Frankfurt Germany - HQ ASA Europe
Courtesy of Dave Shively

(from the April 1970 edition of The Hallmark)

As he fled from advancing Saxon hordes, (or so the legend goes) the great Frankish emperor of the eighth century, Charlemagne, found his army's retreat stymied by the formidable currents of Germany's River Main. The turning point came, however, after he observed a white stag crossing the river at a hitherto unknown ford. The spot gave Charlemagne's troops the means to escape slaughter at the hands of a vastly superior force.

To commemorate his good fortune, the emperor began the construction of a city at the site of the "for of the Franks." Today, we know Charlemagne's city as Frankfurt on the Main.

Situated as it is, in the heart of Western Europe, medieval Frankfurt became a thriving commercial center along the trade routes connecting the countries of the north with the Mediterranean. The city has maintained its position as a center of commerce to the present day, despite the frequently disastrous effects of war on its economy.

Frankfurt's strategic location was undoubtedly a factor in selecting it for the site of USASA Headquarters in Europe. That organization was activated November 27, 1945, in the suburb of Russelsheim. In March 1946, the headquarters moved to its present site atop the immense I.G. Farben Building, the former home of Germany's largest wartime chemical concern.

Merely a "stone's throw" from the headquarters building lies Kennedy Daserne and its White House (so named because white buildings are scarce). It is in the building that the Headquarters and Service Company and the ASA Communications Unit, Europe, are located.

Among the units of Kennedy Kaserne are some of the most well-traveled young men in the world. It is a rare GE who soon after his arrival, doesn't discover why Frankfurt is considered the "Gateway to Europe."

Because of its location, Frankfurt is a primary arrival and departure point for much of the rail and air traffic on the Continent. Additionally, the proximity of Germany's fabulous network of federal highways, or Autobahn, plays no small role in making Agency personnel the proverbial "men of the world." With such fascinating lures as Paris, Vienna, and Copenhagen only a half day's ride by car, train or bus, and the Benelux countries but a matter of hours away, it is no wonder that personnel stationed here put such a high premium on their leave time.

On the local level, Frankfurt and its environs also offer a tremendous variety of diversions to fill off-duty hours. The city boasts of opera and ballet companies, plus frequent pop concerts. An innumerable variety of night clubs, discotheques and restaurants compete for the patronage of both the local population and its many visitors.

A particular delight of both newly arrived personnel and old-timers is in exploring the narrow, cobblestone streets of the city's old quarter. Commonly known as Sachsenhausen, it has scores of taverns specializing in apple wine or Apfelwoi, accordion music, mirth and song.

One topic of discussion almost sure to bring forth an opinion from Agency men is the local weather. Locked in a valley by the gently-rising slopes of the Tannus Mountains, Frankfurt is almost perpetually enveloped in a heavy overcast with frequent rain and fog. Through the years, this condition has earned for the city the title, "The Gray, Old Lady on the Main."

To men less resourceful than ASAers, the oft-dreary weather could pose a real morale problem. Thus, while most company areas in the U.S. Army are reserved for sleeping and seeping, such is not the case with the "White House." To combat the pervasive gloom outside, residents came up with the perfect solution, an EM/NCO Night Club, right in their basement! Aptly termed "The Spookeasy," it provides a place where the men can lift up a good glass of local brew and exchange what their German hosts would call Gemutlichkeit, or good fellowship.

There are other activities which ensure productive non-duty hours for personnel stationed at Frankfurt. These include a wide variety of athletic teams taking part in local leagues and ASA Europe Commanding General's Tournaments; a nearby University of Maryland campus offering beginning and advanced college-level programs; a headquarters publication, the FRANKFURTER FORUM, which was judged the Army's top multilith newspaper of 1968; and, the Europa Motor Sports Club, a fairly new group of ASA auto enthusiasts who are interested in promoting rally competitions and driving safety. Incidentally, the famed headquarters' Big Blue basketball squad captured U.S. Army Europe, championships in 1963 and 1968.

Although ASA's Frankfurt post sounds like a "bachelor's paradise," married personnel find that all the single man's advantages hold true for them as well. Indeed, the availability of modern two, three and four bedroom apartments, within proximity of a huge Exchange and Commissary complex, and excellent dependent schools, make Frankfurt a most enticing place to serve an oversea tour of duty.

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