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

Corporal Missile Test Station

Air conditioning was a necessity during the many coalescent 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 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

The only time concern prevailed was during the multi-fold 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  200 pound projectiles hurtling across the expanse.   Gary discerning that his and Clark’s counterparts in the 1st firing battery test van were older more experienced journeyman in their profession,  to exceed their proficiency would require a marked attempt by the younger two of the 2nd firing battery.  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 him that he was the most recent graduate of the missile school, having powered up the station daily and the procedure was still 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 competition between the firing battery’s but the shortened procedure was respectable.   The more experienced 1st firing battery test station technicians were analogue,  Gary concluding that it would not be advisable to use the memory hastened power up procedure again, reasoning that expediency should only trump deliberation in sporting events.

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 never qualified with the 30. caliber carbine but with the 30.6  M-1 Garand in basic training.  The E-5 wasn’t deterred, arranging for the two to qualify with the carbine and the army holster-bearing Colt .45 also required as test van weapons.  Arrangements were made, the two  transported to the post small arm firing range.  The PFC’s with their newly acquired weapons qualification,  having their names now posted on the cleaning and weapons inspection roster but serving double duty with two weapons to service for inspection,  all to the recreational gratification of Specialist 5 Crow.

Glenn Froman

Chester Burke’s’ Diamond Horseshoe Club

The person that Gary incurred at the service club music room months earlier, making reference to his piano nimbleness having returned.   His name was Loren 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 in Indiana for his military calling.  Once again In the post service club music room, 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.  Gary was content  with his monogamous conversation and acquired  relationship with the piano,  having never considered propagating it for monetary compensation or for the entertainment of others, but Glenn’s question spurred an interest, the pianist agreeing to accompany him to Lawton on a Saturday afternoon.

Gary was introduced to a Jimmy Clay, a family man with a wife and daughter.  He could sing and play rhythm  guitar, giving an impromptu Neil Sedaka impersonation.  The pianist felt uncomfortable in the small house, just acquainted with Glenn and now introduced to Jimmy deciding to decline Glenn’s offer but the drummer was not taking no for an answer, prompting Gary for a one time rehearsal with instruments before make his decision.   Hesitant but finally accepting Glenn’s proposal out of curiosity, having never played with accompanying instruments and to enlighten the shadow of a long-standing question concerning a possible sequestered music certainty.   The rehearsal was impromptu, but two-fold, Glenn apparently was an anomalous promoter having arranged their rehearsal  attempt at a private club with a piano and included in the Sunday afternoon audience was the club owner.  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, 5 miles west of Lawton.  Gary questioned the turn of events and the apparent new direction it was headed, an unexpected page suddenly appearing in the book of life.


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