My dad was a TSgt and served both as an Air Traffic Controller and in Ground Control in his 20 year career; I think while in France it was AACS. At Dreux I think he primarily worked in Ground Control. My mom worked in Civil Service a long time and at Dreux I know she was the Base Commander's secretary for a while. Dad was transferred to Dreux from Fairchild AFB in Spokane, WA. We left Fairchild one 6-week period prior to the end of my second grade. I remember sweating it out wondering if they were going to pass me to 3rd grade, or would make me take it over. They passed me. I also vividly remember having to take all of my shots twice. I had taken them all and then my mom lost my shot record; so I had to take almost all of them again. I guess back then that the shot record was the only real record kept. I was not a happy camper. As an adult I spent two other brief stints at Fairchild; once at AFROTC Summer Camp, and another time at Survival School as part of my Combat Crew Training in the mid-70's.
We left the CONUS from McGuire AFB in New Jersey, as most folks did; with a pit stop in the Azores before we landed at Orly Field outside Paris. Then by bus to Dreux. Quarters. I think my parents and I moved into our trailer right away in the NCO housing area. T218; sixth trailer from the start of that section, right on Perimeter Rd. I don't think I've ever seen such an unique base housing; but it was home for three years. I thought the bunk bed was pretty cool. The attached room was great and that's probably where we spent the most time together, although it didn't handle temperature extremes very well. I remember right before you got to the trailers, coming from the main gate, there was a ball field (well, at least there was a back stop!). Adjacent to it was an oval, cement skating rink. I can't tell you how many hours I spent in that area.Playing War/Army
I wish I could remember my buddies' names, but as 8-11 year old boys we naturally played 'war games'. There was some sort of big warehouse back behind the housing and several of us found discarded rifles that had had the firing pins removed and all that was left was really the metal framework of the weapon. No ammo of course; but boy we thought we were something. I think it initially scared out parents to death, and we actually had to hide them for a while. But somehow we were able to keep them.NCO Club.
Lots of good times there. My goodness! I can still remember the hot apple turnovers covered with icing on the weekends when we went for breakfast! As I recall, the chef was either French or German and he really liked to spoil the kids. My dad let me play the slot machines and for the most part nobody really cared. Bingo nights were great. One night I won a jackpot, but they would not give me the jackpot money; so instead they brought out to me, a live pig! On a rope! Everyone laughed, but I thought it was great! I didn't get to keep it, but they butchered it (which they were going to do anyway) and we ate a lot of pork for a while.Golf.
I learned to play golf there. I don't think I've seen anyone mention it on the site, but a nine-hole course was built. It ran adjacent to the south parallel taxiway; west of Base Ops and the tower. The first 3 or 4 holes were laid out heading west and you actually played across some of the taxiways from the aircraft parking areas (Marguerite 2 & 3). Then the course turned northward for a couple of holes along the perimeter fence (toward Marguerite 4) and then doubled back. The clubhouse was right where California St bends 90 degrees to the east. Somewhere near that turn there was a driving range. On some of the older satellite photos you can see outlines of the greens. They are covered by solar panels now! My very first job was at the golf course, picking up range balls in exchange for burgers and cokes at the clubhouse, free golf and a few bucks. What could be better for a 10 year old?School.
I completed 3rd through 5th grades there. I can picture a couple of the teachers but can't remember their names. I may have a report cart lying around that my mom saved. I do recall learning some French. Because of that I was able to skip French 1 & 2 in high school and go straight to French 3! I remember the bus rides and the singing driver. Baseball. That was my passion. There wasn't much competition back then. I was in the lower age group, but was placed on the older kids all-star team and played shortstop and pitched some. I have one picture where I am clearly the smallest kid on that team. As I said; not much competition, but it was a big deal to me. I think that all-star team play teams from other bases like Evreux. In fact, there was some effort to pull together an all-star team from the bases nearby to try to get into the playoffs to go to the LL World Series. That never materialized.Bikes.
You could get everywhere on your bikes. Theater, golf course, BX, etc. I know I even rode it to the Chapel a couple of times. Imagine doing that now? These are my main memories of some really good times. Thanks to all for sharing yours. Feel free to comment on mine if they help you think of other things. I'll try to post something of my visit in 2012 soon.