Remembering Colonel William Donald Schaefer

May 06, 2011

Most will remember the late William Donald Schaefer as Baltimore's mayor, Maryland's governor, and even the state's comptroller. But, I remember him most as Lt. Col. W.D. Schaefer, my executive officer in the 457th General Hospital and 2290th USA Hospital, reserve units out of Turners Armory.

Colonel Schaefer and I managed to transfer out of the 457th (into the new 100th Station Hospital) in 1961 just before the Berlin Wall crisis froze everyone in on active duty and called up about a quarter-million reservists and National Guard troops (including the 457th). Then, we managed to transfer back from the 100th to the newly created 2290th USA Hospital just before the 1962 Bay of Pigs crisis caused the same (including to the former 100th).

When I used to meet him — frequently on the streets of Baltimore, and occasionally at 2nd District Democratic Club events, and very less frequently at railroad negotiations — I would salute and address him as "Colonel Schaefer."

His invariable response was "At ease, Keene. We are off duty, and lucky SOBs at that."

Don Schaefer was truly a character, and that means both quirky and ethical. He will be missed.

"Taps" for my colonel.

Richard C. Keene, Neptune Beach, Fla.

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