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

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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