I was born in Sherman, Texas in 1949. My dad was an infantryman in World War II and entered the fight just as the American forces regained the ground lost during the Battle of the Bulge. He was among those of the first armored infantry to cross the Rhine river at the Ramagen Bridge while the Germans were trying to destroy it with artillery and Stuka dive bombers. Just after the battle at the Rhine he was wounded in the leg from a German machine gun bullet that ricocheted through the tracks of an American tank he was using for cover. The wound was not bad and soon recovered and from there they fought on to Berlin and he became part of the American occupying forces and remained there in Berlin until late 1946.
During this time he met my German mother who was born in Berlin. She and her mother and grandmother survived the bombings of Berlin and the final Battle of Berlin when the Russians took the city. Her father and his two brothers were all in the German Wehrmacht (Army) who survived the war also. Her father, my grandfather, was assigned to an 88mm anti-aircraft gun crew in Holland and then later in Berlin. He lost his hearing from the noise of the 88mm Flak Gun they fired and lost all his teeth from eating nothing while in Holland but reindeer meat. None of them belonged to the Nazi party nor did they support it. My grandfather was force-drafted by the SS. They came and got him at their apartment as they did to a lot of older men. Hitler and his goons confiscated his small cosmetics factory and used it to make war materials. His Jewish business partner was forced to escape for his life out of the country. They were not compensated for the property. Before Hitler started his madness they lived on Reichstrasse near the Olympic Stadium, which was at the time a street in Berlin populated by many actors and actresses and movie producers. Berlin at the time was the Hollywood of Europe. My grandfather was in plays and stage performances mostly as an extra and my mother was striving to become a singer and actress. Through contacts my mother was in the middle of an opportunity to produce voice-overs (dubber) for ShirleyTemple movies shown in Germany when the war stopped everything. Ol’ Adolph (my mother’s term) and his henchmen were not appreciated by everyone in Berlin as you might think. The war took all they had and in the end had reduced them to rummaging through trash cans for food among the destroyed buildings, military equipment and corpses. My grandfather was captured by the Russians during the battle for Berlin and spent a year in a concentration camp near Moscow. He was released and made his way back to Berlin. He was literally just skin and bones when he showed up barely alive. My dad carried him up to their 3rd floor apartment that had survived the bombings with only minor hits. My parents were married in that same apartment in 1946.
My dad brought my mother to their Texas farm north of Dallas in 1946. I was later born in 1949. My parents separated later and I went back to Berlin with my mother until about 1953 where the beginnings of my first language was German. I eventually returned to the United States with my mother and through some legal maneuvers my dad got permanent custody of me when I was five years old . I was basically raised by him in Hobbs, New Mexico where I graduated from High School. By then I had lost all traces of my German language and had taken on my New Mexico/Texas way of talkin’. My dad was then a patrolman for the city police department. When he was on the midnight shift he would come by and pick me up so I could ride around with him in his police car in my pajamas. We hunted in the New Mexico mountains and fished regularly and he taught me to use firearms. He participated regularly in competition shooting within the New Mexico law enforcement arena. We reloaded thousands of rounds of pistol and rifle and shotgun ammunition together and practiced together with revolvers and pistols. I learned hip shooting and timed precision shooting from him. In the 1970’s he was elected three times as the county sheriff. He was the first Republican sheriff to run and win in Lea County, NM. He was also the president of the New Mexico Sheriff’s Association during those years.
In November 1968, during the Viet Nam war I enlisted in the United States Army Security Agency. I went through basic training in a cold winter at Fort Leonardwood, Missouri where I achieved expert status with the M14 rifle and maintained that status throughout my enlistment and later adding to that the M16 rifle. I had signed onto the Army Security Agency which was a division of the National Security Agency (NSA) which required one year of college at the time and a four year commitment. The strategy was that in the Agency you could choose what you wanted to be trained to do within their area of expertise and were guaranteed that you’d get it. I requested Language School and selected German as the language of my choice as this would guarantee a European assignment as opposed to Southeast Asia (Vietnam). True to their word they did train me as a German linguist and I also got the Berlin, Germany assignment I requested. I received a top secret cryptographic security clearance and attended an intense Army language school (DLIEC) for 9 months in Washington, D.C. We were housed at Fort Myer, Virginia in private rooms for studying that was at that time part of Arlington Cemetery. After graduating from language school I trained at another Agency school on how to use what was then the state-of-the-art listening and recording equipment (this was before computers and digital equipment and satellites that the NSA now uses). After about a year or so of training I was assigned to the Field Station in Berlin, Germany where I worked on “the hill”, the listening station on Teufelsberg, as a voice intercept operator and transcriber. I also on several occasions was assigned to courier duty to deliver sensitive material from Berlin through East Germany by passenger train to the Security Agency’s headquarters in Frankfurt, West Germany. My enlistment was up in 1972. It was a very insightful experience to say the least.
While stationed in Berlin my mother who lived in New Jersey at the time came to visit me to introduce me to some relatives and friends that lived there in Berlin. We visited the house on Reichstrasse that she grew up in and my parents were married in back in 1946. Across the hall from their apartment still lived my mother’s childhood girlfriend who had along with my mother spent many nights in underground civilian bunkers to survive the intense Allied bombings. We visited her and to my amazement she had photos of me when I was there with my mother when I was 3 or 4 years old that I had never seen. One photo was of me in a local bar sitting on the bar top holding up a sock full of change that my grandfather was winning playing pool with his buddies.
I came home from the Army in March of 1972 a little older and wiser and when the opportunity came I again rode around with my dad at nights after he became sheriff and I got to experience a lot of his world. My most memorable moment was when he and his deputies were raiding a house late in the night. They had information that an armed escaped convict they had been looking for was held up there with his girlfriend. We parked quietly in the dark at the end of the alley behind the house. Dad and his deputies were quietly putting on their bullet proof vests and loading pump shotguns they got from the trunk of the car while I stood watching. Before he and the deputies disappeared heading to the house, dad pulled a sawed-off double-barreled shotgun from under the seat of his car and handed it to me, gave me the look and said in a very serious tone, “Don’t let anyone get past you”, and left me there in the dark at that end of the alley. Dad and the deputies went in through the front door only to find that the escapee had taken off shortly before we got there. A few days later following up on some information Dad sent a deputy and an Indian tracker across New Mexico over to the Gila Wilderness mountains where they trailed him on horseback until they located him. Rather than give up when cornered he ended it by shooting himself. Dad is now retired and at 87 years old still dances at the senior citizen dances. I am very proud of him. UPDATE: Daddy passed on in his sleep to be with the Lord at 5 am, January 6th, 2016. He was 89 years old and a good one. I will miss him but I’ll see him in the future. God is faithful and true!
Utilizing my GI benefits I attended and majored in commercial art at Eastern New Mexico University. I started my own sign shop there in the little college town and was successful at it. I eventually gave that up and moved to Austin, Texas where I worked for a while as a foreman of a sign company. Attracted by the lure of more money and some adventure I passed some math and basic chemistry tests that allowed me to get a job as a mud engineer (drilling fluids specialist) in the oil field. I serviced oil drilling rigs in southeastern New Mexico and west Texas for Milchem and also in the Giddings and La Grange,Texas area for a mud company owned by Clayton Williams. We serviced mostly his drilling operations in that area and some others. The oil field in that area was very volatile and prone to blow-outs as the underground strata was very fragile and porous and packed a lot of gas. I got the opportunity on several occasions to work on drilling sites that were experiencing blow-outs, trying to hold back the gas pressure using different weighted muds and other strategies. Very exciting and exhausting and indeed an adventure.
I returned to Austin, Texas and hired on with The University of Texas Sign Shop where I eventually became the supervisor. We produced the majority of signage campus wide including old-school gold leafing and a goodly amount of graphics especially in the athletics department. I can draw a longhorn in my sleep. It was a very fun job and I got to participate in some really cool stuff over the years. Most memorable was painting a mural of stampeding longhorns on the interior wall of Earl Campbell’s office in Memorial Stadium while he watched and yacked with me. He insisted that I sign the mural and he obliged me by signing the original paper drawing of the mural. Very nice individual. The University of Texas is indeed an amazing institution.
I remained at UT Austin until after 23 years I retired early so that I could home school my 6 year old daughter. She had attended a private Christian school until I could no longer afford it. I home schooled her with a Christian based curriculum through 3 grades until she decided she wanted to go to public school. She survived the pathetic public school system of Austin and graduated high school in the top 3 percent of her class. She was automatically accepted because of her ranking to the University of Texas here in Austin where she was yearly on the Dean’s List in the College of Liberal Arts. My great thanks to God who supplies all my needs and to the holster business I started 9 years ago as my daughter graduated without college loans and will have no debt owed for her degree.
I became a born-again Christian in 1984 and married my born-again wife from Houston, Texas in 1986. We are spirit-filled full-gospel Christians as is my sweet now 23 year old daughter. We lead a prayer gathering on Tuesday nights at our church where we see answers to prayer, healings and deliverances. I preach in the absence of the Pastor when asked and my wife supports me with praying for those that have needs. God is truly a Mighty God.
The holster business was started when a friend of mine and I were at our local outdoor shooting range and he saw the holster I had made for my little pistol. He tried it and liked it better than the current pocket holster he had at the time which was the kind with the extra attached back panel. I made one like mine for him and he wears it to this day. He was the one that suggested I start making them and selling them. At first I was not confident that they would be accepted as a genuinely legitimate holster that folks would like and use. From the first offering on my website and through some advertising on a gun forum I sold an amazing amount of them and got a lot of legitimate positive feedback. I decided then to continue my efforts and it has been successful. I give all credit to my Lord and God.
“Uncle George” is a name that was given to me when I was on a car forum about 10 years ago. I had made some suggestions that enabled one of the forum members due to some unusual circumstances to get a new, free, set of tires for his automobile from his car dealer. It’s too long of a story to tell. He gave credit to me on the forum and called me his ” Uncle George” . The name stuck and I started using it on all the forums and such. It seemed natural to use it along with the holster business. I am indeed an uncle to three fine nephews and a very smart and very pretty niece.
Personal Photos related to the text above available here.