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

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..


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