Many famous musicians have served in the armed forces, but it’s unlikely that any deployment to Europe influenced the history of rock ’n’ roll and country music as much as when Johnny Cash learned to play the guitar here.
At 19, Cash volunteered to join the Air Force during the Korean War. He left his native Arkansas for Texas to begin training, then spent most of his time in service stationed in Landsberg am Lech, in southern Bavaria, working as a Morse code interceptor.
The base at Landsberg, Germany, was the scene of heavy U.S. military activity in the decade following Word War II and was maintained into the 1980s. It is now a German air force base.
In 1951, unable to travel, away from friends and family and with only one phone call home allowed per year, the young Cash felt lonely and isolated from the world when he arrived in Landsberg, he would later say.