WEST GERMANY: The Swinging Sergeant

At the paymaster's office at Mechernich Airbase near Bonn, Air Force Master Sergeant Siegfried Schmidt, 33, kept track of fiscal affairs for a Luftwaffe supply battalion. A bright, conscientious bookkeeper, he logged the pay for the unit's 125 soldiers, noting promotions, with their commensurate pay increases, Christmas bonuses and, when the recruits' 15-month tours were up, their release pay. Each week Schmidt went to the bank to draw the pay for all the soldiers on the base and duly disbursed the cash.

Since Schmidt started the job in 1968, his superiors had nothing...

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