SUNNYSIDE — Hank Timmermans of Sunnyside and Jim Frick of Michigan recalled the excitement of being assigned to babysit Cold War missiles in Germany in the early 1960s, like it was yesterday.
The two young men were in the middle of their last year of a four-year tour of duty in Italy when they were chosen to be a part of the team guarding the Nike Hercules Missiles anti-aircraft project in Soest, Germany, Timmermans explained.
“We went from living in barracks with a bunch of other guys to apartment-style living,” he said. “We thought we had it made. We had a stereo, our own bedrooms, and carpet, all off base,” he recalled.
Timmerman and his new roommate were assigned to guard the missile base from the inside and the soldiers guarded the perimeter.
They were stationed in Soest for about six months before they were both discharged.
“Jim went home in June 1964 and I followed in October 1964.”
Over the Labor Day weekend, the former army roommates met for an afternoon of food, conversation and lots of reminiscing, the former realtor remarked.
“Jim’s call came out of the blue, asking if he (and his wife) could come visit us for the night. And, Johanna and I were happy to host them,” Timmermans explained.
Frick and his wife, Jane, were on a four-week cross country tour before returning home to Florida for the winter.
“Jim and I kept in contact over the years, but this was his first trip to the Yakima Valley,” Timmermans remarked.
To say Frick was impressed with the valley is an understatement, Timmermans commended.
“They thought this area is beautiful,” he added.
“We took a little tour about the Valley, stopped in at Snipes Mountain Brewery, but we mostly stayed at the house catching up and reminiscing” he recalled.
Timmermans says he had kept in contact with a few his old army buddies, but this was the first time Frick has been to visit.
“We’re hoping they come again,” he concluded.