By Christopher Miskimon
Michael Mahler first arrived in Germany in 1960 as a young lieutenant. He and his new wife shared a small apartment that seemed to the couple to always be cold. As an armor officer, he commanded tank units using the M41 Walker Bulldog light tank and the medium M48 Patton tank. All of his senior leaders were World War II veterans and many captains had seen service in the Korean War. One of his first company commanders still dove into the nearest ditch whenever a German plane flew overhead.
Mahler had good sergeants serving under him and most of the soldiers were draftees. As time wore on, he assumed all of the various roles expected of junior officers and moved up the chain of command. He learned how to lead and inspire troops. By his last tour in Germany, Mahler was a colonel with a career’s worth of stories to tell.
Those stories are well told in this new memoir, which is a selection of the Association of the U.S. Army. The author’s memories will be familiar to those who served during the Cold War. Readers who have served in the military will recognize many of the anecdotes. The narrative is engaging, and the memoir is the type of book that readers will not want to put down.
Tales from the Cold War: The U.S. Army in Germany 1960-1975 (Michael D. Mahler, University of North Georgia Press, 2021, 174 pp., $19.99, softcover)