Archive for January, 2017

Enlighten Presence…………….#76 (the 50’s)

January 30, 2017
New Barracks area

The new barracks area

His new home for the next eight weeks, Company B, 5th Battle Group, 1st Training Battalion, its location referred to as the “new barracks”, modern self-contained three-storied cement constructed buildings located a mile from of the main gate and bordering on the east range,  a field exercise area stretching  over 2000 acres.   Each building providing a domicile for an Infantry Training Company consisting of four platoons, each platoon occupying a quadrant in the upper two floors.  Gary soon discovering the army was consumed with, lack of a better term, alphabetical syndrome, his last name starting with W,  finding himself assigned to the fourth platoon,  fourth squad.  The day commencing at 5:00 a.m., the lights attaining illumination, the intonation of a baton striking the  metal frames of the bunk beds and the compendium voice of a platoon sergeant encouraging the troops to rise.  The basic training contingency was diversified by their eight digit service number prefix, US  designating (drafted) and RA (enlisted).  The distinction between the drafted and enlisted trainees was not  noticeable, but what Gary thought was conspicuous was the frequent aphoristic use of four letter words.  The young Oakland soldier was not one to partake of the  abhorrent language discourse having been raised in household void of swear words.  He reasoned its current use with the analogy that it was similar to  students entering junior high, whereas  7th graders frequented an analogous vocabulary,  but  by the 8th grade it all but disappeared except for a few,  concluding that its current proclamation would also subside.

The new barracks

The new barracks

The first week in the unit discovering expeditiousness a convention, there was  neither time for commission or convenience,  continuous assignments dawning from the reveille formation till evening dormancy with lights out and the echoing sounds of taps heard over loud speakers throughout the post.  Whether as a company or platoon the trainings fold had standing marching orders both for  classroom attendance or practical field application exercises.  A soldiering foundation of discipline prevailed, from the exact folding and placement of clothing in footlocker, to the temporary silence in the mess hall, all highlighted with the never-ending use of Kiwi Shoe Polish and the charge of spit-shining both boots and shoes.  A little known secret to hastily obtain a patent leather or spit shine appearance was to wipe a normally brushed shined boot with a 5 day deodorant pad, but only done in an extreme emergency as this procedure would damage the leather over prolong use.  A competition was instilled between platoons, each sergeant in their role as a drill instructor ambitiously motivating his array,  some complained but Gary finding the continuous introduction of engaging military activities very relevant to his past youthful apparitions and now becoming  a discerning and meaningful reality.

Kiwi Time

The physical training aspect was never a concern to the young trainee, the PT calisthenics were routine except for those gung-ho individuals having enlisted to go   “AirBorne” and were subject to an added PT program after the company had been dismissed.  The continuous daily regimen of marching displayed a difficulty for some,  the company instep-columns  was normally confined to the streets and parade field except when tracking the attenuated paths to the field exercises on the East Range.  Gary soon experiencing the 4th squad of the 4th platoon at the rear of the Company was susceptible to the accumulated dust of  the procession.  It reminded him of being in the last wagon in a western movie wagon train, subject to all the airborne crustaceans created by those proceeding him.  It was by coincidence being appointed and later volunteering as a rear guard when the company was on the paved roads, discovering once in the field he could lingering far enough behind the columns enabling most of the dust to clear.

marching4

Off to class

The day of anticipation having finally arrived, the issuance of a weapon.   It was like accepting a merit of confidence, unsaid, but Gary could ascertain he was not alone with these thoughts when his platoon received the cordon of a soldier,  a rifle.   The M1 Garand, air-cooled, gas-operated , clip fed, semi-automatic 30.6 caliber, mainstay of WWII  was the Company’s designated training ordinance.   Holding the rifle for the first time, Gary reflected, his father trained with this very same weapon and now another generation.  He had heard the final test on the breakdown and reassemble of the component parts of the M1 would be required to be done blindfolded and to his amazement it was true.  The initial firing range was located across  highway #1 on the sandy dunes with breaking waves of the Pacific as a backdrop, needlessly the sand made the inhibited instructional march to and fro more difficult.  The M1 Garand weighing 9.5 lbs and sustained at port-arms for a prolonged double time march, it was discovered that some in the company were unable to maintain the rifle in the port-arms position for a long period of time.  The NCO overseeing each platoon would note those of questionable performance and on return to the company area have them fall-out for extra curricular PT.  Gary was one who fell short in his response, his 113 lb frame had yet to develop the arm strength for an extended double time port-arm excursion, but the desire was present and he accepted responsibility for his lacking with resolve.

The M1-Garand - a soldiers best friend

The M1-Garand – the soldier’s best friend

Fort Ord Firing Range

Fort Ord Firing Range

Pvt E-1 Willson was acquainted with the Training Battalion less than two weeks when word was communicated within the Company for a person possessing journalism skills to assist the PIO  (Post Information Officer)  with interviews of company trainee, the results to be written and submitted to hometown newspapers.  Gary making an inquiry being directed to the PIO officer for an interview submitting a verbal resume of his journalistic qualification and was notified by his platoon sergeant that he had been accepted, only later discovering he was the only applicant.  Acquiring this assignment added to his already inundated training agenda, but on occasion did allow him to forgo the ambulatory morning dispatch of  marching with the company to their scheduled class, allowing him because of his extra duty to procure passenger status on a deuce and half or jeep to the field.  He thought that assisting the training cadre staff might in someway enlighten his presence, Pvt. Willson discovering he was correct with his reasoning,  soon finding his name posted on almost every work detail list.

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Aerial Discharge………………..#77 (the 50’s)

January 28, 2017

gas

It was late afternoon Gary and the army fatigue uniformed soldiers were absorbing  the cool breeze cascading from the pacific, traversing inland over Ft. Ord’s 2000 acre east range.  Gary surmising there was one scheduled field instruction class remaining, concluding it would be an introduction to gas warfare as each member of the platoon had been issued a gas mask.   With its issue came a brief instructional class of the basics, how to adjust the straps and clear the mask, check for proper sealing, and informed further instructions to follow.  The dust cloaked platoon coming to a halt before a section of sun-scorched bleachers.  At Ease was accorded and the formation rested in position awaiting for a fall-out command to mount the bleachers.  Gary noticing two NCO’s milling about behind and up wind of the standing formation and saw what looked like metal container in their hands. Immediately an odor aspired, eyes began to burn,  watering  profusely, the skin irritation was reminiscent of stinging-nettle, rifles chastising the ground as the men grasp the snaps to access their imprisoned mask.   The group was in total disarray, it was undisciplined attempt in apprehension of what was taking place.  Gary was among the many whose first thoughts were to seek refuge from the consternation vapor that enhanced the area hastily donning his mask.  Once embellish in its protection  he established the location of the two canisters which were placed quiescent behind the formation, observing as they continued to emit a clouded mist, It was the platoons inaugural introduction to teargas.

Standard issue M-17 Mask

Standard issue M-17 Mask

The eastward sea breeze soon cleared the discharge of effluvium, but not the vehement sound of the imperious lecture that followed.  The soldier’s listen to despotic demeaned NCO instructor aggressively convey that it was a cardinal contravening act to let your weapon ever recline to the ground.   The formation regrouped, the veracity and connotation of NCO’s admonishment having conveyed a lasting message, the ad hoc demonstration a lesson in the necessity for proper training.  Upon return to the barracks it was learned the instructional lesson was to be continued in the morning followed by participating in a practical test to demonstrate their skills by entering  what was noted as the gas chamber.

The morning found the Fourth Platoon arriving at the instructional station located somewhere noted as “in the boondocks”, the Company’s Third  Platoon pulling out having completed the exercise.  Two tent enshrouded structures were stationed on an elevated  bluff overlooking the silent brush of the East Range.  The formation was at ease, but intense attentiveness was present.  Orders were accorded, “extract, adjust and clear” the mask were fixed in place.  Single file by squad, twelve men at a time entering the Tear-Gas cloud veiled tent interior, halting at attention.  Instruction were given to the expression concealed soldiers, on command the mask were to be removed and properly stored.  It was ordained, the mask were to be taken off.  Gary like the others holding their breath but beginning to feel the pandemonium that accompanies a person  experiencing a vexatious situation.   The Squad having to remain until the cadre was satisfied with the proper stance and then acknowledging them to proceed to the bluff and allow the oncoming breeze to cleansed the captive pungent mist.

Large army tents noted as the gas chambers

Large army tents noted as the gas chambers

The Fourth Platoon anticipated the final aerial experience,  informed the tent structure they would be entering contained chlorine gas,  similar to chemicals exploited amid the combatants of the  first world war.  The signature for entrance would be to march in a squad at a time,  holding one’s breath until all were present, then given a command to extract, adjust and clear,  the mask to be adorned.  The platoon sergeant giving assurance the exercise would acquire less than a minute.  Gary was comfortable, no stinging or eye watering substance, only an odor similar to an over-chlorinated swimming pool.  The Fourth Squad entering,  the order given to extract, adjust and clear, Gary immediately discovering a problem, the mask enclosure snaps would not cooperate, refusing to unsnap, he struggled , holding his breath, unable to  call out,  tugging at the snaps, still no results.   He focused, concentrating on in his attempt and no longer able to maintain a breathless vacuum when the snaps suddenly released and simultaneously he inhaled a breath of the flavored aura, immediately according the mask, the order to exit given.

The soldier once again established in the cool sunlit morning, even applauding the call to fall in for formation especially after his gas chamber exigency, his experience remaining a silent testimony to what was a chlorine gas charade.

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

January 26, 2017
Basic Training troop transportation, always available but seldom used

10 Wheeler troop transportation – always available but seldom used

Basic Training is reveille,  formation,  mess,  formation, constant, fall in, fall out, cigarettes, light’ em up, put’em out,  double time, at ease,  never-ending, retreat, lights out, taps, the supposition, acquainting the instruments of war, its exertion, a soldier.  The firing range was a learning experience and the acquired skill a possible rehearsal for a future application for some.  Once on the firing line, the command load and lock was given, preparations required to fire an M1 Garand rifle. After the ammunition clip was inserted, 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.

Experiencing the B.A.R.

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 only dummy grenades.  A realization of the days activities having a positive effect,  cementing a purpose for the unit, they could apprehend that the instructors were accomplishing their mission.

Another learning experience

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.  Gary’s 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, their paths filling the azure with trailing plumes, streaking to the raised targets. Gary recognized the affectation of the flaring specter,  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.

Tracers lit up the night sky

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, they would be transported 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 pulverulent  from expended munitions permeated the environment.  The new target pull 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 to  avoid contact with stray ricocheted bullets. Gary ascertaining immediately that  safety was a concern as a 30.6 projectile came  to rest at his feet.  He was quick to study,  learning not to grasp the hot lead munition after burning his finger, 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

Night infiltration course

The memories of 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 searchlight spotters.   Doing the low-crawl thru the maze wasn’t difficult providing you anchor your orientation.  Gary 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 obscuring  dirt.

 

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

January 24, 2017
The Soldiers able to survey the freeway cartage from a height

The Soldiers able to survey the freeway cartage from a height

The first conspicuous alteration to an army recruit during basic training is they no longer have a first or middle name.   His surname was Sherman and upon approach he ascended to the charge of squad leader.   Gary suspected Sherman’s’ prior service may have influenced the platoon sergeant predilection,  as newly anointed squad leader he named Stewart as assistant,  another name culminating  the alphabet which was conventional for a fourth squad.  Gary soon recognized the idiosyncrasies that bestowed those with leadership responsibility,  it was the symbolism use 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 he would conveniently misinterpret the instruction of the assignment.  Sherman, clipboard in hand, smartly marching the squad, not to a duty assignment but accessing the PX.  When asked,  Sherman rendered, it was his military experience that no one questioned a clip-board instructed formation about its destination.

Ft. Ord Hospital

Gary discovering his name was not impugn from appearing on the battalion 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 was in 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 had meant the  criteria for admittance to the hospital.   Gary besides his physical lapse had some other concerns, it was SOP  if admitted the unit would duffel bag all your belonging to the hospital, 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 experienced at the start of basic, much like the childhood illness’ at the 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 broken the night before, the Doctor asking a single question, “how do feel”, still feeling weak but mustering a bold reply “a lot  better” ,  the doctor saying “good, I’m dismissing you, report back to your unit”.  Standing outside the hospital  having to drag his duffel bag, unable to carry it for any length of time, coming to the conclusion, he would drag it all the way  the barracks.  He struggled for about a block when 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 was sufficient

To the passerby the sign outside Fort Ord’s main gate displayed in bold print  “Give A Soldier A Ride”.    It was Saturday, just having completed the 6th week,  Gary stationing himself at the side of the road outside the main gate thumbs raised,  anticipating a Samaritan stop.  Some having questioned his reason for the brief overnight venture home on his first weekend leave, turning down an invitation to go spend the night in Carmel with some of the squad, but 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.   Lady luck was smiling, the soldier harnessing a ride, concluding the normal two-hour drive to Oakland in a little over three hours, good time considering he was hitchhiking.  It had been little over six weeks since that meaningful day he had departed and upon returning, the feeling wasn’t what he expected, he felt more like a visitor in the house that he called home.  Sunday morning found him going for a walk, it had been little over six weeks since that meaningful day he had departed and upon returning, the feeling wasn’t what he expected, everything had a new perspective, he felt more like a visitor in the house that he called home.  Gary’s dad mentioning he would drive him back to Fort Ord that afternoon.  Gary making it known that he would be returning next weekend with an army buddy that he wanted them to meet.

   It was getting late almost 1700 hrs on Saturday, Gary and Steward having just completed the 7th week,  The two stationing themselves on Highway #1 outside the main gate.   The two uniformed soldiers were trusting for conveyance to Gary’s family home in the East Oakland Hills.  On this second venture the Class A uniform wasn’t the complementing antecedent as assumed, having to wait for what seemed an eternity before someone stop, only to discover he was going to San Francisco and could take them only as far as the 10th street junction of the Bay Shore and Nimitz Freeway in San Jose.  After being dropped off, the two walked to the entrance of the Nimitz in dire need of another advocate,  to their surprise a  10 wheeler semi with an attached auto transport trailer pulled onto the shoulder and stopped. With a questioning expression on both their faces, the two approached 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”.

The two were hesitant, the inventory that pervaded the trailer were an assortment of mostly new cars journeying for delivery,  the soldiers mounting the top-tier of the emporium,  sitting in a car, bathing in the aromatic bouquet only a new car possesses, the 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 this would be his final week of basic thus his dad 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 newfound 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”.

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

January 22, 2017

Training Battalions on parade

There was no band to accompany the regatta on the parade ground, but miraculously two drummers appeared,  publicizing the congregation,  casting a rhythmic intonation cadence, painting a picture of promotion for the pageantry of the smartly assembled training battalions. The VIP’s  were stationed for review, the units demonstrating the liberty of precision and an atmosphere of recognition could be perceived. 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 it very appropriate.   The ceremony concluded,  a return to the barracks finding the shadows of a relaxed discipline in anticipation of 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.

Considering himself a remnant

The Platoon having been dispersed

The day of reckoning was Thursday,  June 25th, listed was trainees of the Company B, 5th Battle Group, 1st Training Battalion, their subsequent duty station and MOS designation, all that remained was the actual issuing orders and pay vouchers.  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, 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 school’s 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.

The beach at Rio Nido

Driving back , the road and surrounding now forever bookmarked while a hint of melancholy lingered.  Gary somewhat puzzled that he lacked a feeling elation that one would expect having accomplished and completed an eight week test of endurance, discipline and preparation.  Arriving home, the soldier felt somewhat out-of-place, 7964 Greenly Drive was no longer the same, it was their world, he did his best to be the person he was before, realizing they had remained the same, but his world had changed in the last eight weeks and he felt more like a visitor than a family member  The following weekend found the family on their way to Sebastopol with a stop at Gary’s Grandfather Marvin’s, a decision being made to take in the beach at Rio Nido on the Russian River, something they hadn’t done in years.  Their stay on the at Rio Nedo was brief but long enough to bring back memories of past visits when Gary was a youngster.  Back then his Grandfather Marvin and  Grandmother managed a motel and the highlight of the visit was his dad renting him a bike to ride enabling him to explore the narrow tree engulfed blacktop’s with their small  cottages.  Returning to Oakland, Gary settled into the doldrums of inactivity that final week awaiting his time for departure.   Sunday July 12 finally arriving the soldier’s Mom and Dad seeing their son board a 10:00 p.m. Western Airlines DC-B flight to Love Field, Dallas Texas.

 

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

January 20, 2017

DC-6B at the Oakland International Airport

The silver winged astral craft didn’t acknowledge the tarmac as home, only a beginning and a conclusion, only a means for sustenance to sustain its objective, awaiting direction to advance its purpose as all gathered in expectation,  a decamping trust. Activation awaits, to kindle the endowment, 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,  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 entrance to aircraft’s interior.  Lodging in an aisle placement,  the visual aperture seat having been secured by another uniformed person,  Gary seated for a non-stop flight to Love Field, Dallas Texas, scheduled for a six-thirty central time morning arrival.   The untested flyer was subject to the latitude of this new experience, discerning to mirror the acknowledge passengers and  their unimpressed placid appearance , but beneath this put on facade an intrinsic query remained.   The dimmed lights and subtle drone of the four Pratt & Whitney engines provided a somnolence envelope inducing a 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 debarking at Love field, it was immediately apparent the west coast required winter green Class A dress uniform was not germane for this region of the country,  all other army uniformed military were dressed in khakis,  appropriate for the July heat and humidity.  The winter uniform and top coat he carried was deriding,  but the circumstance would have to prevail.

Love Field, Dallas

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 and gate being announced, outside, on the tarmac was a  twin-engine DC-3 , 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 craft.   Once seated, observing there were seven rows of seats two on one side and one on the other, numbering 21 passengers consisting of mostly uniformed military.  A lone stewardess beginning to count heads and check seat belts  as the craft began taxing to the end of the runway. Gary much aware of this new undertaking, a brief halting, the throttle advanced, the  engines bellowing at full RPM, the craft straining to be set free the releasing of the brakes, the transport sprinting forward and with a thrust lifted into the air. Gary encountering a much different flight than the DC-6B,  the first noticeable difference was the sound of the engines proclaiming their existence, the second was the heat and humidity of the interior and once airborne  noticing the close proximity of the  ground the soldier discerning a barometric change in his ears sending a message the DC-3  may not be 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 Bermuda shorts and knee socks

The soldier entered the small airport terminal with the uniformed arrivals waiting to claim his duffel bag. He joined several others who were speaking to an agent behind the counter, who informed them he had called  base reception and they were sending transportation followed by a army olive drab small bus arriving.  After a brief auditing of their orders at reception the California soldier was on his way to the Second Enlisted Student Battery, Gary taking stock, a conclusion of one journey was the beginning of another..

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

January 18, 2017

A Fort Sill Welcoming

Barren,  desolate,  hot,  humid,  flat,  uninspiring, all words supposedly reflected as descriptive of Oklahoma, authoritated during basic training.   Gary ascertaining  the acuity of the statement,  perceiving there are those who strike out with frustration,  blinded by their own lack of interpolation.  They substitute 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 Apaches 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 a soon to be student accepted and acknowledging the vastness this artillery and missile training center.

Post Historical Marker

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 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 bunkbeds these were single berths each with twain lockers, foot and upright.  The duty NCO accorded 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 on Randolph Rd consisted 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 ongoing  instructional classes for aspects of Army Missile Operations including the Corporal, Redstone, and Honest John missiles.   The duty structure for those in attendance provided for full-time educational instruction,  eight hours per day,  five days a week, and a benefit for the duration of the students instructional stay the citadel stanchions of guard duty and K.P.  were not required.

Shoulder insignia of the staff & faculty of the USAAMS

The prospective CEMMC-2 classmate beginning to arrive,  Gary found one of the first arrivals, Al Martin,  a sportive outgoing person from Manhattan New York possessing unlimited imaginary attainment soon demonstrated.   The west wing policing  (cleaning)  duty list was posted by a soon to retire elderly seemingly forgetful NCO.   Private Martin happened upon this cadre sergeants  clipboard containing names on a duty list, and proceeded to add a fictitious name, Pvt. 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  calling out the name of  R. A. Glick for service and of course, without a response.  The second day once again calling for R.A. Glick and again still no one responding Martin speaking up about seeing the probability of a soldier on the third floor,  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 to his dismay the antic’s source remained unknown.

The class aggregate being fulfilled,  the domiciled  members remaining on the second floor of the far west wing only moving to the opposite side of the alcove.  The prospective CEMMC-2 classmate were mostly from the east,  Gary the only western state class member with the exception of Corporal Evans,  who was from Albuquerque.  Living off-post and in charge of this educational expedition was SFC  Stephens, a career artilleryman 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,  the domiciled accompaniment  consisted of Gary Willson, Al Martin, Paul White, a displaced V.M.I.. ex-student and David Keyes another college dropout, Paul Dumbrowsky,  Robert Tobin,  Vincent Lombardi, and Karl Krasyak.    The absence of not pulling guard duty or KP didn’t inhibit the responsibility to police their assigned domicile area,  Pvt. Willson having never experiencing the hazards in controlling a side to side floor buffer for the first time was a quick study.  Week day mornings finding the domiciled class members falling-in outside at 0600 Hrs,  the formation a formality for mess call.  After breakfast the prospective analytical disciples of missile electronics prepared for a daily journey to a learning  experience known as class.  The flavor for unknown was very much experienced, the group’s 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”.

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

January 16, 2017
An introduction to chess

An introduction to chess

An introductory exploration of the Fort Sill post facilities by some of the CEMMC2 class 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 , bounteously populated by 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 desire to explore the game was reinforced with 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 ensuing discovery within walking distance, a  journey to the post Library not 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 engaging 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

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 of others in civilian clothing.  It was announced over the PA the unit designation of artillery firing battery units participating.  The firepower demonstrators were artillery  units consisting of  155mm, 8 inch 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.  What really surprised him was the pressure repercussion of the out of sight 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.  He later discovered later  it wasn’t mandatory to make yourself available to attend, especially if you happened to be an early arrival at the service club for Saturday morning coffee and donuts.

The 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 labyrinthine 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 empowered.   Seriousness was not always captive during class,  youthfulness would vacillate and sometimes deviate causing a prankish impulse 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..

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

January 14, 2017

Pvt E-2 Willson

It was time to lay siege to Lawton and exploit its offerings provided 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 was centered on either side of the Lawton Cafe on 3rd Street.  A twelve o’clock closing  curfew presided over a multitude of  flourishing compacted taverns,  finding the 3.2 beer pavilion landscape interspersed with pawn shops and sporadic tattoo endowments.  Tobin,  White,  Martian  and Willson laying claim to Bills’  Alley Club,  but unbeknownst to three of the group there was one among them that had sampled but never had any desired to consume a bottle or glass beverage of alcohol, 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 on occasion donating a round of  beer.  With Tobin and Martin shouldering from New York City and White from Pennsylvania, Willson was surprised their beer of choice wasn’t an eastern brew as expected but one that 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.  Once back on base, it was soon discovered that with an every increasing amount of classroom study, the brevity of Lawton was acknowledged, but to limited anomalies.

Aerial view of 2nd & C – Lawton

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 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.  With his new discerning knowledge he was successful at his endeavor, somewhat expecting a commendatory comment from the instructor but such as it was, the only person his accomplishment impressed was himself.

The lady laid prone, communication conduits contain numerous leads were prescribed, addressing her sleek and slender anatomy enabling conversations to inquire 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 test-cabled 45 ft. long nuclear capable missile confirmed that it was ready for erection and certified Go for launch.  Martin and Willson receiving  an admission of approbation from the Warrant Officer monitoring the two as he observed the discovery and correction of his previous installed defective components found 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 occupied by Tobin and White.   Martin up to his antic again, without hesitation, walking over to Tobin’s and Whites missile, glancing to make sure he wasn’t 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.

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.   The evening approaching, Gary discovering that this so-called flat prairie part of Oklahoma also retained another little talked about venue, a majestic vista for sunrise & sunsets.

 

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

January 12, 2017
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 of 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 propellant 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 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.

The El Capitan

The Christmas holidays arriving and all USAAMS classes would close for two weeks until after the first of the year.  Gary having decided to apply for leave and take a bus home.  He mentioned his plans to Corporal Evans, discovering Evan’s and his family were returning to Albuquerque for the holidays, Gary immediately seizing on the opportunity to save some money, asking if they had enough room for one more, planning to leave from Albuquerque rather than Lawton.  Gary ventured home, his eight months of longevity having arrived and he was no longer Pvt. E-2 Willson, but PFC Willson, and while home his mother volunteering to sew a PFC stripe he conveniently brought along, on his uniform.  Having made arrangements with Evans to again ride with him and his family, placing a call  that he would be arriving in Albuquerque, not by bus, but on  the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, El Capitan.  It was PFC Willson second train ride, his first on a trip while in junior high, traveling from Oakland to the boardwalk at Santa Cruz along with a trainload of other Oakland Tribune paper route boys.  The experience was somewhat dimmed, the scenic part of the travel was at night, the non-Pullman, all chair El Capitan did leave a lasting impression, the soldier having removed his shoes, falling asleep for several hours, awaking to discover for the first time, he feet had swollen and it was all he could do to get his shoe back  on.

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 33 week educational final and would remain at Ft. Sill reassigned for eight weeks of USAFC training and assigned to a field 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.