Chatchawan's journey

Chatchawan Chawengkul is back to describe his experience with the US army in Germany.

Chatchawan Chawengkul is back to continue his story. As you might recall he moved to the US in 1979 when he was 20 years old. In the first chapter of his story, he wrote about his first few years in the US. Chatchawan joined the US and spent several years in Germany. He describes his experience below. You can read his first chapter here:

Click button to listen to Germany and rightclick to download

Chapter two:  My journey 1984-1987

I was sent to Bamberg, Germany after I completed US Army military basic training and MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) training in 1983.  Our unit’s mission was to patrol the border between East and West Germany near the city of Hof. Our unit was a Tank Unit (M-1 Abram) which is the latest tank the US Army is using today.  My specialty was Tank Mechanic Systems.  

It was very cold in Germany in the winter time.  If you were not wearing the proper clothing you could get frostbite very easily.  I was bundled up every time I went out on patrol or on went on guard duty.

During my time off, I would travel to different places for sightseeing inside Germany and surrounding countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and the Czech Republic.  I attended the October fest 2 times during my stay there.  My military friends and I would take the train as our main form of transportation. 

I also made friends with local Germans when I was in Bamberg.  They showed me around and I lived as a local in their houses or apartments on the weekends.  We would travel to places in different towns or cities to visit other friends or relatives. I think of this as a special privilege for me.  

Thanks to my German friends Frederique, Fritz and all the others whose names I can’t recall.  I had many friends.  In fact I think all of the city of Bamberg’s young adults were my friends back then.  We were about 25-26 years old at the time. I thank all of you for your friendship and hospitality.

If any of you are visiting this website from Germany, I’d like to inform you that  I will return to Thailand to live in the year 2020.  All of you can come and spend time with me in Thailand on your vacation.  I will cover all the expenses while you there in Thailand. 

My e-mail address is pchawangkol  at  If you want to get in touch with me now, please do.  I would love to hear from you.

I finished my tour in 1987.  I did not re-enlist and returned to the States.

Next: Chapter Three: My return to the States, part 1. 

occupation – the action of going into a place and taking control away from the people or government there การยึดครอง
speciality – a particular part of a wider subject that someone concentrates on or is an expert in ความชำนาญพิเศษ
mission – an important job, especially a military one, that someone is sent somewhere to do ภาระกิจ, หน้าที่, งาน
patrol – to move regularly around a place in order to prevent trouble or crime or to watch for an enemy ลาดตระเวน
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries  เขตแดน อาณาเขต
frostbite – a medical condition in which cold weather seriously damages your fingers, toes, ears, or nose  เนื้อเยื่อถูกทำลายเพราะความเย็นจัด
bundle up – to wear very warm clothing แต่งตัวให้อบอุ่น, แต่งตัวด้วยผ้าหนา
October fest – a 16-18 day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October
local – ia person who lives in a particular place ชาวบ้าน
privilege – a special benefit that is available only to a particular person or group เอกสิทธิ์
recall – to remember จำได้ นึกทบทวน
hospitality – friendly and generous behaviour towards visitors and guests, intended to make them feel welcome การให้การต้อนรับด้วยความยินดี
get in touch with – to speak or write to someone, especially after you have not spoken to them for a long time ติดต่อกับ
re-enlist – to continue being a member of the country’s arm forces after a required time has ended