Home > Newspaper Articles > 1977 > May 26, 1977 (8:30 pm) Binghamton, NY.

CONCERT DATE: May 26, 1977 (8: 30 pm) Binghamton, NY.

Binghamton Man Served with Presley in Germany
by Gene Grey
The Evening Press
May 26, 1977

When Michael J. Jurbala goes to the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena tomorrow night to see Elvis Presley, it will be to see him perform.

The last time Jurbala saw the rock 'n' roll king, they were both wearing the insignia of the 32nd Armored Division, when they were stationed with the U.S. Army in Friedburg, Germany.

Jurbala, who lives at 1 Minerva St, Binghamton, said Presley was at the base about a year before Jurbala arrived in 1960, so they never became much more than nodding acquaintances, but they did cross each other's paths during their daily duties.

Jurbala was a tank driver and Presley drove a jeep. Presley was in a scout platoon.

"On Wednesdays, we had physical fitness, and we'd be playing whatever sport was in season - football or baseball. Presley played, too. I can't say he really excelled at any particular sport."

Jurbala said that when he joined the division, he soon knew that there was a star there, but he, like the other men in the division, never made a big deal of it. "Presley was a soldier, did his duties like everybody else, and that was about it. He never performed or anything like that," he said.

"I wrote my mother and sister that elvis was itheeh company, but that was about it. I never took his picture and I can't recall that any of the other guys did either. Nobody ran after him".

Presley's life was a bit different than the other soldiers', though, Jurbala recalled.

"He lived off base in several rooms of a hotel downtown. He'd report in every morning and then go home at night."

"One problem he had was that the girls in the area got to know his car, so he'd check at the gate when he was going and if he saw a lot of girls around, he'd take a cab to the hotel."

Jurbala, 36, is a consulting engineer with St. John Associates of Binghamton. when learned that Presley was going to be in the area, he wrote to him a letter and received a large poster in reply, autographed by Presley. "Of course, we don't know if it's really his signature or one of his press people's," said Mrs. Jurbala.

When Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army in the late 1950's it became worldwide news. his crafty manager Col. Tom Parker, played the induction for everything it was worth, even arraging for a farewell television appearance featuring hordes of screaming girls.

The whole Presley phenomenon was the subject of a very popular Broadway play and later motion pictures "Bye, Bye, Birdie."

When Presley left the Army, his first picture was entitled, apty enough, "GI Blues."

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez