The $64 Question



The $64 Dollar Question:-


When WW II first ended and we were in the Army of Occupation a Non-Fraternization Policy had been put into effect and if one was caught by the MPs they would be arrested and after they were processed they would be

fined $64 dollars. You couldn't even ask a question without risking arrest.


Ironically, there was a radio quiz program in the States named the $64 dollar question at that time where the top prize was $64 dollar and folks thought that was a lot of money if and when they won. Somebody at SHAEF had a weird sense of humor!!


However, I remember it for another reason that I haven't thought about it for years but talking to a buddy brought back an awful time for me and when I would have given anything had I been able to change the result of an incident.


One of our guys was in town for the night and had been drinking heavily and was trying to pick up a fraulein when the MPs saw him and yelled at him to put down his carbine as he was going to be arrested(At that time we were still required to carry weapons outside our BN area). Drunk as he was, he started to run and the MPs gave chase and one of them slapped his hand on his .45 to prevent it from flopping around.


Our guy thought he was going to draw the .45 so he,almost as a conditioned reflex as he would have done before the war's end, dropped down on one knee and fired,hitting the MP and dropping him. Others had arrived by that time so he was taken easily. Luckily the MP didn't die but was wounded


The local MPs knew me so they honored his request to speak to me but there was absolutely nothing that I could do and I knew that nothing I could/would say was going to change the ultimate result. I went out of friendship to calm him down. I knew and he knew that he was going before a Courts Martial and to prison in found guilty - which he was - so he wound up in Leavenworth.


This was the man that I had known and gone through much with,who had been a good soldier until then and because he got drunk as a skunk his life was virtually over. A lot of men were set free after the war but that record followed him until he hit the bottom of the barrel and the booze killed him. Truman gave them amnesty


I never had to preach to the troops again about going overboard with booze in town. I still tell this story to someone I think is headed down this kind of road but hate every minute of it. It has worked well a couple of times.


Sorry to get maudlin but I have to say if you drink to excess at times remember this man's story.


Sorry for the Preaching




No need to apologize for "going maudlin" on us. Your words are well-taken and heeded. People do some awful stuff while under the influence. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's not and sometimes it changed the course of history, their history, forever. :(

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Yes and sometimes it changes our lives forever.


Thanks for sharing, Sgtleo.




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