Army posting led to romance
FLORENCE, S.C. -- After an unexpected change in course, Army veteran Bryan Bailey met the love of his life while stationed in Heilbronn, Germany.
Bailey was on the way to Korea when the Korean War ended. Bailey then stayed to work on the Army base in Heilbronn, where he met his future wife: Hildegunde Rieger.
Bailey ended up in the Army after being discharged three times: two times from the National Guard and once from the Army.
He enlisted again during the draft for the Korean War and was accepted. He was stationed in Germany, and two months after getting there, the Korean War ended. Bailey finished out his service in Germany doing various jobs on the base.
Bailey served in multiple positions, including as a prison guard in Stuttgart, Germany.
Bailey and some of his friends were going to the NCO club. Hildegunde was dating another GI. The GI accused him of trying to date her.
“There was nothing to it,” Bailey said. “So I told him, ‘Don’t ever accuse me of it again, because I don’t like being accused of anything.’”
Two weeks later, the GI accused him again.
“I went to her and asked for a date,” Bailey said. “From that day on, it was all right. I wound up with her.”
They married in April of 1955. According to Bailey, they were married four times: once by the burgomaster in Germany, another time on the post, again on their 25th anniversary and lastly on their 50th anniversary.
In 1956, they had a son. That same year, they moved back to the United States.
“We left Germany 1956 and came back to the States, and that is the end of the story,” Bailey said.
After coming back to the United States, Bailey left the service and worked as a mechanic. Bailey said he decided to not continue in the armed forces so he could raise a family.
Bailey said they didn’t have a lot of money, but they were a close family and were happy.
“We got along good,” he said.
The couple had five children: three girls and two boys.
Hildegunde died on July 11, 2013.
“I still miss her,” Bailey said. “I still choke up when I talk about her. ”