A Wildflecken Encounter
Training in the west was a normal occurrence serving in the Brigade. Most times it took place in Wildflecken, West Germany. On one of our semi-annual thirty day exercises this happened right before my eyes:
We were on a mission the brass called a “movement to contact”, being a newbie, I was just trying to keep up and act like I knew what I was doing. About 5 klicks from our starting point, we were ascending a rather steep incline. Being in third platoon we were next to last in the line of march. All of a sudden a deer jumped up from a bush and steam-rolled Pvt. Frank Atikinson! He was practically unconscious and had to be med-evacuated from the mission. I will never forget our RTO trying to explain to the Company Commander what had happened. He kept repeating Pvt. Atkinson was run over by a Delta-Echo-Echo-Romeo! Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured including the deer. Atkinson was known as the “Deer-Hunter” from then on. To this day, I still have trouble believing what I saw that morning thirty-six years ago.