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

Air conditioning was a necessity during the many coalescent summer months at Fort Sill,  the stifling heat and humidity would search out the motorized vehicles utilized for transportation. The 5-ton Missile Test-Station,  a stationary presence when cabled for operation,  accommodating numerous telemetry  test panels, oscilloscopes, evaluating readout platforms 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 the Warrant Officer, inquiring about security and adjudged to enforce a previous disregarded  regulation.

The Test-Van by directive was allocated to staff having secured a secret clearance,  which were officers and certain accessing personnel. but  Gary’s and his co-worker PFC Clark had adhered to their predecessors disregard, allowing all firing battery  NCO’s and Gary’s nemesis,  Spec 5 Crow to access the Van and partake of the air-conditioned atmosphere.  Upon manifestation of circumstance, a change was initiated, many of the line staff the NCO’s and others were not happy, as they could no longer experience a brief escape from the heat or help themselves to the presence of a coffee pot.


The 2nd Battalion 80th Artillery was deployed to the west range on a setup station adjacent to  a 8 inch howitzer battery,  the ground vibrating with every barrage ,  sending the visible 200 pound projectiles hurtling across the expanse.  During the multi-fold field exercises,  a sense of  competition prevailing between the  two missile firing battery platoons, on the time it would take to cable up, test and certifying the missile’s acquisition.   Gary discerning that his and Clark’s competitive counterparts in the 1st firing battery test van were E5  journeyman of the old 2 46th,  to exceed their proficiency would require a marked attempt by the younger two of the 2nd firing battery.


Cabling completed, 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, mentioning the procedure was still indelibly imprinted from his daily test station powering up at school.  The PFC beginning to activate the procedure 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, the more experienced 1st firing battery test station technicians were more seasoned,  Gary concluding not to use the memory power up procedure again, reasoning that expediency should only trump deliberation in competing sporting events.


Payback was suspect,  the Firing Battery having blundered with Clark and Gary, failing to issue a weapons upon their arrival,  both remaining silent about this anomaly.  Once a month at 16 hundred hours, 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.

Spec5 Crow,  Gary’s nemesis encountered the discrepancy augmenting the electronic technicians with 30 caliber carbine,  Gary mentioning to crow that they hadn’t qualified with the 30 caliber carbine, but with the 30 odd six  M1 Garand in basic training    The E5 wasn’t deterred, checking their 2 oh 1 file,  arranging for the two to qualify with the carbine and additionally, the  army holster-bearing, Colt 45,  a required test van weapons.   Crow making arrangements, the two  transported to the post small arm firing range.  The PFC’s with their newly acquired weapons qualifications, not only 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.


The person whom Gary incurred at the service club music room months earlier, making reference to his piano nimbleness had returned.   His name was Loren Glenn Froman, an artillery unit supply clerk and soon to be civilian.  Glenn proclaiming music credentials as a lyricist and drummer,  having in the past submitted material to various artist before being drafted in Indiana for his military calling.   In the service club music room, again questioning the pianist about his music and this time a possible consideration to play the piano with two other musicians in an impromptu session, just to see the possibilities.     Gary was content with his monogamous conversation and collaboration with the piano’s narrative portraits,  but Glenn’s question spurred an interest, hesitant but finally accepting his proposal out of curiosity, having never played with accompanying instruments and conceivably would enlighten the shadow of a long-standing question concerning a possible sequestered music certainty.

Glenn having arranged for the four to meet Sunday afternoon at Chester Burke’s Diamond Horseshoe Club, 5 miles west of Lawton, the club having a piano.   Gary being introduced to Jimmy Clay, a rhythm guitar player with a Neil Sedaka repertoire and Carl Wright, a Korean war sergeant from fort sill.  Carl a somewhat lead guitar player and vocalist.  With the arrival of the two,  Glenn on drums, and Gary at the piano, the impromptu session began. Gary finding no difficulty with the simplified chord structure of the commercially popular songs. The session may have been impromptu, but Glenn apparently was an anomalous promoter having arranged to get the four together at a private club with a piano, on a Sunday afternoon and the club owner present.   the proprietor was impressed upon hearing the group, making a financial offer.  The group 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 impromptu musicians making their debut,  Gary abreast of the turn of events and the apparent new direction it was headed, an unexpected page suddenly appearing in the book of life, questioning whether to remain steadfast on his course or venture down this unexplored path.

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