2nd Enlisted Student Battery – An Arrival…#82 (the 50’s)

    Private Gary Willson having arrived at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, with orders to report to the Duty Officer, 2nd Enlisted Student Battery, for a 33 week corporal electronics material maintenance class M O S prerequisite,  the class designated as CEMMC-2.  Entering the three-story  Student Battery conclave,  feeling out of place dressed in his west coast green winter class A uniform, inquiring where to report.   The Duty Officer noting his order’s,  directing him to a  NCO in the far west wing for quartering.  Gary addressed to an area on the second floor, his abode was accorded as “temporary quarters”,  awaiting the remainder CEMMC-2 complement to arrive.

    The 2nd Enlisted Student Battery building was composed of four extended wings emulating inset alcoves bordering a Spanish motif,  with its tile roof and alfresco balconies.  The U S A A M S, (United States Army artillery Missile School ) premises on Randolph Road consisted of three buildings, the 2nd Enlisted, the Staff and Faculty and the 1st Officers Student Battery

 

    The 2nd Enlisted and 1st. Officers were provisional dormitory for the students attending ongoing instructional classes, for all aspects of Army Missile Operations, encompassing  the Redstone, the ultimate in long distance field artillery weaponry, a 63ft.  liquid  fueled missile, with a 150 mile range, delivering a 2point3 megaton nuclear warhead.  The Corporal, a 45ft. liquid  20 kiloton nuclear shuttle, with an intermediate range of 80 miles.  followed by the 24ft.  truck mounted solid fuel 12 mile  range Honest John, also with a nuclear capability of up to  20 kilotons.  and  Little John, a solid fueled 12ft.  trailer mounted high explosive warhead missile, for coverage of less than 11 miles.

    The duty structure for students  provided for full-time instruction,  eight hours per day,  five days a week, with an addendum Saturday morning attendance,  to observe field firepower demonstrations.  The arriving student status provided some good news for the duration of their stay,  the citadel Army stanchions of guard duty and K P, was not a pre requisite.

     The 94,000 acre military installation of Fort Sill having the appearance of a bourgeois military complex, host to 20,000 plus, outnumbering the 18,000 residence of the neighboring  town of Lawton.

 

     Fort Sill’s historical past is one that parallels that of Oklahoma, beginning with General of the Army Philip Sheridan of Civil War Appomattox fame,  leading the campaign into Indian Territory in 1869,  establishing Fort Wichita, which was re-designated Fort Sill, named after Brigadier General Joshua W Sill, a West Point Classmate, and good Friend of Sheridan’s who was killed in the civil war’s bloodfest  battle at Stoney River.  Sheridan eulogizing.   “No man in the entire army, I believe, was so much admired, respected, and beloved by inferiors as well as superiors in rank as was General Sill”.

    Fort Sill first gained notoriety with the capture and incarceration of Geronimo and the Chiricahua Apaches.  In October 1894, the Chiricahua’s were transferred to Fort Sill in southwestern Oklahoma Territory, where the geography was similar to that of their homeland.  They built villages that were scattered around the post.  Geronimo, like other Apaches, was given a plot of land on which he took up farming activities.

     In 1911, another Fort Sill milestone,  the military bastion becoming the  Army first artillery training school, and in 1915 becoming the birthplace of combat aviation with the formation of the 1st Aero Squadron. The squadron made up of Curtis J n3,   Jenny’ biplanes, shipped to Fort Sill in crates and assembled on the parade grounds.    With no airfield, they were walked to the polo field where the Wright Brothers taught the Aero Squadron members to fly.

  

     The prospective CEMMC-2  classmates beginning to arrive,  Gary introducing himself to one of the first arrivals, an enlistee from Manhattan New York, Al Martin.  Al possessing an entertaining outlook on life which the army was soon to experience.  It was protocol,  the yet to be filled class  arrivals were responsible for the policing, (cleaning)  the west wing floors.  A duty list roll call was held in the morning,  supervised by a gray haired elderly NCO.  Martin happened upon the sergeants misplaced clipboard, listing names for policing duty.  An enlighten Al,   proceeding to add a fictitious name to the list,  Private R A Glick. The next morning at policing duty roll-call, the NCO calling out the name R A Glick, getting no response.  That evening Martin ventured to an unoccupied section of the third floor,  dressing down a bunk with bedding, leaving drink and food wrappings, giving the appearance of occupancy.  The second day, The sergeant again calling for R A  Glick and again still no response.  Martin speaking up, when he was on policing duty, noticing a made up bed in an unoccupied part of the third floor.  It was apparent, the curiosity of the sergeant was aroused.   With the perplexity of student traffic coming and going, the apparent absence of R A Glick was not unusual, but it was suspect that the sergeant had realized he was a victim of a prank, Gary wondering if had ever put 2 N 2 together.

     The class aggregate being fulfilled,  the second floor domiciled members being moved to the opposite side of the alcove.  Gary’s CEMMC-2  classmate were mostly from the east,   he being the only western state class member, with the exception of Corporal Evans,  whose wife and family resided in Albuquerque.  In charge of this educational bound expedition, and residing off post  was Sergeant First Class Stephens,  a career artilleryman with 12 years’ of service.  Complementing the leadership rank was Staff Sergeant Ross, a sixteen year veteran,  plus the addition of  Corporal Evans.

     The on CEMMC-2  class members consisted of Gary, Al Martin,  Paul White,  David Keyes,  Paul Dombrowsky, Robert Tobin,  Vinnie Lombardi and Karl Kirchoc.   Week day mornings finding the billeted  class members falling in at 0 600 Hours,  the outside formation, a formality for mess call before their daily march to class.   The atmosphere for the unknown was very much experienced, the group’s enthusiasm reigned with an advent of expectation. The prospective CEMMC-2 soldiers were of like mind,  taking the first steps in this journey. Gary sensing the anticipation of the group,  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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