Archive for May, 2010

Sequestered Certainty………………….#87 (The 60’s)

May 31, 2010
Corporal Missile Test Station

Corporal Missile Test Station

       Air conditioning was a necessity during the many calescent summer months at Fort Sill ,  the stifling heat and humidity would search out the motorized capsules utilized for transportation, the heat distributing its uncomfortable presence to their  environment.   The 5-ton Missile Test-Station,  a stationary presence when cabled for operation,  accommodating numerous test panels, oscilloscope, measuring device gauges and screens all consisting of vacuum tube operated circuitry,  requiring a prostrate of lower temperatures to sustain tolerance levels, air conditioning an absolute requirement.   A quandary developed among the ranking personnel members of the firing battery when Gary was approached by a Warrant Office about security and adjudged to enforce a previous disregarded  regulation.   Gary’s and his co-worker PFC Clark having adhered to their predecessor having allowed the NCO’s and Gary’s nemesis Spec 5 Crow to access the Van and partake of the frigid air-conditioned atmosphere.   The Test-Van by directive was allocated to staff securing a secret clearance,  which were predicated officers and the certain accessing personnel.   Upon manifestation of the circumstance,  the Firing Battery Lieutenant was allowed aboard, but many of the  line staff NCO’s that erected the missile were not.  The NCO’s were not happy, they could no longer escape the heat or on cooler occasions,  help themselves to the presence of a coffee pot.

8 inch Howitzer

8 inch Howitzer

    The only time concern prevailed was during the multifold field exercises,  a sense of  competition prevailing between the battalions two missile sections.  The 2nd Battalion 80th Artillery was deployed to the west range on a setup station below a 8 inch howitzer battery,  the ground vibrating with every barrage,  sending the visible 200 pound projectiles hurtling across the expanse.   Gary discerning that his and Clarks counterparts in the 1st missile section platoon were older more experienced journeyman in their profession,  to exceed their proficiency would require a marked attempt by the younger two.  The two completed cabling the prone missile to the positioned test station,  Clark opening the thick procedure manual preparing to read the power-up agenda, a step by step check list to verify all testing equipment was activated and functioning correctly.   Gary intervening, suggesting that Clark store the manual, reminding Clark that during missile school he had powered up the station daily and the procedure was indelibly imprinted.  The PFC beginning to activate breakers, levers,  switches from memory, accelerating the equipment to an online status, Clark voicing a disapproval but acknowledging that the equipment was up and running in half the time,  the shortened procedure time didn’t win the challenge, but it was respectable.   The more experienced 1st missile section platoon was analogue,  Gary concluding not to use the memory  hastened procedure again, reasoning that  expediency should only trump deliberation in sporting events.

Issued a 30 cal. carbine

Issued a .30 cal. carbine

The Test Station armament - a Colt  .45

The Missile Test Station armament – a Colt .45

      Payback was the suspect,  the Firing Battery having blundered with Clark and Gary, failing to issue them weapons upon their arrival and both remaining silent about this anomaly.  Once a month at 1600 hrs, always on a friday, a cleaning and weapon inspection prevailed, but because the two were never issued a  weapon they were exempt from the roster, conveniently disappearing from sight.     Specialist E-5 Crow,  Gary’s nemesis encountered the discrepancy,  providing and augmenting the electronic technicians with 30 caliber carbines,  but a search of their 201 files discovering that they had qualified with the 30.6  M-1 Garand in basic training  not with the much lighter 30. caliber carbine.   The E-5 wasn’t deterred, arranging for the two to qualify with the carbine and the army holster-bearing Colt .45..   Arrangements having been made, the two  transported to the post small arm firing range for the PFC’s with their newly acquired weapons to  entertain the targets, both qualifying to have their names now posted on the cleaning and weapons inspection roster to the recreational gratification of Specialist 5 Crow.  

drummer glenn

Glenn Froman on drums

Chester Burkes' Diamond Horseshoe Club

Chester Burke’s Diamond Horseshoe Club

      The person that Gary incurred at the service club music room making reference to his piano nimbleness months earlier having returned.   His name was Glenn Froman,  an artillery unit supply clerk and soon to be civilian.   Glenn proclaiming music credentials as a lyricist,  drummer and having in the past submitted material to various artist before being drafted for his military calling in Indiana.  Questioning the pianist about his music interest and a possible consideration to accompanying him to meet a local guitar enhanced vocal talent and a possibility of the three forming a musical group.  Throughout his life Gary has always been satisfied with the monogamous relationship and acquired conversations with his friend the piano,  having never considered propagating its voice for monetary compensation to entertain others,  but Glenn’s offer did spur an interest.   Glenn introducing the pianist to a Lawtonian, Jimmy Clay,  a vocalist with a Neil Sedaka repertoire, a very talented  but somewhat withdrawn, lacking  showmanship presence.  Gary declining Glenn’s offer but  the drummer  not taking no for an answer prompting Gary for a one time rehearsal, the pianist accepting out of curiosity and to enlighten a long-standing question about a possible sequestered certainty.   The rehearsal was impromptu, but two-fold, Glenn apparently was an anomalous promoter having arranged their organization attempt at a private club with a piano, the owner present.   With the arrival of Jimmy, his rhythm guitar, Glenn on drums, the piano, an impromptu session began, the proprietor was impressed upon hearing the group, making a financial offer.  The three agreeing to perform  the subsequent Friday and Saturday nights and arranging to get some rehearsal time at the club prior to the weekend.  Friday night the three impromptu musicians making their debut at  Chester Burke’s,  Diamond Horseshoe Club,  8 miles west of Lawton.  Gary questioned the turn of events and the apparent new direction it was headed, a new page suddenly appearing in the book of life but this manuscript was musical.

 

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A Sense Of Inanition………….#86 (the 60’s)

May 29, 2010
The 1st nuclear missile The Corporal

The 1st nuclear missile The Corporal

    A sense of inanition prevailed, Willson was the lone exception,  the entire compliment of CEMMC-2 graduates would traverse over-seas to Germany but the soldier would remain,  his new assignment,  a member of the Firing Battery,  2nd Missile Battalion,  80th Artillery,  one of two corporal missile units at Fort Sill.  His envision of  a world adventure having been banished,  a relatively prosaic province having ascended and commissioned a prisoner.  Reporting for duty the new arrival discovering the battalion building almost vacant, being informed the unit was in the field on an exercise, but could find the duty officer in the mess hall.  Gary having little difficulty finding the mess hall knowing that most battalion size barracks have a mess hall at one end and a dayroom at the other.  Sitting in the mess hall was an elderly looking Warrant Officer,  the WO introducing himself as the firing battery’s technical advisor and that he was aware of Gary’s arrival.  The soldier retrieving his duffel bag following the WO to a large second floor bay assigning him to an empty bunk and locker.  The WO continued his introduction to the unit with a brief walk thru then requisitioning a jeep, the two traversing to the battalions exercise location on the west firing range.  The jeep coming to a halt,  dismounting they approach a group of officers, Gary surprised at being introduced to the battalion commander, the WO later explaining that Gary’s arrival filled the required compliment of four battalion missile technicians, two for each missile section.
    Gary discovering a missile battalion size was  smaller than a field artillery battalion with 500 to 800 men, the missile battalion slimmed down to a compliment of less than 300,  the Battalion consisting of a firing battery, a headquarters and service battery.  The firing battery having  2 missile sections in addition to the electrical maintenance and testing there was assembly & rail, fueling & erection, fire control and guidance.  The headquarters & service battery are just what they implied, all the ancillary services, payroll, service record, , motor pool, mess, medical, etc..  The one element missing from a missile application found in a field artillery battalions was a combat support company giving it the ability to defend  its location. The newly calibrated PFC entertained his new work stations surroundings,  anticipating an aura of proficiency and deference,  instead finding  an avocation of tolerance prevailing.   The trial of Guard Duty and KP once again infiltrated his established routine, spoiled by the ten months of abstention during his missile training.  Tribulation was in possession, the fraternal atmosphere that inhibited the previous ten months having vanished,  replaced by deprivation of definition known as another Field Artillery  Battalion.
    PFC Clark was married and living off the post,  having completed CEMMC school the previous year, and  appeared reconciled to receive the newly acquired  soldier.   Clarke found his daily work rather mundane, appropriating it to  a 8 to 5 job, Gary could understand why, the cabling up practice drills were without challenge, but the missile battalion Unit concurrence was.   After standing reveille at 0600, followed by Mess Call,  an 0800 muster at the motor pool convened and sanctioned the beginning of a day, Gary finding the NCO’s on coffee and donut duty every morning until lunch.   The battalions field exercises  were coalesce with artillery units presenting a show of force,  capturing the various battalions convoys, their parading numbers generating acquisition of showmanship for an array of visiting VIP’s.

Military License required

Military License required

army 5 speed

Army 5 speed -3 speed brownie – 2 speed axle

      Specialist E-5  Crow was the peremptory of the motor pool and was diligent in his duty of insuring every truck returning from the field was properly imbued.   Upon instructions,  Gary was ordered by Crow to facilitate the wash-rack with his and Clark’s assigned  5 ton test-van.   The PFC un-ceremonially having to decline,  the consternation of the E-5 was apparent until being informed that the Willson didn’t possess a military drivers license.   Arrangements were hastily scheduled for in the morning finding the Spec-5 Crown instructing the PFC to report for instructions and driving test on the Van.  on the proper function of the 10 wheeler’s  5 speed forward,  3 speed brownie and 2 speed axle.   Gary pleading inhibition difficulties with the shifting of the 5 speed, 3 speed brownie and 2 speed axle, a somewhat frustrated Crow insisting he would render further instruction until achievement was accomplished.   It was during the third journey of instruction, Gary deciding it was time to halt the ruse,  finally relenting,  double-clutching  thru the gears utilizing the 3 speed browning, and engaging the 2 speed axle,  thwarting the ten-wheeler back to the motor pool.  Disembarking from his now washable charge, trying not to acknowledge the look on the face of an astringent instructor, realizing that he was a marked man on Spec-5 Crow’s duty-list.

A beckoning friend

A beckoning friend

     The town of Lawton was imperceptible, now devoid of acquaintances, the CEMMC-2 menagerie having departed, Gary as of yet discovering any collective substitutes, but a long neglected friend was available, an understanding mentor of solace and a comforter of charge.  His fingers moved,  beckoning a response, would it still kindle recognition and free the bonds of certainty.   Immured not, it knew no horizon,  lifting its  inner confines to the outreach of  Nirvana,  he harnessed the challenge contending it compulsion, alas, it was again instilled, his friend the piano beckoned.  The Ft. Sill service club and music room filled the PFC’s evenings several nights per week.  This particular night a well dressed person in civilian clothes entered the music room, sitting, listening to various structured musical sounds emitting from the piano.  Upon conclusion, the person introduced himself,  addressing the virtuoso about the possible financial reward for executing these very same sounds in town.   The young soldier sitting at the piano declined the offer,  but something within,  an intuitive feeling emerging recalling a passage he had once read, “the past may dictate who we are,  but we  determine what we can become.”

Purpose Of Acquisition…………#85 (the 60’s)

May 28, 2010
Named Fat Man - the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki

Named Fat Man – the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki

     The educational experience of the Corporal Electrical Material Maintenance Class  (CEMMC-2) was approaching completion, the class to participate in a field demonstration for visiting foreign VIP’s and the scrambled-egg ranked officers of the school command.   SFC Stephens instructing his divergent group,  going to great length to explain the subjectivity, their appearance  as constructive representatives  of USAAMS,  (United States Army Artillery Missile School).  The members of CEMMC-2  culminated the Corporal Missile School,  their class designated as the final graduating link in the program, the Corporal Missile was getting out-ranked,  a  replacement missile having been developed,  the Sergeant,  a mobile solid propellent missile with a launch time platform of less than 90 minuets, compared to the 9 hours for the Corporal and would initiate its replacement  duty starting in 1962,

Soon to be the Corporals replacemnt, The Sergeant.

Soon to be the Corporals replacement, The Sergeant.

     The soldier wasn’t appeased with his commission in the VIP  Missile demonstration exercise ,  preferring to work directly with the missile and the test-van, but was assigned to facilitate the generator truck.  One of the liabilities or assets (depending on ones opinion) of the CEMMC programs was the class being schooled in all the components in facilitating the missile including the truck mounted generators supplying the three-phase power to the test van and radar guidance command.  The power connections accomplished, the generators powered up and with the installation of communication cables between stations,  Gary having an opportunity to scrutiny the exposition in its entirety.   Sergeant Stephens, Tobin and Keys accomplished the test-van as White and Martin assisting in cabling the launch control panel.   The Missile setup and flight simulation testing  successfully demonstrated the operational continence of the Corporal, apparently impressing the visiting dignitaries.  The USAAMS  officials also impressed with the class’s performance, acknowledge them for their professionalism and as recognition,  relinquished the group from having to take part in the disassembly and storing of equipment used in the demonstration.
     The class having fulfilled their mission, falling-in, Staff Sergeant Ross marching the formation back to the 2nd Enlisted Student Battery only to be greeted by  Sergeant Stephens wearing a callous expression. The Sergeant was abrupt with his displeasure giving an explanation.   During the visitors tour,  a dignitary ask to see the mobile launch panel,  the firing mechanism to launch the missile.  Sergeant Stephens and a conducting officer directing the luminary to the panel location,  pointing to the panel starting an explanation about the firing procedure, but never finishing his sentence, the firing mechanisms large red “push to fire” button was missing.  The Sergeant stopped his explanation,  looking directly at Martin ,  “If the red firing button should appear on the enlisted Battery’s duty sergeant’s desk in the next thirty minutes,  the subject will be forgotten, no questions asked,  if not,  a full investigation will be made and heads will roll.”  All those in the formation understood,  Martin’s recently acquired 1949 Ford would have to operate without a dashboard push to fire button.

Julius and Ethel Rosenburg executed

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed

      Nuclear warheads class  commenced,  the final posturing in the completion of educational fabric in receiving their #241  Military occupational Specialty (MOS) designated as a Field Artillery Corporal Missile Electronics Technician.  Gary holding in his hand what resembled a shot-put bestowed at high school track meets,  in reality  a 14 lb. replica of the plutonium found in Fat Man,  the Nagasaki atomic bomb.   The weapons class instruction was classified secret giving a whispering intonation to its presentations, the non-spoken word was (neutron) nemo-initiators,  the bombs detonator design appropriated and passed on  to the Russians in 1945 by Ethel and Julius Rosenberg who were convicted and sentence to death in 1951 and electrocuted at Sing-Sing Penitentiary in 1953.   Gary finding the structural make up of the atomic bomb very simplistic, the most complex achievement was the development  of the 32 nemo-initiators to obtain the perfect implosion.  Interesting was the regulating of the bombs barometer for proper altitude detonation but even more arresting was the missiles arming circuitry connection to the nuclear device, all inclusive of his MOS responsibility.  The final weeks of warhead school  projecting an atmosphere of conclusion, the ten members of CEMMC-2 all having fulfilled their goal, save one of the group, Lombardi, having failed the ten month educational final and would remain at Ft. Sill reassigned for eight weeks of USAFC training and assigned to an artillery unit. 
       Gary having some personal thoughts about the past ten months, questioning the purpose of acquisition, not questioning the reason, but discovering his enthusiasm having  dimmed when confronted with fulfillment.  It was liken to a well drafted novel, an opening curiosity to get you hooked, an accomplished story line to keep you interested,  a satisfying conclusion enabling one to close book with a feeling of attainment, but for some reason this experience was void.

Affirmation Of Resolve………..#84 (The 50’s)

May 27, 2010

Pvt E-2 Willson

    It was time to lay siege to Lawton and exploit its offerings for the thousands of military it hosted, four of the CEMMC-2 class components,  depositing themselves at the 1/2 block long bus terminal at 2nd and C Ave.   The 9 square block expanse from 1st to 4th and C to E flourished with military traffic,  but the broadway of cache being centered on either side of the Lawton Cafe on 3rd St.  A twelve o’clock closing  curfew presided over a multitude of  flourishing compacted taverns,  finding the 3.2 beer pavilions interspersed with pawn shops and sporadic tattoo endowments.  Tobin,  White,  Martian  and Willson laying claim to Bills’  Alley Club,  but unbeknown to three of the group there was one amongst them that had sampled but never had and never  desired to consume a bottle or glass quantity of  alcohol beverage, but that was about to change.  Oklahoma having just passed a  law legalizing the sale of liquor in April, the state having never ratified the 21st amendment ending prohibition, but allowing the sale of what the state considered a non-alcohol beverage,  3.2 beer.  Gary appraising Bill’s Alley Club was as its name implied,  in an alley off 3rd St, with Bill,  a smiling gray-haired proprietor providing free pretzels and donated a round of  beer on occasion joining in.   With Tobin and Martin shouldering  from  New York City and White from Pennsylvania, their beer of choice wasn’t an eastern brew as expected but hailed from bordering Texas,  a brew new to the four, Lone Star.   With the monetary stocking of  the juke box, the constant refrains of  Marty Robins El Paso and Johnny & The Hurricanes Red River Rock echoing,  the four aspiring to amalgamate into the surroundings.  It was soon discovered that with the increasing amount of classroom study, the brevity of Lawton was acknowledged but to limited anomalies.

Aerial view of 2nd & C - Lawton

Aerial view of 2nd & C – Lawton

    The lady laid prone, communication conduits containing numerous leads were prescribed, addressing her sleek and slender anatomy enabling conversations to enquire and be audited.  The purpose was to insure regulatory employment, not to concede impairment or to hinder her assigned duty.   Assuring her application and confirming the knowledge of position, accepting her logistical assignment relative to an assured ambition.   Recognition of disposition are issued and a confirmation communicated for transfer, her deployment  is received and ready to assimilate.   The two soldiers occupying the five ton missile test  van adjoining the still test-cabled 45 ft. nuclear capable missile have  confirmed that it is ready for erection and certified for launch.   An admission of approbation from the Warrant Officer monitoring the discovery and correction of his previous installed defective components and the completion of a successful simulated flight by the two.   Al Martin and Gary Stepping out of the 5 ton test van in the hangar sized building that housed the line of  Vehicle Missile Test Stations and accompanying missiles, the two being the  first to finish this trouble shooting exercise. When balanced together the two were exemplary at trouble-shooting and diagnosing the instructor placed missile component difficulties and remedying the problem.   Martin noticing that there were no instructor present on the test van line,  the Warrant Officer Instructor for their exercise having apparently stepped inside the adjacent  Van of Tobin and White.   Martin up to his antic again,  without hesitation, walking over to Tobin’s and Whites missile, glancing to make sure he was observed, reached down disconnecting a cable introducing non instructor applied trouble-shooting problem.  Curiosity was sustained when the two Warrant Officers exited the van and began researching the missiles additional problem.   The instructor retaining a perplexed expression and was overheard to acknowledge,  this was not a trouble-shooting problem that he administered.   Conferring with the other Warrant Officer,  two instructors commenced to diagnose the cause and location of the trouble.   The problem was resolved,  Al and Gary  thinking they might be suspect for the unexpected difficulty, but fortunately not this time, Gary concluding reason precludes opportunity if not deduced.
    Failure in CEMMC-2 was unacceptable,  the consequence was a transfer to AIT ( Army Individual Training) unit or USFAC better known as the field artillery for what was known as your second eight.   With the essential electrical skills accomplished an assignment of drafting a schematic for an operational piece of electrical equipment of choice with assigned values for each component of the apparatus.  The class’s volition was limited to relatively simple devices, encompassing minor circuitry,  all save one, the Soldier from California.  Gary recalling an acquisition from his past, his first dynamic audio amplifier,  a wurlitzer jukebox amplifier, a dynamic  super-heterodyne with 6L6 pentode push-pull power tubes.   Having proclaimed this challenge to the Warrant Officer instructor, the irrefutable test wasn’t his ability,  but affirmation of resolve and soon discovering the capacious number of hours needed to complete the task.

View of Lake Lawtonka from Mt. Scott

View of Lake Lawtonka from Mt. Scott

Wichita Wildlife Refuge Buffalo

Wichita Wildlife Refuge Buffalo

The Oklahoma Prarie - a land of sunrise & sunsets

The Oklahoma prairie – a land of sunrise & sunsets

    A new source of transportation, Al Martins acquiring a well-worn 49 Ford,  the New Yorker extending an invitation for anyone interested  to join him in exploring the  Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and Mt. Scott just north and west of Fort Sill.  The mountain reputed to be the second tallest in Oklahoma at 2464 ft.,  Mt. Pinchot located several mile west being 12 feet taller,  Dumbrosky, White and Willson deciding to join him in exploring this scenic Oklahoma domain.  The foursome motoring up the three-mile circular road to the summit of Mt. Scott to view the somewhat impressive  view of Lake Lawtonka and the never-ending flat-land horizon of southwest Oklahoma.  Continuing on their venture the highway signs on the Cache-Meers road marking the entrance to the wildlife refuge and signs posted prohibiting off-road vehicle travel.  The soldiers discovering a small herd of buffalo grazing off the highway, Al desiring a closer look driving across the open field.  The buffalo not giving a second thought about the visitors until they were within 20 yards, the herd deciding to move away from the intruders.  The Ford continued, the herd moving on except one big buffalo, he apparently decided to stand his ground, turning towards the on coming vehicle, pawing the ground like a bull in a ring.  Al stopping the car, the buffalo lowering its head and began a charge toward the them, a wide-eyed Martin putting the car in reverse and backing away as fast as he could, the buffalo halting,  giving them a look of superiority before joining the already grazing herd.   Gary discovering that this so-called flat prairie part of Oklahoma also retained another little talked about venue, a majestic vista for sunrise & sunsets.

 

Paradigm To Reality……………#83 (the 50’s)

May 26, 2010
An introduction to chess

An introduction to chess

     An introductory exploration of the Fort Sill post facilities was in order,  the liberation of  the city of Lawton was set aside for a latter prospective.   The post service club provided a full spectrum of programming,  ping-pong, pool,  snooker tables,  music room with piano  and most encouraging , sparsely populated by the post WAC citizenry.  The California soldier allotting interest with several  respective class constituents after classroom hours enlisting the skill of Paul White to introduce him to the game of Chess.   White’s father was purported to be a past Pennsylvania State champion chess player and Paul purported to be ” a chip off the old block’.   Gary having no desire to explore the game until his introduction to White and his sense of logic.  Given amble edification, Gary soon discovered, administering a game of chess is like his engaging music on the piano, playing by ear,  contemplation is retrospective.   Another post discovery finding an ensuing journey to the Library not so much to partake of  the bountiful shelves of accumulated knowledge, the Soldier discovering a hidden treasure, a music rooms equipped with phonographs, headsets and a thesaurus of LP records, enabling the youth to escape the presence of the military and transport himself to the  world of  Wagner, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky.

Resistor color code chart

Resistor color code chart

      The student acknowledging a course of study, commencing with basic math thru algebraic exponent and their relationship to electrical applications in concurrence with terminology and function,  the subject material more absorbing than arduous.     The class finding a lighter side to electrical circuitry besides resistors,  capacitors,  diodes and  pentodes, the age-old parable of how to discern a resistors size by its color-coded markings was ensued.   Each color denoted a numerical value and multiplier and by using  a memorable verse the first letter of each word in the verse designating a color and value 0 thru 9.  The acronymic coloring verse “bad boys rape our young girls but violet  gives  willingly”  translated into the colors (black-brown-red-orange-yellow-green-blue-violet-gray-white) was very efficacious,  covering  the chromatic as well as the intonated  spectrum and not soon forgotten.   The soldiers soon learned that if an explanation or inquiry about a subject matter was needed it best be immediately resolved  or it would remain a question,  the instruction as well as the instructors  took no prisoners.   There was a apportioned sense of attainment among the class, finding those who could reason and assimilate assisting those who pondered.  Gary’s anticipation being  fulfilled with the inaugural of every educational  chapter, a learning experience, the presentation of the  subject matter liken to an adventure story always striving for a climactic ending.

Demonstration attendance

Demonstration attendance

Artillery shelling on the West Range

Artillery shelling on the West Range

       It was called Fire Power Demonstrations  held on  Saturday mornings and you were invited or so you were led to believe.   Gary first experience was encountering a NCO walking thru the billets early Saturday morning directing those he came into contact with to report outside and board a bus.  Once aboard the unsuspected were informed that they would be attending a Fire Power Demonstration on the West Artillery Range.  The number of military seated on the bleacher facing the West Range was in the hundreds plus a contingency  in civilian clothing.  It was announced over the PA the designation of the artillery firing battery units participating, represented was a 155mm, 8inch, and 280mm artillery monster commonly called the atomic cannon.  Gary having never witness the sound of artillery up close let alone able to see  the results and what was really surprising was the repercussion of the  8 inch guns, not  knowing exactly where they were located, but when fired the ground shook.  It was rather disappointing, the 280.mm was fired just one time, but what  impressed all was,  you could actual see the projectile and watch its trajectory as traversed to the far mountain destination.  Gary was impressed not only with this first artillery demonstration  but the other demonstrations that followed.  It was after returning from the first one that he discovered  you weren’t require to attend if you couldn’t be found and on occasion just  happened to be at the service club for Saturday morning coffee and donuts.
     The charged educational discipline of  CEMMC-2 classroom instruction was advancing with applied principles including audio, visual,  signal generation,  transponder telemetry,  servo-generation,  three-phase attribution, the subjects were amaranthine in essence.   The military students having converged upon the in-depth intrinsic ingredients of missile components and  adjunct support equipment,  the operation, reason and purpose of meaning of the subject matter all being attained.   Seriousness was not always captive during class,  youthfulness would vacillate and sometimes deviate causing a prankish impulse sometimes to prevail.    Relinquishing a fully charged 250 volt micro-farad capacitor on a  work bench at the end of the day for some unsuspecting clean-up person to remove  resulted in a sternly administered class reprimand.  The classes facetious conclusion about the clean-up person was, ” it must have been a shocking experience”.   The months of progress manifested and  CEMMC-2  sojourned further into the reaches of the Byzantine structure and missile acquisition,  but the entity was illusive.   The exile to the classroom was concluding and the transition from paradigm to reality was fast approaching..

2nd Enlisted Student Battery..#82 (the 50’s)

May 25, 2010
A Fort Sill Welcoming

A Fort Sill Welcoming

          Barren,  desolate,  hot,  humid,  flat,  uninspiring, all words supposedly reflected as descriptive of Oklahoma,  Gary ascertaining  the acuity of the statement,  perceiving there are those who strike out with frustration,  blinded by their own lack of interpolation,  substituting  opinion for fact,  a subliminal display of an inability to cope with the true reality of Fort Sill and recognize it is but a station stop in the journey of life.   The 94,000 acre military installation having the appearance of a bourgeois military complex,  host to 20,000 plus, outnumbering the 18,000 residence of the adjoining town of Lawton.  Fort Sill’s historical past parallels that of Oklahoma, General of the Army Philip Sheridan of Civil War Appomattox fame leading the campaign into Indian Territory in 1869,  establishing Fort Wichita, which was redesignated Fort Sill, named after Brigadier General Joshua W Sill, a West Point Classmate and Friend of Sheridan’s who was killed in the Civil War.  Fort Sill first gained notoriety with the capture and incarceration of Geronimo and the Chiricahua Apache, and  in 1911 as the  Army first  artillery training school, followed by becoming the birthplace of combat aviation in 1915, with the formation of the 1st Aero Squadron.  With the advent of WWII establishing an army artillery spotters school, training fixed wing pilots as field artillery spotter, the school transferred to Fort Rucker in 1951.  Gary acknowledging the vastness this artillery and missile training center.

Post historical marker

Post historical marker

Aerial view of the 2nd Enlisted Student Battery

Aerial view of the 2nd Enlisted Student Battery

     The Private E-2 entered the trichotomous three-story building,  its four extended wings emulating inset alcoves,  bordering a Spanish motif with its tile roof and alfresco balconies.  The Private was directed to the second floor in the furthest reaches of the west wing,  finding a bay dominion adjoined with characteristic army beds, but unlike basic training these were single berths each with twain lockers, both foot, standing.  The duty NCO according the area as “temporary quarters”,  awaiting the remainder of the academic student complement to accomplish the class.    Gary discovering the 2nd Enlisted Student Battery a large educational edifice complete with mess hall and day rooms, its enrollment resembling a perplexing diversified collection of all ages.  The USAAMS (United States Army artillery and Missile School ) complex was on Randolph Rd consisting of the 2nd Enlisted Student Battery, the 1st Officers Student Battery and an a second complex, the Staff and Faculty Battery.  The 2nd Enlisted and 1st. officers were provisional dormitory for the students attending the ongoing  instructional classes for aspects of Army Missile Operations including the Corporal, Redstone, and Honest John.  The duty structure for those in attendance provided for full-time educational instruction,  eight hours per day,  five days a week, for the duration of the MOS class with the citadel stanchions of guard duty and K.P.  non-existent.

Shoulder insigna of the staff & faculty of the USAAMS

Shoulder insignia of the staff & faculty of the USAAMS

     The prospective CEMMC-2 classmate were mostly from the east,  Gary the only western state native with the exception of Corporal Evans who was from Albuquerque.  Al Martin a sportive outgoing class member from Manhattan New York possessing unlimited imaginary attainment soon finding opportunity.   The west wing policing  (cleaning)  duty list was charged by a soon to retire elderly forgetful NCO.   Private Martin happened upon the sergeants clipboard containing a duty list, and proceeded to add a fictitious name, R.A. Glick.   Not appeased with the achievement of just adding an imaginary soldier to the list,  Martin  ventured to the unoccupied third floor and dressed a bunk with bedding,  giving the appearance of occupancy.  A policing duty roll-call  the next morning found the elderly NCO  convening the name of  R. A. Glick for service without a response.  The second day still no one responding, Martin vocally propositioned the location of an unknown solitary soldier on the third floor,  thus securing a further investigation by the duty sergeant.   With the perplexity of student traffic coming and going, the apparent absence of  R.A. Glick continued for another day before the sergeant realized that he was the victim of a hoaxes but the antic’s source remained unknown.
     The class aggregate being fulfilled,  the ten members remaining on the second floor of the far west wing only moving to the opposite side of the alcove.  Living off-post and in charge of this educational expedition was SFC  Stephens, a career artillery man with 12 years experience, complemented with Staff Sergeant Ross, a sixteen year veteran and Corporal Evans,  the remaining cire of  seven were all recent basic training alumni.   The permanent accommodations secured,  Gary lodging with four others, Paul White, a displaced V.M.I.. ex-student and Keyes another college dropout both drawing small solitary rooms.    The absence of a duty roster for guard duty or KP didn’t inhibit the responsibility to police their assigned domicile area,  Pvt. Willson accused of reckless driving, experiencing the hazards in controlling a side to side floor buffer for the first time.  Mornings finding the on post CEMMC-2 class members falling in outside at 0600 Hrs. the formation a formality for mess call.  After breakfast the diminutive analytical disciples prepared  for a daily journey to a  neoteric learning  experience known as class.  The flavor for unknown was very much experienced, the groups enthusiasm reigned with the advent of expectation. The prospective CEMMC-2 classmate were of like mind taking the first steps in this journey, Gary sensing the anticipation but recalling a quote from the past, “We all may live under the same sky, but all may not have the same horizon”.   .

Confirmation of Assignment….#81 (the 50’s)

May 23, 2010
Western Airline DC-6B

Western Airline DC-6B

     It didn’t acknowledge the tarmac as home,  only a beginning and a conclusion.    A bond for sustenance to sustain its reason,  awaiting direction to advance its purpose.   All are gathered in expectation,  a decamping trust.   Activation awaits,  to kindle the endowing gift, administer volitation to flee the bonds of terrestrial bind and give destination a meaning.   The DC-6B was positioned for boarding .
     The soldier’s departing emotion was layered beneath the momentary anticipations of a first air-flight and his new duty assignment.  The damp night air radiating off  San Francisco bay presented an unspoken farewell  as he mounted the steps,  turning,  a retreating unfeigned glimpse, an evanescent feeling of melancholy was awaken for an instant,  but vanished with the performance of the aircrafts interior.    Lodging in an aisle placement,  the visual aperture seat,   secured by another uniformed person,  the soldier was reserved for a non-stop flight to Love Field,  Dallas Texas,  the six-hour transverse was schedule for a six-thirty morning arrival.   The untested flyer was subject to the latitude of his surroundings,  discerning to mirror the acknowledge passengers and  their unimpressed placid appearance , but beneath this facade an intrinsic query remained.   The dimmed lights and subtle drone of the four Pratt & Whitney engines provided a somnolence envelope and much-needed repose, which the young soldier indulged.   Awaken with announcement of an approach to Love Field Dallas,  an examination of his reservations, Gary discovering a two-hour layover before embarking on to Lawton  Oklahoma and Fort Sill.   Upon his Dallas arrival,  it was immediately apparent  the west coast class A uniform was not germane for this region of the country,   all other unformed military were dressed in khakis,  appropriate for the July heat and humidity.  The winter uniform and top coat  garnished by soldier was deriding,  but the circumstance would have to prevail.

Love Field Dallas Texas

Love Field Dallas Texas

Central Airlines DC-3

Central Airlines DC-3

     The two-hour layover an enabling opportunity for the soldier to acquire some nourishment before searching out  the Central Airlines domain.  His flight being announced and  directed outside encountering a twin-engine DC-3 , its design crafted in 1936,  a mainstay of commercial  flight for over two generations, the ground crew scurrying to load duffel bags into the aircraft.  The soldier noting, from the number of bags,  it was apparent he wouldn’t be the  only military to board the pavilion.   Once seated, observing  that most of the  manifest, numbering about  24 consisted of uniformed military personal .   A lone stewardess beginning to count heads and check seat belts,  the craft beginning its taxing to the end of the runway.   A brief halting,  the throttle advanced,  the  engines bellowing at full RPM,  the craft straining to be set free.  The pilot releasing the brakes, the transport sprinting forward and with a thrust lifted into the air.    Gary encountering a much different flight than the DC 6B nocturnal journey from Oakland,  the first noticeable difference was the sound of the engines proclaiming their existence,  the second was the heat and humidity seemed to remain and experiencing a barometric change in his ears sending a message, the close proximity of the  ground evidence of a low  altitude, the soldier discerning the DC3  was not a pressurized craft.   The relative recumbent landscape surrounding the  Dallas area beginning to give way to the rolling hills of rural Texas, the craft reacting to the up and down drafts, Gary and the other  experiencing the  buffeting and sudden movements.    The stewardess attempting to provide a semblance of service to the attentive military onlookers,  but was having  difficulty  keeping  her balance with the motion of the plane, deciding the effort was in vain returning to her seat in the rear of the plane.  The craft descending into Wichita Falls,  the 120 mile flight taking less than hour,  a brief stop for the  Sheppard Air Force Base compliment to disembark,  the remainder would continue the 50 miles to decorate the Lawton Oklahoma airport facility.

Military issue - Bermuda shorts & knee socks

Military issue – Bermuda shorts & knee-high socks

     The soldier was impressed, not by the small office size airport building but by the temperature inside the building,  having lived in the relatively cool Bay Area most of his life, he had never experienced noticeable in-house air conditioning either at home or at school.  The outside temperature extremely humid and above 90 degrees, but inside the small airport convenience  it was cool,  the person behind the counter placing a call notifying the Fort Sill Reception Center of three new arrivals.   An army olive drab small bus arriving, a spec-4 dressed in a short sleeve shirt, khaki shorts and knee-high socks addressing the ensemble.  Upon arriving at the Post Reception and  after a brief auditing of their orders the California Soldier was on his way to the Second Enlisted Student Battery.  Gary taking stock, a conclusion of one journey  was just the beginning of another..

Ft. Ord – A Departure…..#80 (the 50’s)

May 22, 2010
fo4

The rhythmic intonation painting a picture

       There was no band on the parade ground, but miraculously two drummers would appear,  publicizing the congregation,  casting a rhythmic intonation cadence, painting a picture of promotion for the pageantry of the smartly  assembled training battalions.   The soldier not questioning the ceremonial event, its arrival an approbation for the instructional cadre,  a celebration of attainment for the training units and their given the tasks,  Gary thought appropriate.    The VIP’s  stationed for review, the units demonstrating the liberty of precision and an atmosphere of recognition is perceived.   A return to the barracks finding the shadows of a relaxed discipline, anticipation was emanated for the posting of the MOS school  assignments  and for some an eagerness  prevailed.   The soldier contemplated his change of character, military experiences reflects an understanding that perspicacity is individual, but very much recognizable, a different person having emerged.

Infiltration Course

Infiltration Course

     The memories of the past would remain, the night infiltration course would always remain prevalent.  The soldiers twelve man squad was again the finalist in participation,  the last squad,  in the last platoon of the last company to enter the course.  This was a competition,  judgment based on elapsed time to complete the course and a penalty deduction for any movement observed by searching beacons or flares.   The course pox-marked with pits containing detonating  explosive devices,  strung barbwire to wither under,  30. caliber machine guns firing tracers overhead and the ever-present darkness,  interrupted by search light spotters.   Doing the low-crawl thru the maze wasn’t difficult, providing you anchor your orientation.   The soldier acquainting two platoon members traversing 90 degrees away from him,  convincing them to change direction.   The combat maze accomplished, the experience completed,  the infiltration course was appropriately named, never has Gary been infiltrated with such an accumulation  of body obscuring  dirt. 

Considering himself a remnant

The Platoon having been dispersed

     The platoon having been dispersed, Gary’s 2nd floor bay is vacant save one and he considers himself a remnant.  The basic training unit fulfilled its obligation,  most of the company having been dispatched to their MOS school, but Gary and some members of the other three platoons still remained awaiting orders.  Most unit drafted personal received orders for AIT,  Advanced Infantry Training,  or AFA,  Army field Artillery with others assigned to communication school at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.  Gary finally receiving marching orders on June 29th,  ordered to report to the Duty Officer,  2nd Enlisted Student Battery,  operation  CEMMC-2,  Corporal  Electronics Material Maintenance Course,  Fort Sill,  Oklahoma on July 13, 1959.   Oklahoma!,  the soldier was disenchanted, he was aware of his MOS but had no idea of the schools location and analogizing missile electronics and the dust bowl state was totally disconcerted.  Rationalization was not applicatory,  the one thing he had discerned in the past eight weeks, a Army Directive was final, the statutory words being,  Yes Sir.  

A last glance

A last rearview mirror glance of Fort Ord

     Gary pausing upon leaving,  a two-week furlough awaiting before reporting to Fort Sill,  his thoughts about departing this entity known as Ft. Ord was almost one of abandonment, not that his leaving was without cause and not that this realms eight week charge’ is going without reason,  for this military complex has been witness to many and could lay testimony to their attainment, it’s purpose and portals remain endowed.   The 56 dodge navigated the main gate onto the highway,  a last rearview mirror glance of Fort Ord,  a foot on the throttle the Belvedere transporting a soldier towards fulfilling his destiny.

Spectacular Delineation……. ..#79 (the 50’s)

May 21, 2010
The Soldiers able to survey the freeway cartage from a height

The Soldiers able to survey the freeway cartage from a height

Servicemen when possessed by the army have their given first and middle names abolished,  his surname was Sherman and upon approach he ascended to the charge of squad leader.   It was suspected Sherman’s’ prior service may have influenced the platoon sergeant predilection,  the newly anointed squad leader named Stewart as assistant,  another name culminating  the alphabet which was conventional for the fourth squad.  Gary soon recognized the charge bestowed on those with  prior service and with it the symbolism of a clip board.   Lapses in the daily training schedule would find work details sometimes articulated by squad.   Sherman was very adept at securing a clipboard and with the squad called to formation would conveniently misinterpret the instruction of the assignment, the squad marching smartly, not to a duty assignment but accessing the PX.   Sherman rendering, it was his military experience that no one questioned a clip-board instructed formation about its destination.

Fort Ord Hospital

Fort Ord Hospital

Gary discovering his name was not impune from appearing on a duty roster, his first assignment being fire watch, spending two hours perched in a ladder accessible wooden lookout tower situated out in the boondocks of the East Range with a walkie-talkie radio.   The Company having started its fourth week when the epidemic of what was known as The Fourth Week Crud began.  It started with flu-like  symptoms, Gary noticing the congestion and somewhat feverish sensation debating whether to go on sick call, but his name was on the duty roster for morning KP and he reported to the mess hall.  He was stationed at the pots & pans sink feeling terrible when one of the  mess hall staff NCO’s started chewing him out for being so slow.  The soldier explaining that he wasn’t feeling well, the NCO yelling that he should have reported for sick call earlier.   Collaring the recruit, the two marched out of the kitchen to the administrative office of the Company’s First Sergeant, the mess hall NCO giving an explanation but making it sound like this recruit was just trying to get out of KP duty.  The First Sergeant directing a staff member to take Gary to the dispensary and would later decide on what action would to take if necessary.  The recruit waiting his turn in the dispensary with the others on sick call, not seeing a doctor but a medic and after a brief questioning, blood pressure and temperature check, the medic concluded that he would be transported to the hospital, disclosing that his temperature of 101.2 was above the  criteria for admittance to the hospital.   Gary besides his physical lapse had some other concerns, having heard that if you were admitted, the unit would pack  your duffel bag and your belongings would accompany you and if a prolonged admittance causes you to miss a sufficient number of  training requirements you could be held over for the next group.  It was confirmed, he had the crud, medically diagnosed as an upper respiratory infection, discovering it was a inherit illness something experience by many at he start of basic, much like the childhood illness’ at he beginning of a school year.  Gary somewhat oblivious to the events of the first night in the hospital, the second night an awareness of the consequences of his stay beginning to set in.  The morning of the third day, his fever having broke the night before, the Doctor asking a single question, “how do feel”, still feeling weak but mustering a reply “a lot  better” , the doctor saying “good, I’m dismissing you, report back to your unit”.   Standing outside the hospital after having to drag his duffel bag, unable to carry it for any length of time, deciding if he had to, he would drag it all the way back to the barracks.  Fortunately a passing  NCO in a jeep took notice of his dilemma offering to give him a lift.

A Class A Uniform and a thumb sometimes worked

A Class A Uniform and a thumb sometimes was sufficient

To the passerby the sign outside Fort Ord’s main gate displayed in bold print  “Give A Soldier A Ride”.   It was getting late almost 1700 hrs on Saturday, just having completed the 7th week,  Gary and Steward stationing themselves at the side of the road  thumbs raised,  anticipating a Samaritan stop.   The two uniformed soldiers were trusting for conveyance to the residency of the Willson’s in the East Oakland Hills.  Gary having traversed this road on a weekend pass the previous week finding no difficulty in harnessing a Saturday transport, concluding the normal two-hour drive to Oakland in a little over three hours, a good time considering hitchhiking.  Some questioned his reason for the brief overnight venture home on this first weekend leave, turning down an invitation to go spend the night in Carmel with some of the squad.  In a way he wanted to impress everyone at home with his new-found confidence highlighted by a uniform, a visual demonstration of what he perceived as a transformation of maturity, but the real reason remained within, the family and house on Greenly Drive was home.

It was after 8:00 p.m., this is not good thought the two hitchhiking travelers having traversed two-thirds of the distance.   On this venture the Class A uniform wasn’t the complimenting antecedent as assumed, having to wait for what seemed an eternity for  benefactor, then discovering he was taking the Bayshore Freeway to San Francisco.   The travelers being dropped off at the 10th street junction of the Bay Shore and Nimitz in San Jose.   The two walking to the entrance of the Nimitz in dire need of another advocate, and to their surprise a  10 wheeler semi with an attached auto transport trailer pulled onto the shoulder and stopped.  A questioning expression on both their faces, the two approaching the driver who greeted them with an inquiry as to their destination.  Gary immediately replying, 98th Avenue exit in Oakland,  the driver motioning for them to get in.   Both soldiers hesitant, there being room for just one in the cab and then they observed the driver ambulations, he wasn’t directing them to the cab,  but pointing to the auto transport trailer, voicing  “the cars are unlocked”.

Gary  concluding,  the inventory that pervaded the trailer were an assortment of mostly new cars journeying for delivery.  The soldiers mounted the top-tier of the emporium,  entering and bathing in the aromatic bouquet only a new car possesses, that new car smell.   The keys were in the ignition of the  1959 Ford, and once seated both looking at the dash, desirable thought prevailed, but the young soldiers perceived otherwise by not turning on the radio.  The journey provided a spectacular delineation from its prodigious elevation, the two able to survey the freeway cartage from a height,  envisioning the perambulators of the highway like curios on a game board.  The auto transport trailer halting at the freeways 98th Ave. exit ,  the two uniform soldiers disembarking setting about to  procure a another Samaritan.  This time  experiencing the smiles of lady luck, the person stopping not only would  escort them to Mountain Blvd., but to the Willson residence on Greenly Drive.

Garys Dad's 56 Plymouth Belevedere

Gary’s Dad’s 56 Plymouth Belvedere

The hitch-hiking journey and late night entry to spend a Saturday night at Gary’s parents residence was worth the effort,  if nothing else a removal from the rigors of discipline known as basic training .   A Sunday afternoon departure, Gary having floated the idea to see if his Dad would let him take the 56 Plymouth back to Fort Ord since he would be finished with basic thus he wouldn’t have to drive down to pick him up.  He was still waiting for answer when his Dad handed him the keys, reminding him to be careful and just when the new soldier thought he had gained some new-found respect, as he was leaving his Dad causally added that dreaded high school cruising rule, “Oh, and once you get there, leave the car parked”.

Arrays Of Infliction…………..#78 (the 50’s)

May 20, 2010
Basic Training troop transportation, always available but seldom used

Basic Training troop transportation, always available but seldom used

     Alleviation is unattainable, suspension of consciousness arriving thru the days energy consummation with the nocturnal refrain of taps in the distance signaling lights-out, day is done.   The metal bunk beds dressed at attention, their presence attempting to satisfy the soldiers charge, a welcomed symbol empowering his retirement with solace about to ascend.  Basic Training is haste,  reveille,  formation,  mess,  formation,  training,  constant,  uninterrupted,  cigarettes, light’ em up, put’em out,  double time, fall in,  fallout,  at ease,  never-ending,  but encompassed with meaningful sparks to ignite engrossment and acquisition, the summation from all the exertion, a soldier.   Gary discovering supposition in acquainting the instruments of war and was not alone in this inquisitiveness.   It wasn’t surprising, the other members of the platoon displayed an interest in the variety of weapons,  even demonstrating an aptitude for the applicability.  Once on the firing line, the command load and lock was given, preparations required to fire an M1 Garand rifle. After an ammunition clip was loaded into the rifle the bolt automatically moved forward in order to “lock” a round into the chamber.  The next command, ready on the left, ready on the right, the firing line is ready being giving before firing the weapon.  Besides the issued M1 Garand the Company was instructed in the firing of a Browning Automatic Rifle,  (BAR),  the M1918A2, a 19 lb. 30 caliber (30.06) 20 round clip fed selective fire weapon,  its firepower utilized by the number 11 and number 2 man of the infantry 12 member squad.  Also the Company Squads were familiarized with the M1919A4 32lb.  30 caliber (30.06) 250 round belt fed light machine gun, the cadre noting that when firing, the barrel had a tendency to move up and to the right, so you might want to compensate for this.  The most impressive machine gun firepower was demonstrated by cadre, it being the M2 water-cooled 50 caliber machine gun known as Mr Duece, variation of this masterful weapon found in all branches of the service.

Every squad member esperiencing the BAR

Every squad member experiencing the BAR

Every squad member experiencing the BAR

The A4 light 30 caliber machine gun

        The Company once again in the realm of the East Range, this time an instructional course with live grenades.  A concrete barrier wall with six dividing concrete section, each section with a cadre instructor.  Gary having completed the instructional lessons with a dummy grenade now was prompted to the wall.  The stations NCO  reviewing the procedure instructions one more time, Gary gripping the grenade in his right hand, noticing a ten inch hole in the concrete floor.  The Sergeant supplying an answer to the unasked question, that if someone drop a grenade after pulling the pin, the concrete hole was an emergency detonation place.   Upon direction he pulled the pin latching the handle and in one motion slung the grenade over the concrete wall.  Seconds later it wasn’t the sound of the grenade exploding that impressed Gary, but the resounding concussion he could feel behind the concrete barrier.  The grenade instruction continued, after experiencing a live grenade the recruit was thankful the instructional class for the  M1’s  grenade launcher utilized dummy grenades.  A realization of todays activities having a positive effect,  cementing a purpose for the unit.   The recruit could apprehend that the platoon leaders were accomplishing their mission both physical and mental.

A learning experience

A learning experience

The M1 Garand granade launcher

The M1 Garand grenade launcher

    The nocturnal march from the company area was a first and the young soldier found the darken night difficult when the platoon traversed off a sufficiently defined path onto an unrecognizable course.  The soldiers consolation was occupying the fourth squad, not the vanguard, although he suspected  flashlights were in use at the head of the column to penetrate the total darkness.  Arriving at their objective, discovering additional company units on site participating in a night firing exercises.  It was an another first  for the platoon and an aura of anticipation radiated amongst the troops, Gary too was awestruck with the sight.  Tracers brandishing an illumination,  accessing their paths filling the azure with trailing plumes, streaking to the raised targets.   Gary recognized the affectation of the flaring specter was non confrontational, the inert targets mundane but in a affronting circumstance.  The kindled showering missiles honing in on the targets, giving a presence of baneful array’s of infliction. The night-time display exacting a scene of allurement and destruction to a foe  but on the firing range there was no adversary save the conviction of fulfillment.

The night sky lit up

The night sky lit up

     It wasn’t scuttlebutt, anyone volunteering to stay and pull targets for the remaining units would receive indemnification, in place of the long march home, mobile transportation back to the barracks area by truck.  Gary weighing the Company’s trek back against a ride, knowing better than to volunteer, but deciding to invest in this new experience.  Entering the concrete bunker,  the odor of burnt pulverulence  from expended munitions permeated the environment.   The new addition was instructed to mount and augment the targets with intention and dispatch.   During the firing display , the target amending group would  sanction  to the rear of the bunker,  avoiding contact with stray ricocheted  missiles.    Gary ascertaining immediately that  safety was a concern as a 30.6 projectile came  to rest at his feet.  He was quick to study, after  burning his fingers, learning not to  grasp the hot lead munition, defaulting to a sense of character,  continuing with his task,  but staying vigilant.  Fulfilling his commitment,  the nights convention coming to a close and another experience indelibly inscribed with purpose

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