Memories of Dreux 1961-1962

Grady Gibbons Memories of Dreux
By A/2C Sibert

Grady Gibbons

A/2c Grady Gibbons was an Alabama Air National Guard member sent to Dreux air base because of the Berlin crisis. he was there from November 1961 to August 1962 he was assigned to the existing air police unit which was part of the 7305th support squadron.  This story was gleaned from e-mails Grady had sent to A/2C Sibert. I have not heard from Grady in one year. I have sent to him e-mails but have not heard from him, Sibert says

Grady landed at Dreux Air Base with three pairs of OD's, a set of blues & three sets of 505's. He had a USAF issue rain coat that he say's was good for nothing. He didn't get a field jacket until early December.

He tells that his barracks was located at marguerite 6 and had been the base kindergarden at one time. He recalls that the bathroom fixtures were downsized for use by little children. Grady says the airmen all adapted.

Grady tells that his barracks was in front of the POL section at marguerite 6. Did marguerite 6 have a POL location? Could be when the 12th squadron occupied that area there was one. He doesn't say if it was operating for the Alabama Air National Guard while they were stationed at Dreux.

Grady says his wife sent him some money and he purchased a pair of Fry boots from the AFEX. He really needed those boots as he did a lot of guard duty.

Grady tells in early December 1961 all of the F-84F's were flown to Chamount Air Base, France. Grady tells that two squadrons of troops were sent to Ramstien Air Base, Germany and a small group stayed at Dreux which included the Air Police.

Grady tells that he stood his post in his rain coat. He didn't say if he had his field jacket under the rain coat. He says the weather was horrible & about the first of February 1962 snow fell which stayed on the ground until the middle of March. This was not what a boy from Alabama was used to he recalls.

For Grady's first Thanksgiving at Dreux Air Base he was guarding a USAF C-124 cargo plane parked near to base ops, fire station & control tower. He tells that the fog was so thick he had trouble seeing the plane & he was under a giant wing. Come on Grady !! Well anyway, he says the cooks at the main base mess hall prepared one of the best Thanksgiving day meals he ever had. Note: there was only one mess hall being used at this time.

Grady tells that he can not recall a Dreux baseball team when he was there. He says there was a Dreux football team though. He says it was one of the best in Europe as they had several players from the Auburn Alabama college team which had been # 1 in the nation.

A/2C Grady Gibbons was with the Alabama Air National Guard at Dreux during 1961-1962.

He arrived at Dreux Air Base 1 Nov 1961 along with his Air Guard aircraft. He was in the Air Police Sqd AFSC 77150. He was assigned to traffic & law enforcement duties.

The Air Police flight was made up of the Dreux base members & the guard members. The flight sergeant was S/SGT Von Draughn from Dreux.

Grady spent a lot time working the front gate guard shack A/1C Bobby Hailey & A/2C Harlison, part of the Dreux A/P squadron, worked with Grady & went on many town patrol's along with him.

Grady tells when about 75% of permanent party base personnel were reassigned not much happened on base after this.

Grady was on guard duty in the warehouse area one evening when he found a German WW-II rifle in the dirt near the railroad tracks, he never said what he did with that rifle.

Grady tells that Mickey's bar at the end of the base entrance road somewhat, was a popular place. The Open Gate Bar he says was busy also not far from Mickey's. Madame Olga ran the hotel & restaurant in Maillebois, he says.

He says the Army's 29th Signal Battalion was housed at marguerite # 4 near the back gate to road D-30. These guys were nothing but trouble for the Air Police he tells.

The NCO club & Officers club were open but the Airmens club had closed Grady says.