Zero Our Weapons

Order to Gas Chamber and Zero-Fire Exercise.
Welcome to Berlin.

Military routine:

The orders shown above are for a routine military activity– newcomers adjusting the sights on our M-14 rifles or other personal weapons, and testing the fit of our protective masks.  In this era, however, the fit of our masks became more interesting to us– civil disturbances could potentially make use of the clumsy, clunky gas masks necessary.

Our group was about as cheery as any group of men assembled at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning for a compulsory activity.  In spite of the grousing, however, I do not remember anyone questioning the need for this preparedness.  Had I had any doubts about this, they were dispelled on my first morning in Berlin — less than a month before this exercise — when my Army taxi took me from the Rail Transportation Office to the U.S. Command Headquarters via the Free University Campus, past the arson-torched library building.