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


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.


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