Fort Indian Town Gap 2012 – Another Perspective

February 9, 2012 - 2 Comments

by Jim Barnes


Bill Donegan sends us the following report on his activities at the Gap:

A funny thing happened this year on the way to the GAP.

Jim Barnes picked us up at our motel to take us to dinner. It was dark and Jim was not sure of the best way to exit the parking lot. I said, “There is an exit over there just follow that car.” Jim complied and followed the car. The car stopped and Jim and I started a conversation. After a short while Jim said, “Why isn’t this guy moving? Linda who was in the back seat said, “That car is parked” We hadn’t noticed that the car we had been following had actually pulled into a parking space adjacent to the exit. There we sat with our head lights on sitting on this guy’s bumper. We wonder what he thought. Jim said if we’d gotten out and he’d seen two men in uniforms he might have reached for a gun or his papers.

Linda and I had arrived early Friday and had gone shopping at the immense flea market that they have each year at the FIG/GAP, where you can buy anything from original Wehrmacht dinner plates to repopped German underwear.

Since Linda was dressed as German Red Cross she needed a pair of gloves to wear at appell. We searched high and low. One vendor, “At The Front” wanted $30.00 a pair. Hessen had them for $10.00 but they were too big for Linda. At one of the small vendor tables I found an original pair that fit for $5.00. I examined them but had lost Linda. When I caught up to her and told her about the gloves she went looking for them She found them but because they were so distressed she didn’t want them. The seller saw her interest and tried to give them to her. They were in such old condition that she refused them. One of the vendor’s friends said, “Man you can’t give them things away!”


Friday night I reported in to the German Hospital where I was assigned by the High Command. Hauptmann Gentry was not sure of the time that morning appell was so he asked me to visit HQ and ask General Lothar Milhon for details. I located the general at the French café. He advised me of the change in appell time and also reviewed my sermon for the troops, which he approved. General Milhon told me to focus heavily on belief and brevity of life since there had been some recent deaths among some of the Luftwaffe and ss units.


On Saturday morning at 0700 I learned that General Lothar Milhon’s mother had passed away the night before. The General would therefore be absent from Appell. I advised General Spence Waldron of my arrangement with General Milhon and the General first addressed the troops and then introduced me as their chaplain.

I spoke to 750 assembled German troops for approx 15-20 minutes and prayed for the Milhon family.

Following this I was stopped, had my hand shaken, pats on the back, received prayer requests, and experienced many expressions of gratitude for the memorial service, some from men with tearful eyes.

My thanks to all who have prayed for me during this chaplain impression, which for me is more real than anything else I do.

Linda and I reported for duty at the German Hospital and spent the rest of the day there. We must have had over 1,000 visitors. I acted as front door man and security.

Following this Linda and I returned to our digs for a spruce-up, dinner at Funk’s and then back to bed again for a nap. We woke up at 0300 completely missing the dance and Christmas party.



Comments (2)

Tom Chiricos

March 14th, 2012 at 1:14 pm    

Jim, shooting for Rowlesburg this year after a year off. Remind me not to follow you! LOL

Jim Barnes

March 14th, 2012 at 1:29 pm    

Oh, as long as you have good brakes you’ll be fine! 🙂

If you need anything concerning Rowlesburg, let me know.

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