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

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”.   .


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