Away Game
Margaret Bryan, Patti Hutchins

Papa Bear Awards 20052005 Papa Bear Awards - First Place
Best Drama

Papa Bear Awards 20052005 Papa Bear Awards - First Place
Best Original Character - Colonel Dennis Marshall

Papa Bear Awards 20052005 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
Most Unique Story

Papa Bear Awards 20052005 Papa Bear Awards - Third Place
Best Overall Story

Papa Bear Awards 20072007 Papa Bear Awards - Nominated
Lifetime Getaway Award

Ever wonder what happened to Luftwaffe General Biedenbender after he seemingly stole his own plane, went on a rampage to destroy the Stuttheim Oil Refinery, and then defected? Of course, as HH fans know, Colonel Hogan and his men were responsible for all of that and General Biedenbender only became an unwilling accomplice after being outwitted by the infamous Papa Bear. But has anyone ever wondered what plan Allied High Command concocted to keep General Biedenbender, and others like him, from possibly escaping and spilling the beans to the German government about Papa Bear and his operation?

What was it that Allied High Command did, on their end, to keep our Heroes safe? Well, this Game is our attempt to explain how Allied Command played their part.

We again do not make any claims on the original Hogan’s Heroes’ characters. All other characters are ours.  But again, those characters are free for anyone to use, if you so choose.

Our special thanks goes to Lauren, Linda and Maryn for their help in beta-ing this Game.
Thanks ladies!

Our rating for this story would be PG-13.

Away Game

The secret of successful managing is to keep the five guys who hate you, away,
from the four guys who haven’t made up their minds.
Casey Stengel
Chatanika, Alaska, 35 Miles Northeast of Fairbanks,
Camp Bear Run, Allied Top Secret Detainment Facility,
January 27, 1944, 0730 Hours

“Good morning, Colonel Marshall,” Lieutenant Dan Kelley said as he entered his commander’s office. “I’ve just talked to Major Crenshaw, sir. Everything is on schedule. And hopefully, as long as the weather continues to cooperate, our supply plane should hit the tarmac in thirty minutes. And Major Crenshaw did confirm twenty-one new recruits aboard, sir.”

“Thanks, Kelley,” Colonel Dennis Marshall responded. “It’s about time Allied High Command got more men here. We’ve been operating understaffed for weeks. This facility has been picking up way too many new detainees recently.” Marshall looked down at his desk and haphazardly picked up a stack of papers in front of him. “We’re going to need all the help we can get, especially if these detainee numbers keep going up.” Shaking his head and dropping the papers back to his desk, he openly sighed, “Let’s just hope twenty-one men will be enough, at least for a while. There’s still a lot of war left to fight.”

“I’m sure it will all work out sir,” Kelley assured, and then added snidely, “It’s not like our detainees can actually escape sir. With us feeding the local bear population, they’d be eaten before they made it one hundred yards from the camp perimeter. And even if they made it past the bears, they’d freeze to death within hours outside at this time of year.” Quickly the Lieutenant’s own demeanor slid from bad to worse as he thought about the long days and nights that he’d experienced since arriving. He sighed, “Not to mention, there’s just no place for them to go, with us being way out here in the middle of no man’s land.”

“Don’t put all your cubs in one den, Lieutenant,” Marshall reprimanded, although truly understanding how the kid felt. “We’ve got the summer months coming up. Our polar bears will be heading farther north toward Prudhoe Bay when the warmer weather rolls in. And even though our grizzly bears wander in from the Mount McKinley area during the summer months, we have to be ready for anything because the chance of an escape increases with the warm weather. And it’s not as if our detainees are the dregs of society. We have some very dangerous, some very intelligent, and some very devious people incarcerated here. All of whom are still quite loyal to the Fatherland. We just can’t take any chances.  If just one of them escapes… this war could take a drastic turn for the worse with what they know.”

Marshall paused and looked very seriously into the eyes of his Lieutenant. “I don’t have to remind you of how important it is that no one ever escapes from Camp Bear Run, do I?”

“No, sir, you don’t.” Kelley accepted the reprimand, but unable to refrain from sighing he continued, “But I’m sorry, sir.  It just feels like none of us are ever going to leave this place. The days and nights seem so endless here.”

Colonel Marshall got up from behind his desk, walked around until he was face-to-face with his young aide. Putting a hand to his shoulder he sympathized, “That’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one, Kelley. But remember… we did all volunteer for this duty.” Marshall paused and smirked, “Well sort of…” Shaking his head, he continued, “In any case, we should all just be glad that we are not sitting on our asses, wasting away, in any of those German POW Camps. At least here, we have the upper hand, and we can be proud that we’re doing something that is helping more of our guys get out of Germany.”

Marshall took his hand from the younger man’s shoulder and made a small and quick palm open swipe of his cheek. “Okay?”

“Of course sir,” Kelley answered, a little embarrassed that he let his guard down in front of his commanding officer. Kelley knew well that Colonel Marshall had been here since the inception of this facility. And he, himself, should have known better than to complain. Because if anyone has the right to complain it’s the Colonel, not me…I have no one waiting for me, but the Colonel has a big family back home…a wife and four girls. Not that others here don’t have families, but I only ever get to see the Colonel’s face when he lets his guard down and stares forlornly at that picture on his desk. Only he doesn’t know I’ve seen him… and would never admit to doing it… as he tries too hard to keep morale up here for everyone else.

“Good,” Marshall continued. “So, shall we go meet our new recruits? At the very least, we’ll get to hear twenty-one more fairy tale escape stories over dinner for the next week or so. It should break up the winter monotony for everyone. Huh? What do you say?”

Kelley finally smiled, his own emotions once again boosted by the Colonel’s eternal upbeat demeanor. He quickly walked across the office, opened the door, and waved his commanding officer out into the corridor. “After you sir?”

“Good man,” the Colonel praised as he straightened up, and put his command face on. He grabbed his overcoat, exited his office, and was now ready to welcome his twenty-one recruits to their new home base.

Only a short time later…
Colonel Marshall stood just inside the closed and dimly lit hangar bay that lead to the only airstrip at Camp Bear Run. He watched the small runway lights come on, blink eerily in the darkness, and cast their glowing multi-color beacons onto the snowfields beyond. It was the signal that their supply plane was now circling directly overhead. Using binoculars he searched the blackened skies for the plane’s own running lights to appear, fully aware that procedure called for all approaches to Camp Bear Run to be cloaked in darkness and secrecy, until the last possible moment.
Marshall couldn’t wait until the plane hit the ground and the big doors closed behind it after the huge bulk of an aircraft taxied into the hangar. For then, the lights encircling the entire hangar bay would illuminate the plane as if it were a Christmas tree, and his men would rush, as if still children, to find those special holiday presents hidden under that tree. Although in reality of course, finding the always precious supplies that Camp Bear Run needed to keep it functioning. But it was a sight that the Colonel always enjoyed, just one small pleasure reaped from the long hours of darkness that enveloped them during the winter months. And today we even get the help we’ve been waiting for.
As the explosion of light swathed the hangar, the Colonel handed off the binoculars to his aide, and with an air of authority, made sure he appeared presentable by tugging on his overcoat and finally taking his position near the plane’s personnel exit.  Waiting patiently on his new arrivals, he knew full well that he’d now, as always, have to first deal with their disorientation before offering them any insights into their new duty station. For it had always been that no one who volunteered for this duty, ever knew precisely what this duty entailed, nor did they even know where they might be headed when they left London, or for that matter, why they were even first approached to volunteer for this duty station. The only thing they were told was that they’d be incommunicado from family, friends, and loved ones for the duration of this assignment, for however long this assignment lasted. Which Marshall knew meant that Allied High Command had everyone stationed at Camp Bear Run listed as ‘missing in action’ for the folks back home.

But volunteer was still the word Allied High Command preferred to use to explain it. And Marshall had to admit that it did hold true for the most part, as all the men assigned to Camp Bear Run, have consistently appeared to be the gung-ho types, with the unconventional always seeming to be more of a draw for them than the conventional. They are most certainly the men who would have volunteered for this job, if they had known what they were volunteering for. Marshall laughed to himself. Which has certainly helped make my job easier…

And that’s because security at Camp Bear Run was of the utmost importance, and even though screening eligible candidates was a tedious and slow process for Allied High Command, their hard work in finding just the right people for this duty had paid off immeasurably, so far. Not one of the detainees being held at Camp Bear Run had ever escaped, and even though Marshall had to admit, that the many miles of barren landscape surrounding them – not to mention the bears – had something to do with that… he still believed that it was the instantaneous camaraderie of all his men that had even more to do with it. Once each of our new arrivals finds out what they have in common with every other person here… there has never been a problem, only an immediate acceptance of each other… and of our cause. I can only hope it stays that way as the size of our prison population keeps growing.

The Colonel couldn’t help but smile inwardly now though, as his new arrivals, who seemed to be getting younger and younger as time went on, disembarked and formed rank. Hell Rob, you keep doing your job sending these boys home… and I swear to you I’ll keep doing my job… “Welcome to Chatanika Alaska, Gentlemen,” he began as he came forward to shake the hand of his second-in-command, Major Mark Crenshaw. He whispered a barely audible, “Welcome back, Mark.”

At Mark’s silent nod, the Colonel continued with his well-rehearsed welcome speech… “My name is Colonel Dennis Marshall, and I’m the Commanding Officer of this facility. Camp Bear Run is what we, who make our home here, call it.” Marshall began to walk up and down as if to inspect his troops, but continued with his welcome speech as he walked, truly only wanting to look into the eyes of each of his new arrivals. He found he could tell a lot about a man through his eyes, especially when that man was dealing with a rush of sensory input. “I know you weren’t told anything about your destination, and I’m fairly certain that Major Crenshaw here did his damndest to keep you from thinking too much about it, as well,” Marshall smirked. “But now that you are safely ensconced under my roof, you get to hear the whole story.”

Marshall stopped his inspection, once again pleased with his newcomers, and took a position directly in front of them. “I’m sure each of you has silently taken in as much information as you could about those men that accompanied you on that long plane ride. I know you probably couldn’t help but notice the varied ranks, and multi-national uniforms of those on board. You’ll find that Camp Bear Run has a very unique mix of personnel… but there is one thing that makes you all the same, and makes you all the perfect additions to this duty station…”

The Colonel took a minute to glance around knowing that those of his men working in the hangar -- would just now -- be stopping what they were doing to hear the final explanation given to their new arrivals. “You see, you all share a common bond… it would seem that each of you has made a successful escape, of fairy tale proportions, out from behind enemy lines… am I right?” Marshall smiled as he quickly scanned the faces of his recruits and saw the look in each man’s eyes. He wanted to laugh as he watched each man glanced sideways to take in the face of his closest companion.  But Marshall also saw what he had expected to see, an immediate drop in the tension level, and a silent bond springing up almost out of nowhere.

“Well, Gentlemen,” the Colonel continued. “Please know that you are not alone in your commonality. Every man stationed here at Camp Bear Run, including myself, owes the same debt of gratitude to Papa Bear and his operation.” Marshall again began to pace in front of his newcomers. “So what brings you here, you ask. Well, Camp Bear Run is the place where you can repay that debt to Papa Bear.  Our facility holds just over one hundred VIP detainees at the moment, all of whom, if they ever escaped from here could crush all that Papa Bear has wrought in Germany. All of the detainees being held here were captured and transferred to us through Papa Bear’s organization. They all know too much about that operation and it is our job to make sure that none of what they know ever makes it out of Camp Bear Run. The life of everyone working for Papa Bear depends on us doing our jobs.”

Marshall stopped abruptly and asked, in no uncertain terms of those men standing in front of him… “Can I count on each of you to do that job well?” When Marshall only heard a few men reply quietly, he repeated extra loudly, “I asked if I could count on each of you to do that job well!”

“Yes, sir!” was the unanimous reply.

And then as expected in response, Marshall’s men already in the hangar broke out in thunderous applause and whistles to welcome their new comrades. When the dust finally settled, Marshall continued, “Thank you, Gentlemen. Again, welcome to Camp Bear Run. I will now return you to the care of Major Crenshaw. He and my aide, Lieutenant Kelley, will get you settled and help get you acclimated to your new home away from home. Dismissed.”

Satisfied, Colonel Marshall escaped from the hangar and made his way back to his office, needing to get ready for today’s detainee inspection. It had become his practice to tour each detainee’s cell every other day, so he himself could keep an eye on the treatment of those detainees.  As it was now though, that inspection took up most of the morning, and sometimes went late into the afternoon depending on his level of satisfaction with what he saw. With over one hundred detainees, each in solitary confinement, the job had gotten larger than he ever anticipated… But, like I said before… you keep doing your job Rob, and I’ll keep doing mine. You send me whomever you need to, we’ll make room, and we’ll keep them under wraps as long as you need us too.

And I promise you that this place will never turn into the pigsty where I left you. I know that’s the last thing you would want for anyone.

Somewhere in the skies between Hammelburg, Germany, and London, England,
On board a captured German bomber being secreted into Allied airspace,
February 10, 1944, 2345 Hours

General Rudolph Biedenbender, hands and legs shackled behind him, and attached to the bench on which he sat in the cargo area of his personal transport plane, or make that, what used to be his personal transport, could no longer tell how long he’d been on board, for he was in excruciating pain and was becoming slightly disorientated, but yet not enough to let his captors see his weakness. Not that they’re even still watching you, Rudy. Quite the ego boost for a Luftwaffe General, huh?

The General had tried in vain to keep the pain at bay, but an old, and occasionally troublesome injury to his spine was rearing its ugly head as he sat unable to move or even stretch on the hard metal bench. For what seemed like an eternity now, agonizing spasms had been shooting through his body. Rudolph could only sit resigned to his fate, knowing that when the time came to stand and face his captors, he would not be able to do so. Only one more disgrace to face tonight. What will it really matter? My life is over. Over because of that devil Hogan, who if I have indeed heard the pilot’s communication with London correctly, is also the one and only Papa Bear.

A laugh of pure pity for himself escaped the German General because early in the war Colonel Robert Hogan had been the bane of Rudy Biedenbender’s existence.  From the very beginning, he had always felt two steps behind the American squadron leader during their generally brief, but intense, battles. And even when his fighters and Hogan’s squadron squared off evenly matched, Rudolph always came away feeling the loser, for his men were never able to best the American and his squadron. They had indeed come close a few times, but never enough to declare a decisive victory.

As another spasm of pain hit, Rudolph again let out a pitiful laugh, for he couldn’t help but be reminded of the night Hogan’s fighter escort grounded him for good. Rudolph, alone, after having pounded on and separated Hogan’s bomber from the rest of his squadron, thought that he had finally bested the American. He followed behind his nemesis, watching what he thought was the American turning his tail to run. But then, just as he had the bomber in his sights for the final onslaught… out of the blue, two of Hogan’s fighter escort appeared, and apparently made mincemeat out of his own fighter.

At least that was what I was told. All Biedenbender really remembered after seeing those fighter pilots close in on him, was waking in the hospital, and being told he would quite possibly never walk again. His fighter had been hit by a lot of flying shrapnel that night and he was just plain lucky to be alive. At least, that’s what the doctors assured me. It wasn’t until Rudy was finally told that he was on the road to recovery, and would recover enough to walk, but probably never fly again, that a spark of anger at the American sent him down a road that he thought would lead him to glory, but had instead led him to his present predicament. Biedenbender had spent every waking hour of his recovery learning everything he could about the American, meticulously planning how Colonel Robert Hogan would be eliminated. 

Eliminated? I couldn’t even do that right! Eh. Was it really only hours ago, that I was force-feeding my ego down Robert Hogan’s throat? Or more to the point… Papa Bear’s throat? How quickly my life has changed.

Biedenbender sighed remembering having been in awe that the American had survived the onslaught of firepower that was leveled at his bomber that night over Hamburg. So much so, that the then Colonel Biedenbender, had followed the American’s progress after he was captured and transferred to a relocation camp in Bad Kissingen. His reasons… that he would only ever admit to himself… were maybe to show a little respect to a worthy opponent, and to see, as a curiosity, the eyes of the man finally beaten. It was there, after only observing from a distance and never actually confronting Hogan, that he pushed his superiors to accept his own ideas for Hogan’s internment as a POW, especially since he knew those superiors were very pleased that his long and hard study of Colonel Hogan’s tactics had paid off.

I thought I knew Hogan so well. How blind could I have been?

I should have just let the Gestapo deal with the bastard after my men were finally able to shoot him down. But no, you egomaniac, you convinced the Gestapo and the Luftwaffe High Command that an interrogation would garner nothing more than you could already tell them about the American.

Oh, what a fool I was… So instead of doing the Fatherland a great service by removing the menacing squadron leader from the skies… I now see what I set loose on the Fatherland… the most infamous spy the war has known…

Don’t send him to an Officer’s Camp, I encouraged.  He’d only escape, I said. I know his biggest weakness… it’s his men. Give him men to be responsible for. That would keep him out of the way permanently, I explained. Hogan would never leave the men under his command. Send him to a Luft Stalag, I proposed. There must be some Kommandant out there having trouble gaining control of his prison’s populace. It would be the best place for a man like Hogan, I assured. It would take time for him to gain the men’s trust, I said. We can even send that token Negro navigator of his along with him. Let him try to protect the Negro from the racist among his own allies. He’ll be so busy trying to make things right, that he’d never be heard from again.

At least, that is what I thought.
Another bought of pitying laughter escaped him, only this time he expected it would be his last laugh. He heard the plane’s landing gear and knew that his life was now forfeit.  He knew that he could never go back to Germany, because to the Fatherland, he was now a traitor and a saboteur. And to his children… he was now only bequeathing a legacy of dishonor, knowing that humiliation would follow his sons for the rest of their lives. Forgive me Karl…Manheim. I only hope someday that you will know the truth of my disappearance.

Although, to the Allies, Rudolph Biedenbender knew that he would never stoop to becoming an informant, instead he would willingly go to his grave with what he knew. I can die, knowing that I was loyal to the Fatherland. But I will also leave this world knowing that many of my countrymen died, and will die still, because of my own pompous ego where Colonel Robert Hogan was concerned. It’s only fitting then, that I will die in disgrace, in obscurity, and in a land far from my home.

But how am I to die? Can I trust that the Allies will do the job, when I do not cooperate?

Or will it be up to me to find my own way to hell?

Rudolph knew his answer would become apparent soon when another jolt of pain shot through him like a knife as his plane touched down and continued with a rough taxiing over a long and terribly potholed runway. Rudolph found that he had been holding his breath, exhaling only as the plane finally came to a stop. Staring at the floor in a self-pitying preoccupation and still trying to fight the pain, he only looked up after hearing the sounds of boots scratching on the metal deck plates. He watched silently as one of the pilots, who supplied him nothing more than a look of pure hatred, walked by him toward the plane’s side hatch, opened it, and stood back as four men in darkly clad clothes rushed in.

Before Rudolph Biedenbender knew what happened, he’d been blindfolded and felt the rush of something cold enter his body. Rudolph’s last conscious thought was… I welcome death. Only little did the General know how disappointed he’d be, in just a few hours.

Hammelburg, Germany, Luft Stalag 13,
Barracks Two, Colonel Hogan’s Quarters,
February 15, 1944, 2215 Hours

Colonel Hogan awoke startled to see a dark figure sitting straddled haphazardly on the stool in front of his desk, “Who is it?” he asked as his eyes adjusted to the dimness in the room. “What are you doing here, soldier?” Hogan demanded, never having had his privacy interrupted, unless by his senior staff. Or the Germans…

“So that’s how you welcome an old friend, Rob?” Captain Mike Barrows accused sarcastically, but with a huge smile plastered on his face. “You’re looking pretty good, you know. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” Mike Barrows jumped up from the stool and walked to stand by the bunk where his old friend lay propped up on one elbow. Reaching out his hand, Mike said, “Aren’t you gonna even say hi?”
Hogan plopped himself to the floor never acknowledging the out stretched hand, nor even acknowledging the man offering it. The Colonel went to the door of his office and opened it to see a quiet and sleeping barracks. Confused, he turned back, and asked suspiciously, “I don’t understand Mike. What are you doing here? How’d you get past my guys?”

As Mike Barrows stood silently smiling at his old friend, a shiver of pure dread ran through Hogan’s spine as the impossibility of this odd meeting suddenly became clear. Immediately beginning to hyperventilate, Hogan spouted, “My God, Mike, you can’t be here. You just can’t. What the hell’s going on?” With sweat popping out on his forehead, Hogan turned back toward his office door, with the hope of waking Kinch… for he was now sure that he was losing his mind.
“Whoa Buddy,” Mike reached out to stop Hogan from moving. “It’s okay. Relax. Really. I’m sorry I spooked ya.” Mike Barrows let out a big belly laugh, but when he saw his friend’s face he sighed. “Wrong choice of words I guess.” Mike reached out to shake Rob’s hand, but instead pulled him into a big bear hug. “I just came by to say thanks… and to tell you… that I do forgive you.”

Rob’s world began to spin wildly out of control…
Suddenly he was in the German countryside surrounded by the sounds of gunfire. He could hear German voices getting closer and closer.  There were bombs reigning down all over. And Hogan could hear a massive firefight still raging overhead. He knew he needed to run to keep from being captured, but he found he couldn’t pull himself away from holding onto the broken, bleeding, and pain-racked body of his co-pilot and friend Mike Barrows. “It’ll be okay Mike,” Hogan spluttered anxiously to the dying man in his arms, trying desperately to comfort and come up with a plan to save him, but knowing in his heart there was no more time left.  And seeing that Mike too, knew that the end was near… and that he had only more one question left in his eyes for his friend. How am I to die?
“Colonel, we gotta go,” Hogan heard Sergeant Kinchloe say anxiously. “There’s nothing more we can do.”
Mike, looking squarely up into Rob’s eyes, barely croaked out a painful, “Please don’t leave me Rob. You promised…” And as if he knew what was to come, Mike Barrows, with what strength he had left, turned his face away from his friend and closed his eyes tightly.
With his hands shaking, Rob quietly reached down and gently pulled a switchblade from Mike’s boot, a blade that Rob knew his friend had kept there for this express purpose. Only, Rob had hoped never to have to use it. But he had made a promise. With sorrow eating away at him, he quickly made a long and deep slash into Mike’s throat. As the blood spurted and Mike Barrows’ life ended, Rob let the blade drop from his hand and asked only one thing of his friend, “Please forgive me Mike.”

Quickly then, Hogan stood saying, “Let’s go, we’re out of here,” and bolted, along with Sergeant Kinchloe, trying to avoid the German patrols combing the woods for them.
Only when the enemy suddenly surrounded them…

Hogan swore and awoke in a sweaty panic, in his barracks at Luft Stalag 13. “God damn it. Not again.” Every night for almost a week now he’d woken to what he had hoped had become a long ago and forgotten memory. Well maybe not forgotten, but at least buried deep in the recesses of his mind. And then that bastard Biedenbender had to show up here.

Wiping the sweat from his face, Hogan jumped down from his bunk and went to sit at his desk, unsure of what to do to rid himself of memories from the night he was shot down over Hamburg. He just didn’t have the time now to remember the many men that died that night. He had to forget and move on. He had too much to do and too many lives depending on him now.  Rob Hogan knew that if he dwelled too much on the past, he would not be able to face the future. He was terrified that the memories would paralyze him from making the decisions he had to make now to keep his operation running.

God, help me.

A quiet knock, and Kinch’s voice, interrupted his contemplations. “Colonel Hogan, sir. Is everything all right?”

Sighing, Hogan got up and opened the door into the main barracks. Feeling the eyes of the men on him, and knowing that they must have overheard something of his nightmare, he apologized, “Sorry. Didn’t mean to wake you fellas. Everything’s fine. Go back to bed.” As the Colonel went to make a hasty retreat back into his quarters, Kinch’s hand stopped the door from closing tightly.

“Colonel, can I talk to you, sir? It’s important.”

Hogan wanted desperately to tell Kinch to take his important conversation and shove it, as he suspected that his second in command was just worried about him, and that he had nothing operationally important to discuss. But the commanding officer in him had to make sure… “Of course, Kinch,” Hogan replied swinging the door open and waving Kinchloe into his quarters. “What’s up?”

As Kinch turned to face his commanding officer after having closed the office door behind him, he said quietly, “I’m sorry, Colonel. It’s just that the guys are worried about you. Ever since Biedenbender…”

“That’s enough, Kinch,” Hogan interrupted. “I just said everything was fine. Go back to bed.” Hogan turned from his Sergeant, expecting to hear his office door to open and close. When it didn’t, he turned back toward Kinch with a reprimand, “I said everything is fine. You’re dismissed.”

“No, sir,” Kinch stated purposely, knowing that he was going to have to force the issue to break through his commanding officer’s stubborn streak.

“What do you mean, ‘No, sir’?” Hogan demanded. “You’re treading a fine line, Sergeant. You…”

“Come on, Colonel,” Kinch interrupted. “The guys are really worried. It didn’t take long for the whole camp to know about Biedenbender being responsible for shooting you down. And ever since then, you’ve been waking up at all hours of the night. I’m sorry, Colonel, but the men hearing you yell in the middle of the night, and that’s been every night for the last five nights, just hasn’t been good for morale.”

Colonel Hogan just sighed and plunked himself on the stool by his desk. “Did you tell them anything?”

“No, sir,” Kinch assured. “Everyone has their own memories of being shot down. They didn’t seem to want to know the details, unless you wanted to tell them yourself. They’re just worried. And since everyone knows I was there, they just wanted me to talk to you. To see if I could help.” Kinch paused. “Can I?”

Hogan shook his head in despair. With a sigh, he said, “I thought I’d put that night behind me, Kinch. So many of our guys died that night. Too many. I should have been able to do more. And then to have Biedenbender, in my face, explaining how it was only me he was after…” Hogan stood and paced the small office. “Those men died because of my pompous ego, nothing more. If I hadn’t been such a hotshot, they might still be alive. I should be the only one dead, Kinch.”

“I understand how you feel Colonel,” Kinch assured. “I was there, remember. I watched most of those men drop, one by one, as our bomber was shot full of holes. But I know that those men would never blame you for what happened. Granted, I wasn’t a popular addition to your crew at first, with hardly anyone even talking to me, but I could easily tell, even then, that they’d all follow you to hell.”

When Hogan sighed and dropped his head to stare at the floor, Kinch continued adamantly, “And they’d be proud that it took the combined firepower of almost an entire fighter squadron to outmaneuver you.”

“Yeah, well, they’re still dead,” Hogan said angrily. “And we’re not. What made the two of us any different?”

“Well if you asked Captain Barrows,” Kinch started and saw the pain flare in the Colonel’s eyes. “Sorry, I know how tough that was for you… But if you asked him, he would have told you that he expected you to succeed in something far beyond that of just a squadron leader.” Kinch sighed. “I know he never said anything about that to you, but he made damn sure that I knew what he thought.” Kinch walked over and plopped himself on the bottom bunk and shook his head negatively. “Captain Barrows so hated me Colonel. He hated the color of my skin. He hated that I took Kelsey’s place as navigator. He just plain hated Negroes.”

“Kinch, I…” Hogan started.

Kinch held up his hand, “It’s okay. I know you didn’t know. Captain Barrows never openly did or said anything to me, and for the most part kept the other guys from getting out of hand until the uproar over the whole issue settled. And I know that’s what you saw, and honestly, I respected him for that. But you see, he and I had a conversation the day I took over for Kelsey…”

Kinch stood to face his commanding officer. “He explained how much he hated me, and that if he had his choice he would prefer to die than to work with a Negro. But he also made sure I knew, that since you, Robert Hogan, for whatever reason, fought hard to get me as part of your team, that that meant I was worth something. He promised me that nothing more would ever be said between us, and that he would do his duty, even if that duty meant giving his life to save mine. But he made sure that I understood clearly that he was only doing that out of loyalty to you.”

When Kinch saw Hogan react surprised to that statement, he continued quietly, “It was what he said next though, that really threw me for a loop. He explained, that somehow he knew, that you and me together, in the future, would be doing something even more important for the war effort… and then almost in the same breathe said, that he knew, that he would not be at your side in that future.”

Kinch sighed when he saw the confusion of pain, sorrow, and anger appear in the Colonel’s eyes. “I’m sorry, Colonel. I know the Captain was a good friend. And I can only imagine that his death is what you’ve been dreaming about.” Kinch paused. “Please don’t let my relationship with him tarnish any of your good memories of that friendship. He was the best of friends to you, loyal to a fault. So much so, that he, truly believing in what he thought was to be your future, made me promise to stay connected at the hip to you for the rest of the war, regardless of what happed to him.”

After a long pause, Hogan only offered a quiet, “And here we are.”

“Yeah, and here we are,” Kinch repeated. “So maybe there was a reason…”

Chatanika, Alaska, 35 Miles Northeast of Fairbanks,
Camp Bear Run, Allied Top Secret Detainment Facility,
March 5, 1944, 1230 Hours

Colonel Dennis Marshall sat at his desk leafing through the dossier of one Rudolph Biedenbender. Age forty-five, born in Frankfurt. A widower and father of two teenage boys. A former fighter pilot and a Luftwaffe General. And the Administrator of the Luftwaffe’s Pilot Research Program, a program that attempted to confirm the superiority of Luftwaffe Pilots over their Allied counterparts, by using Allied POWs as guinea pigs in experiments designed specifically so the Allied POWs would fail. Or at least that is what Papa Bear wrote in his report. Although it appears, that in terms of his research, nothing more than damaging a few egos for propaganda purposes occurred. No mistreatment of POWs happened under Biedenbender’s watch, I guess. Well that scores you one brownie point, General.

Although, how Dennis Marshall would score the rest of Biedenbender’s dossier, he wasn’t sure. When Dennis read that Biedenbender’s claim to fame was orchestrating the downfall of one Colonel Robert Hogan, the then incredibly successful squadron leader of the 504th bomber squadron out of Fieldstone… he at the same time wanted to both strangle and thank the man.

Dennis Marshall remembered well when word of Robert Hogan and his squadron’s decisive losses came into Fieldstone that night. It had sent the morale of the whole base plummeting.  For up until that point, not one other pilot, friend and competitor alike, ever thought Robert Hogan would be lost in battle. I know that was a stupid way to think, but Rob always got what he wanted, when he wanted, and was considered one of the luckiest bastards anyone ever knew. So for him to fall, it just caused a demoralizing ripple effect throughout the base. Most definitely a bad luck omen for everyone left behind.

But of course, with what Marshall knew now, he would have had to thank the Luftwaffe General. For without him… Papa Bear would not now be wreaking havoc on the Third Reich. Nor would he, Dennis Marshall, have his job right now, he’d actually be dead. Marshall had been given a new lease on life after taking a beating from a hard landing after bailing from his fighter. And he has only ever remembered coming to in a damp tunnel, with Robert Hogan’s face in his, saying, “You know Dennis, you’re not supposed to land on your face after ejecting from your plane. I know they taught that to you at flight school.”

You were always a comedian, Rob.

But actually it was lucky for Marshall that he had been found by Papa Bear’s men quickly. Because with the injuries he sustained, he would never have survived the cold German winter weather for long. He knew he would have been dead in just hours after bailing. As it was, it took him three weeks in the tunnels under Stalag 13 to recouperate enough to be moved. He owed Papa Bear his life. And he felt that, at least now, he was paying back some of that debt.

Marshall leaned his chair back up against the wall behind his desk, his mind turning back to the man known as Rudolph Biedenbender. The notes from the man’s interrogations while being held by Allied High Command showed a reserved man, a man seemingly resigned to his fate, but one also fiercely loyal to his country. Not one bit of information was garnered from him. Although, the conclusion of his interrogators was, that this officer, even though a General in charge of a huge research project, was no more than a Nazi ‘third stringer’. A man more important to himself than to the Fatherland is how they put it.

Marshall himself, although only seeing the man through his dossier, thought that assessment to be a little harsh. Overall to him, he saw a man loyal to his country, and a man doing his job. He also saw a man who had his world crushed… because the ‘best’ man had won. What would the man capable of taking down Robert Hogan have been like? Actually I should be asking, what would the man that found out he had given free reign to Papa Bear have been like? It makes me think of two different people, one very dangerous and one very naive.

Honestly though, who in his right mind, could have predicted Robert Hogan doing what he’s done. I remember how shocked I was to find out. What would I have felt like in Biedenbender’s place?

Colonel Marshall shook his head in anger knowing that now he had to deal with the knowledge that he’d never get the answers to his questions. Marshall had been expecting to conduct Rudolph Biedenbender’s interment interview today, but that was now no longer in the cards. Word came in from London, very early this morning, that the General and been found dead in his cell, crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood, when Marshall’s own Major Crenshaw had gone to begin the transfer that would have started the General on way to Camp Bear Run. It seems that late last night Rudolph Biedenbender had hung himself, or more accurately according to Crenshaw’s report, nearly decapitated himself, as somehow the man had gotten hold of enough gardening wire to fashion a hangman’s noose. And although the wire apparently wasn’t quite strong enough to support the General’s weight for long, it had been enough to do the job intended.

How the General got hold of the wire was still officially under investigation, although according to Crenshaw the place where Biedenbender was being held was an old deserted mansion, where detainee’s cells were converted bedrooms, and where exercise periods for those detainees took place in the enclosed garden areas surrounding the mansion… 

Goddamn it. The whole incident made Dennis Marshall angry. He and his men had worked so hard here at Camp Bear Run making sure that nothing like that could happen. Granted, that sometimes made life a little tougher on the detainees, not to mention on his own men. But he took his job seriously. And had long ago made a silent promise to Rob Hogan that he would always take that job seriously. Marshall just hated the fact that such a thing could happen only hours before Rudolph Biedenbender was to be transferred into his custody. Especially since I get the impression that Rudolph Biedenbender was really only doing what he thought was his duty. And that’s just not something that should be punishable by suicide. The Colonel sighed as he closed the Luftwaffe General’s dossier.

Marshall then hollered, “Kelley,” to get his aide’s attention through his closed door.

Almost by the time the Colonel had finished calling his name, Lieutenant Kelley appeared, “You needed me for something sir?”

“Yeah,” Marsh said holding up General Biedenbender’s dossier in his hand. “This record has got to go back to London with Major Crenshaw on his next trip. With all the last minute confusion over the General’s suicide, no one remembered that it had already been packed away with everything else coming here.”

“Of course, sir,” Kelley replied quickly, knowing better than to make any other comment, because in all honesty, the Colonel should not have been looking at what had become a ‘sealed’ record. He took the folder and began a retreat to his own office, only to remember that he did have something important to ask of Colonel Marshall. Stopping before making his exit, he turned back and said, “Excuse me, Colonel.”

“Yes, Lieutenant?”

“Just a small bit of camp business, sir.”

“What is it Kelley?” Marshall asked a little frustrated, preferring to be left alone at the moment.

“I’m sorry to be a pest, Colonel. But have you finished your letter yet?” Kelley asked sheepishly, knowing that he hadn’t yet seen his commanding officer writing that letter this week, and knowing that when his commanding officer did start to write something, there were usually draft letters all over his desk.

“Damn, Kelley. I haven’t had time,” Colonel Marshall responded a little guiltily. “Just take me off the list this week, okay? I promise I’ll have something next week.” When Marshall saw the crestfallen face of his aide, all he said was, “What?”

“Nothing. I’m sorry sir,” Kelley replied, and then sighed, “It’s just that your letter would put us over the top this week, one-hundred percent compliance for the staff. It would be the first time since we started this whole mail-call scenario.”

“Oh,” Colonel Marshall replied even more guiltily, especially knowing how hard Kelley and his team had worked creating the camp’s letter swapping project. Granted, at first, the men were skeptical about writing down their thoughts for others in camp to see, but with Kelley’s insistence that the letters be anonymous, and randomly distributed among others participants, everyone has since found that they can enjoy getting mail this way, especially since it happens to be their only way to get mail. Though in some ways it has brought the men closer together, as they can express their thoughts, without anyone’s identity being revealed. “Give me an hour Kelley,” he smirked at his young and eager aide. “I promise I’ll have something ready. I don’t want to be the one messing up your percentages.”

“Thank you, sir,” Kelley said, a wide smile returning to his face. “One hour it is.”

“Oh, speaking of numbers… what are the detainee compliance percentages?” Marshall questioned, knowing that his detainees were far less enthusiastic about this letter swapping campaign than his own men. Not that I blame them. For the most part… they just don’t trust us, at all. Especially since they don’t get to intermingle with other detainees, and are only allowed interaction with my staff. Some of them are truly convinced that they are the only one’s being held here. And although that’s a slightly pompous perspective on their part… it does mean that we are doing our jobs, because solitary confinement here has to mean just that… solitary. We just can’t take any chances for a detainee conspiracy, of any type.  But it would be good for their morale, if more of them would agree to be involved, as the letters do offer a small change of pace to the monotony that is life at Camp Bear Run, however small that change might be.

“Sorry, sir,” Kelley explained. “They are only at twenty-nine percent compliance. They just don’t trust us. And they, most certainly, don’t like that we have to read their letters before they get distributed,” Kelley reported. “But those that are participating have been observed devouring the letters received. Though if you ask… they will tell you it means nothing.”

“Okay Kelley. That’s got to change,” Marshall ordered commandingly. “You and your team need to brainstorm, I want those detainee numbers up, understand?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Good man,” Marshall praised. “Dismissed Lieutenant.”

“Of course sir,” Kelley replied and then whispered just loud enough so the Colonel could hear before closing the office door… “You now only have 55 minutes, sir. I still need that letter.”

Damn. The kid never lets me get away with anything. Picking up a pen and finding a piece of paper, Marshall tried to come up with what to write about this week. Sometimes he wrote about his family back home in Indiana, sometimes about the pets he had growing up, and sometimes he wrote about what made him attend West Point. And occasionally, he’d write about some wild stunt that he and his fellow students pulled, while at West Point.

Oh okay, that’s it! I’ll write about the time Rob and I…

Dennis Marshall paused in mid-thought, guiltily second-guessing himself. Well maybe I won’t tell that story. I can’t be giving any crazy ideas to the young-ins here. Damn, what trouble I’d be in. Sorry guys, I guess that story will have to remain a memory, only to be shared at a victory dinner when this war is over.

And we can finally put an end to all the death and destruction.

Which can’t happen soon enough for me.

The End

Thanks for Reading
Patti and Marg
Sorry for the plethora of Author’s Notes below. But we had fun researching ideas for this story.

And a final note… has been notorious about automatically removing the URL’s to our Author’s Notes of late.  If this has occurred again, please know that it was unintentional on our part, as we certainly don’t want to take credit for someone else’s ideas.  If you are interested in looking up the websites we used for our Author’s Notes, please email us and we will gladly supply you with those URL’s.

School is in Session!

Author’s Note One:
Tuskegee Airmen

It was not our intention to tell the story of how Colonel Robert Hogan and Sergeant Ivan Kinchloe first met each other in this story, and we would prefer to leave that story for another time. But, we did want to pass along the facts below about the Tuskegee Airmen and to offer up a possible suggestion for that meeting.  We are going under the assumption that in the rush to activate the first all-black 99th fighter squadron in March of 1941, Congress sent a small unit from the 99th to Fieldstone with orders to make the necessary arrangements for the full squadron’s arrival. Only with all the political in-fighting back home, these men and woman sat on their duffs doing nothing as the battles raged around them.

At least until some of their number made their dissatisfaction known…

The first black students enrolled in the ‘Civilian Pilot Training Program’ at Tuskegee Army Airfield, which was part of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, completed their instruction in May 1940. But it wasn’t until March 22, 1941 that Congress activated the first all-black 99th Fighter Squadron. And then it took until May 31, 1943 before the 99th Fighter Squadron first arrived for active duty in North Africa, and that was only after much political in-fighting in the United States.
The Tuskegee Airman flew 15,533 sorties between May 31,1943 and June 9, 1945. None of the bombers they escorted were lost to enemy fighters. They won more than 850 medals, including 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, eight Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars, 744 Air Medals and clusters, and three distinguished unit citations. 
The Tuskegee Institute in Alabama was the only place that trained black Airmen. For every pilot, there were at least 10 black men and women on the ground in support roles including mechanics, medical technicians, administrative support and cooks. They were trained at Chanute Field in Illinois.
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Author’s Note Two:
Chatanika Alaska

Chatanika is located in Fairbanks North Star Borough at Mile 27.9 Steese Hwy north of Fairbanks.

Chatanika used to be the center of one of the richest placer gold districts in Alaska. There is still considerable gold mining activity in the area. Tailings from dredges in streams show past mining. The town was built in 1925 to support dredging operations by Fairbanks Exploration Co., which took at least $70 million out of the area.

Today, Chatanika is a gold camp resort. The gold camp is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Chatanika River is a clear-water Class II stream. A canoe trail starts near Cripple Creek and goes to Chatanika. There are Bureau of Land Management - Alaska and state campgrounds along the route. Recreational gold panning is popular in the area. In addition, the area is popular with winter-sports enthusiasts, summer hikers, and northern lights viewers.

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Author’s Note Three:
Sunrise and Sunset Times for Fairbanks, Alaska 1998
21st of Rise Set
Jan. 10:07 15:58
Feb. 8:27 17:44
Mar. 6:51 19:08
Apr. 4:54 20:48
May 3:09 22:29
Jun. 2:04 23:42
Jul. 3:16 22:26
Aug. 4:59 20:47
Sept. 6:32 18:55
Oct. 8:03 17:07
Nov. 9:46 15:28
Dec. 10:55 14:44

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Author’s Note Four:
Alaska’s “Interior” climate runs hot and cold

Winter’s bitter temperatures are replaced by balmy summers

The Interior -- home of Fairbanks and Denali National Park -- has rapid temperature swings, thunderstorms with hail and lightning, snow in the summer and other interesting conditions. Although winters can be extremely harsh, with temperatures around -60 degrees Fahrenheit for days at a time, Interior summers can have high temperatures over 90 degrees.

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Author’s Note Five:
A Few Facts about Polar Bear

How does a Polar Bear adapt to the Cold?

Polar bears are well-adapted to severe cold. Winter temperatures in the far north often plunge to -40° F or -50° F and can stay that way for days or even weeks. In January and February, the average temperature in the high Arctic is -29° F.  The Arctic stays black and fiercely cold for months on end. In the High Arctic, the sun sets in October and does not rise again until late February.

The word “Arctic” comes from the ancient Greek Arktikos, or “country of the great bear.” Though the Greeks had no knowledge of the polar bear, they named the region after the constellation Ursus Major, the Great Bear, found in the Northern Sky.

A thick layer of blubber (up to 4.5 inches thick) provides polar bears with such excellent insulation that their body temperature and metabolic rate remain the same even at -34°F.  A polar bear’s body temperature is 98.6°, which is average for mammals. On bitterly cold days with fierce winds, polar bears dig out a shelter in a snow bank and curl up in a tight ball to wait out the storm. When curled up in a ball, polar bears sometimes cover their muzzles -- which radiate heat -- with one of their thickly furred paws.

Polar bears know how to pack on the fat: A single bear can consume 100 pounds of blubber at one sitting. The polar bear’s compact ears and small tail also help prevent heat loss. Polar bears have two layers of fur for further protection from the cold. Polar bears have more problems with overheating than they do with cold. Even in very cold weather, they quickly overheat when they try to run.

Polar bears generally walk at a leisurely pace to keep from overheating. When a Norwegian scientist, Nils Oritsland, studied a polar bear on a treadmill, he found that his subject would move off for short periods of time at higher speeds and would sometimes lie down and refuse to walk at all!

Sources: Arctic Animals by Fred Bruemmer (McClelland and Stewart Limited, Toronto, 1986); Polar Bears by Ian Stirling (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1988); Biochemistry by Reginald H. Garrett and Charles M. Grisham (Saunders College Publishing).

How does a Polar Bear Communicate?

Polar bears communicate with each other through a combination of body language and vocalizations.  A deep growl serves as a warning to other bears. Growls are frequently employed to defend a food source. To beg food from another bear, a polar bear will approach slowly, circle around the carcass, and then meekly offer a nose-to-nose greeting.  Bears who observe proper manners are frequently allowed to share a kill.

When a polar bear wants to play, he communicates this to another bear by wagging his head from side to side.  An adult bear may also initiate a play session by standing on his hind legs, with chin lowered to his chest and front paws hanging by his side.  In adult bears such play sessions involve ritualized fighting or mock battles. Among polar bears, hissing and snorting signify aggression, as does a lowered head. An attacking polar bear will charge forward with head down and ears laid back. Submissive polar bears always move downwind of dominant bears. When a male approaches a female with cubs, she defends her young by rushing at him with a lowered head.

Angry polar bears communicate their displeasure with loud roars and growls.  A “chuffing” sound is a response to stress.  Mother bears scold their cubs with a low growl or a soft cuff.

Sources: Lords of the Arctic by Richard C. Davids (Macmillan Publishing, 1982); Polar Bear by Downs Matthews (Chronicle Books, 1993); Polar Bears by Nikita Ovsyanikov (Voyageur Press, 1996); Polar Dance by Thomas D. Mangelsen and Fred Bruemmer (Images of Nature, 1997).

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Author’s Note Six:
A few Facts about the Grizzly Bear (aka the Brown Bear)

In 1975, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the brown (grizzly) bear as a threatened species in the Lower 48 states, under the Endangered Species Act, meaning it is considered likely to become endangered. In Alaska, where there are estimated to be over 30,000 brown bears, they are classified as a game animal with regionally established regulations.
The brown bear is a large predator distinguished from black bears by a distinctive hump on the shoulders, a dished profile to the face, and long claws about the length of a human finger. Coloration is usually darkish brown but can vary from very light cream to black. The long guard hairs on their back and shoulders often have white tips and give the bears a “grizzled” appearance, hence the name “grizzly.”
Brown bears vary greatly in size. Adult males can weigh from 300 to 850 pounds while females weigh in between 200 and 450 pounds. The largest brown bears are found along the coast of Alaska and British Columbia, and islands such as Kodiak and Admiralty Islands. Here, because of a consistent diet of high protein salmon, males average over 700 pounds and females average about 450 pounds. European brown bears and brown bears from the interior of North America average about two-thirds the size of these large coastal brown bears. Despite this large size, brown bears are extremely agile and fast, reaching speeds of 35 to 40 mph.
Brown bears are found in a variety of habitats, from dense forests, to sub alpine meadows and arctic tundra. The brown bear is thought to have adapted to the life of a plains or steppe animal and was once common on the Great Plains of North America. Human encroachment has forced the remaining brown bear populations to select rugged mountains and remote forests that are undisturbed by humans.
Brown bears are found in North America, eastern and Western Europe, northern Asia and in Japan. In North America, brown bears are found in western Canada, Alaska, and in the states of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Brown bears have the widest distribution of any bear species and occupy a wide range of habitats. Historically, they could be found from Alaska to Mexico, California to Ohio.

Brown bears are omnivores and will eat both vegetation and animals. Grasses, sedges, roots, berries, insects, fish, carrion and small and large mammals are all part of a bear’s diet. In some areas they have become significant predators of large hoofed mammals such as moose, caribou and elk. In other areas a large, consistent supply of food like salmon have led to behavioral changes that allow large congregations of brown bears to share an abundant resource. The diet of brown bears varies depending on what foods are available in that particular season or habitat.
Bears live solitary lives except during breeding, cub rearing, and in those areas with a super-abundant food supply such as salmon streams. Brown bears hibernate during the winter for 5-8 months, depending on the location, and usually dig their dens on north-facing slopes to ensure good snow cover. Brown bears need to eat a lot in the summer and fall in order to build up sufficient fat reserves for surviving the denning period. This is particularly true for pregnant females who give birth to one-pound cubs and then nurse them to about 20 pounds before emerging from the den in April -May. All the time without eating or drinking a thing! These bears will defend their territories, and mothers are known for their ferocity in defending their cubs.
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Author’s Note Seven:
Mount McKinley National Park aka Denali National Park
& Preserve

Denali National Park & Preserve features North America’s highest mountain, 20,320-foot tall Mount McKinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. Denali’s more than 6 million acres also encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose.

The park was established as Mt. McKinley National Park on Feb. 26, 1917. The original park was designated a wilderness area and incorporated into Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980. The Park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1976.

Today the park accommodates a wide variety of visitor use including wildlife viewing, mountaineering, and backpacking. It continues to provide a laboratory for research in the natural sciences.

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Text and original characters copyright 2004 by Margaret Bryan, Patti Hutchins

This copyright covers only  original material and characters, and in no way intends to infringe upon the privileges of the holders of the copyrights, trademarks, or other legal rights, for the Hogan's Heroes universe.