Olympic Express, 1969



Dave Kutulis, CMS (RET)



In late May of 1969 I along with other maintenance personnel headed north to Travis on a big sliver bird where we picked up additional maintenance personnel from Travis and McChord. We were headed for Nuremberg Germany to participate in the up coming Olympic Express NATO Exercise. The exercise would deploy Army personnel from Germany to Greece to participate in war games. 22nd AF maintenance would be at Nuremberg while 21st AF maintenance would be in Greece.

The ALCE at Nuremberg was headed by an O-6 out of England and was staffed by ALCE people from the three 22nd AF Wings. On arrival the O-6 told us what was expected and that we would have two days to get settled before the big event. The only maintenance officer was a Captain from Travis who decided that all the Travis people would work days (12 hour shifts) and the Norton/McChord people would work nights under the supervision of the CMSGT from Norton. When the Chief asked about switching shifts half way through the Captain said that would not happen.

The games began and it was kind of hectic for a while until we got in to the flow of things. I think it was the second night when I was getting ready to do a ground maintenance run when two Lufthansa flight attendants came by and asked to look in the aircraft. While they were there we were getting ready to start so I told them to have a seat until we were finished. As I was getting ready to start a loud voice from behind me said, "Kutulis what the hell do you think you are doing". It was the Chief and I said I'm going to start the engine when the guy standing behind the Chief said "not with the women on board". After seeing that the guy had Captain bars on I saw that I was over matched so we said goodbye to the to the girls.

It seems that the O-6 decided that he should have another Maintenance Officer so the new guy was sent from Incirlik.

The next morning at shift change he introduced himself to the Captain from Travis and the first thing he asked was "what's your date of rank" when the Travis guy answered the new guy said we change shifts half way through. Needless to say the Travis crowd was not happy.

The next night I was trying to park a bird but the AC would not follow my signals (parking was tight) so I turned off the wands and he stopped real quick; after a few minutes the wands lite up and we started over. When he was parked I climbed up to the flight deck to check his maintenance status. The AC said, "Who the hell was directing me I want his name and serial number". I looked at him and said "TSgt Kutulis # 12345678" about that time there was a loud roar behind me wanting to know who the idiot was that was driving this thing and why can't he follow hand signals. I left the flight deck while I was ahead, as the AC was stammering trying to answer the O-6. The O-6 was pissed because the guy almost hit the roach coach.

At one time we had an inbound on a C-133 and were trying to see how we could fit him in the parking plan but he never showed up which was a relief.

A few days latter the O-6 gathered us up and said that the next week we where free and that the First Sergeant had three lists, one said England, another said Spain ant the third said Germany. On Sunday there would be a C-130 in the morning to take him back to England, latter that day there would be an additional C-130 going to Spain. We were to put our name on a list and if we were going to England or Spain that there would be C-130's a week later to bring you back. But God help the guy who is not back by 1800 the following Sunday.

The Chief, a Captain, another guy and I decided to tour Germany so we took the train to Munich along with another Captain who was stationed in Europe. His wife was to meet him at the train station. When we got off the train there was a drop dead gorgeous blonde standing on the platform. She was wearing black leather boots a black leather skirt and a black leather jacket along with a cream colored sweater with a big collar. She was getting a lot of attention. She walked to our group and put her arms around the young Captain and planted a big kiss on him. Lucky dude. After introductions she asked if we were hungry, which we were so she said she knew just the place for lunch.

We followed her from the station down an alley and in to a crowded feeding establishment. Turned out it was a kitchen run by nuns and for a very few marks we had schnitzel, boiled potatoes and drinks. After lunch the happy couple went their way and the rest of us spent two days checking out the town before heading to Berchtesgaden.

The following Monday the First Sergeant reported to the O-6 that everyone had returned with in the allotted time. I would have bet that some of the guys who headed to Berlin would have made the Russian gulag.

The next week was a reverse of the first with us on days. It was the normal stuff until one bird said he had a nose wheel shimmy on landing. After checking it out we could not find a problem so one of the Lt.Col's on the ALCE staff decided that a high speed taxi check was called for. One problem all the crews were in crew rest so the Lt. Col and another rated guy said they would do it, only problem no Flight Engineer for the panel. So with the blessing from 21st AF I became a engineer for an hour. We could not duplicate the problem. Somewhere in one of the articles on C-141 heaven there is talk of the shimmy dampener freezing at altitude, must have happen here.

The only thing worth mentioning before the exercise was complete was that my Captain had met a Flight Attendant who flew for an Italian Air Line. She had a place in Nuremberg and invited him over. So being a Southern gentleman from Alabama he had the hotel kitchen put together a dinner for two and when last seen was getting into a cab with the food, drinks and flowers. The next morning he said without going into details that the evening was money well spent.

We left Nuremberg on a Norton bird full of Dover, McChord, Travis, and Norton troops. A Dover crew had the duty to Dover where a Travis crew took us to Travis and then one of the Norton crews took us home. It was one of the best, if not the best deployment I was on while assigned to MAC.


Dave Kutulis CMS (Ret)
63rd MAW 67-71
58th WRS 71-74
62nd MAW 74-75
Lancaster Ca.


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