Hackensack High School
Yearbook Photo


Thomas F. Meli was drafted into the Army in 1951-1953 during the
Korean War
. Stationed at Fort Dix , his company was to leave for Korea. As luck would have it they needed some men to be stationed in West Berlin. After being interviewed, the Army assigned him to be a military police officer and would be stationed in Berlin, Germany.

They landed in the American sector of Germany and took a train 110 miles through the Russian sector to Berlin . They were not allowed to pull the shades up and look out the train windows because the Russians did not want the Americans to see how many troops they had and where. All papers had to be in order or else the Russians would detain and harass you until it was straightened out. Tom Meli served in the area of West Berlin known as "Check Point Charlie”.

Tom Meli said: "Once we got to Berlin it was like Utopia compared to Korea. The Americans had the best of everything. We had beautiful ball fields, we stayed in a first class hotel room for two. "One of our jobs was to pull guard duty when all the entertainers came in like Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe. It was great!” Once in Berlin the Americans had 5000 thousand troops, while we were surrounded by 200,000 plus Russians troops in the Russian sector. Occasionally the Russians would make things difficult by setting up a machine gun on the auto bond so no one could drive out, so we would travel by plane or train. The Russians would always back off because they didn't want to start a war. We really didn't worry too much about the Russians because if they ever attacked us we didn't have a chance. Our main concern was our baseball games. I was also a mail clerk and in case of problems a radio operator which gave me access to a car. I had a great time while in service, there was nothing difficult about my service.” Tom Meli's first son was one year old when he returned from Berlin.

Written by:
Bob Meli, son of Thomas F. Meli
June 2007


Click here to view Friday November 5, 1965 The Record Newspaper front page article on Tom Meli's lumber business being destroyed by fire


Click here to view Wednesday August 7, 1968 Cover page of The Record Newspaper reporting on Tom Meli’s Lumberyard being destroyed by fire for the second time in only three years



Background image of the U.S. Army Fort Dix, NJ obtained from: