime Vietnam bait …
Senior Software Engineer (eMTS)
From: Jerry Block [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:29 AM
Subject: American high school Verdun
John or Bill,
Just saw the picture
of the high school in 61' with all the barb
wire around it. After I did the year book
photos the Ambassador of Luxemburg who was
the guaduation class speaker and saw the
yearbook picture in her lap and ordered the
barb wire fence taken down. DOWN IT CAME.
It was still down when I rotated out in
63'. I was perm CQ at the BOQ's and the
exchange club photo instructor.
evolution of the boy's and girl's dormitory was
interesting. I was there in 1958 when the school first
opened ( Actually I arrived in October). The caveat is
the raging hormones of teenagers and how the Army
interpreted them. All of the construction of the
"barriers" always took place when we were on long school
breaks (Christmas, semester, and summer). In the
beginning, there were no locks on any doors except for
the front, dorm rooms, and entrances to the school from
both outside and inside. Also I remember the first
student assembly with the Army and school staff on the
stage, each made a few comments and sat down. Last to
speak was the principal, Bernard Spiegel. Basically he
said that if we did something that broke unknown rules,
a rule would be made so we wouldn't do it again without
we had an incident, the Army reacted! First thing that
I remember was screens being put on all of the windows
in the girl's dorm. None on the boy's dorm. Because
boys and girls were leaving their rooms and going into
the first floor rooms through the windows sort of free
will until they were caught. From here it just cascaded
with more incidents and the Army reacting! I'll recount
the incidents and the Army's reaction.
doors at either end of both dorms under the stairwells
that lead to the central heating system. Once in the
basement, all it took was to walk from one end to the
boy' dorm to the other end of the girl's dorm. Free
access to the dorms from either door access until
caught. Army replaced the wooden doors with steel doors
and triple locks.
summer recess a fence surrounding the girl's dorm was
built. It literally surrounded the dorm and had a gate
at the end of the dorm to access the lounge. Just
around the girl's dorm.
semester, there were too many girls and not enough room
to house them. Where they could fit 3 to a room, it was
done. One of the lounges was converted in to dorm
housing. But more girls were arriving, and they created
another living area in an area above the foyer where the
entrance to the school, boy's dorm, and the girl's dorm
met. This was a big make out area for saying good bye
to your boy/girl friends before we had to go in for the
evening for studying and bed. The girls living there
discovered that they could enter the boy dorm at will
and did so. But you could not go into the new living
area from the boys dorm. The girls dorm counselors
discovered this after hearing lots of screaming and
yelling from that area. The Army transferred a lot of
fathers to the Verdun area so their daughters would be
went up the corridor from the boys/girl's dorm to the
cafeteria for breakfast and dinner. Once in the
corridor the rest of the school was easily accessible,
especially the teacher lounges on the 1st and 2nd
floors. These were great make out places (rugs,
couches, and plush chairs). The other make out place
was the kindergarten Quonset huts (rugs, couches, and
plush chairs) on the elementary school side. Teachers
used to go back to their homes when the school bell rang
for the last time that day. I think some teachers knew
what was going on, but remember they were only a few
years older than us and really did not care. Anyway
this was discovered and the Army put up big fire doors
on the first and second floor hallways and they were to
be locked after school ended. If you were caught in the
lock down, you could still get into the main corridor to
get to the cafeteria or dorm.
a problem solved by allowing students to have access to
the outside after breakfast, lunch, dinner. Parents
were not always aware that their children smoked. After
parents complained that their sons/daughters were
smoking without their permission, the school staff
issued pink smoking cards to those students whose
parents signed letters giving them permission to smoke
on school property. What a joke! Pink cards were
passed around behind the backs of the students to show
the teachers wanting to check who could or couldn't.
Smokers ended up with 5 to 10 cigarettes in each hand as
the non-smokers got rid of their smokes.
often stood at the door leading to the outside and
checked for the pink cards to keep those without inside.
Little did they realize that there was more than one
door leading outside.
for the year and summer recess was a busy construction
period for the boy's dorm. When we arrived back from
the summer, there was a a huge fence surrounding the
boy's dorm with a gate at the end for access to lounge. We
had found a way to interact with each other and this
solved the problem the old Army way.
break between the fall and spring semesters, the Army
implemented a guard patrolling the fence perimeter of
the girl's dorm. This was from the end of school until
the next mornings start of scholl. This was to keep
everyone in that belonged in and everyone that did not
belong out. This only lasted for one semester because
the girls were teasing the sentries with shadow or real
strip teases. Some of the sentries climbed the fence in
the wee hours of the morning and interacted with some of
picture you saw with the barbed wire on both the boys
and girl's fences. During the summer break the Army was
busy again with that piece of construction. At that
time I graduated from Verdun and went on my quest to see
all of Europe on 5 cents a day. At the different
reunions that we have had over the course of the last 22
years, I have often been accused of ruining it for the
others that came behind us. I was not personally
responsible for any of the shenanigans that other
students pursued. I may have been a participant but was
never caught. There are other escapades that we went on
and caused some ruckus among the Army and school staff.
As I tell my
kids, when I arrived in Europe and found what a glorious
place it was to be, it was like my father gave me a
briefcase with 10 million dollars in it and told me not
to spend it all in the same place.
Thank you Army!