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July, 1954: Secretary of the Army Robert T. Stevens visits the Baumholder, Germany, training area for a demonstration of firepower that included the 280-mm "atomic cannon," bottom photo.
July, 1954: Secretary of the Army Robert T. Stevens visits the Baumholder, Germany, training area for a demonstration of firepower that included the 280-mm "atomic cannon," bottom photo. (Neil Doherty ©Stars and Stripes)

BAUMHOLDER — Army Secretary Robert T. Stevens spent the day in the field with the men of the 2d Armd Div today, observing just about everything in the division's operations.

Bumping over muddy tank trails in an open jeep, Stevens spent almost eight hours inspecting tank and artillery ranges here and watching 2d Armd Div units work under simulated combat conditions.

Despite cold weather, punctuated by frequent showers, the Secretary remained outdoors for almost his entire stay here, donning a poncho when the rains came.

Asked whether the tour might have been "too rugged," Stevens said, "I was so absorbed that it didn't seem rugged at all. I could have gone on for a couple more hours.'

When someone interjected that "You must be in good shape." Stevens countered quickly, "In this business, you have to be."

Asked his impressions of his visit here, Stevens said: "Though it is not as large as some training areas in the States, I think the facilities here are excellent. The status of training is good. I saw a number of exercises today and I'm very pleased with the operations here.

"It certainly has been a very interesting and stimulating experience to get back in the field with the troops. The equipment I saw in action today seems to be right up to snuff. Improvements are being made all the time, of course, but what I saw today was splendid."

Arriving here from Heidelberg at 8 am, the Secretary was greeted by Maj Gen L. L. Doan, 2d Armd Div CG.

Stevens then viewed a display of armored division vehicles and the installation of a new-type propelled assault bridge. A gun battery drill team of the 868th FA Bn, 42d FA Gp, then put on a demonstration with the 280-mm cannon.

Rounding out the morning half of his visit Stevens observed a mock assault by the 57th Tk Bn. He watched the unit's M47 Patton tanks storm an "enemy" position, employing a smoke screen and armored personnel carriers.

After lunch, Stevens witnessed a demonstration of 2d Armd communications equipment and maneuvers by the 82d Recon Bn. He concluded his visit with an inspection of 12th Armd Inf Bn troops preparing for a field test.

The Army Secretary was accompanied on his visit here by Gen William M. Hoge, USAREUR commander-in-chief; Lt Gen Anthony C. McAuliffe, 7th Army CG; Maj Gen Charles E. Hart, V Corps CG; and Brig Gens Hamilton H. Howze, deputy chief of staff, operations, 7th Army; and Robert N. Tyson, 2d Armd Div Arty CG.

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