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

A Fort Sill Welcoming

Barren, desolate, hot, humid, flat, uninspiring, all words supposedly descriptive of Oklahoma, having been authenticated by recruits who supposedly had first hand knowledge.  Gary ascertaining  the acuity of the statement as substituting opinion for what he found as fact, a subliminal display of an inability to cope with the true reality of Fort Sill. The 94,000 acre military installation having the appearance of a bourgeois military complex,  host to 20,000 service personnel, 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 he later re-designated as 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 was commissioned as the Army’s first  artillery training school.  Later in 1915  was followed by becoming the birthplace of combat aviation with the formation of the 1st Aero Squadron.  With the advent of WWII,  an army artillery spotters school was established, training fixed wing pilots as field artillery spotter, the school transferring to Fort Rucker in 1951.  Gary, a soon to be student, acknowledging the historic past and the vastness of 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 recent arrival directed to the second floor in the furthest reaches of the west wing, finding a bay dominion adjoined with characteristic army beds, but unlike the basic training bunk beds these were single berths each with twain lockers, foot and upright.  The reception 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 was a large educational edifice complete with mess hall and day rooms, its enrollment resembling a perplexing diversified collection of all non-commissioned ranks.  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 a Staff and Faculty Battery complex.  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 class duty structure besides maintaining their billets, provided for full-time educational instruction,  eight hours per day, five days a week, the students exempt from the army citadel stanchions of guard duty and K.P..

Shoulder insignia of the staff & faculty of the USAAMS

The prospective CEMMC-2 (Corporal Electronic Material Maintenance Class) classmates beginning to arrive,  Gary somewhat impressed with one of the first arrivals.  Al Martin,  a sportive outgoing person from Manhattan, New York,  possessing unlimited imaginary attainment, providing applicable demonstrations.  The west wing policing  (cleaning)  duty list was posted by a soon to retire elderly, seemingly forgetful NCO.   Private Martin happened upon the cadre sergeants clipboard containing a list of 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 an unoccupied third floor area 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 responds,  Martin commenting loud enough to be overheard about a lone soldier on the third floor, securing the attention of the duty sergeant.  With the perplexity of student traffic coming and going, the apparent absence of R.A. Glick continued for a short time before the NCO realized  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.  In charge of this educational expedition and living off-post was classmate SFC Stephens, a career artilleryman with 12 years experience,  complemented with Staff Sergeant Ross, a sixteen year veteran and Corporal Evans, the remaining 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.  David Keyes another college dropout, Paul Dumbrowsky,  Robert Tobin,  Amato Lombardi, and Karl Kraszak.  The absence of not pulling guard duty or KP didn’t inhibit the responsibility to police their assigned domicile area,  Gary having never experienced the hazards in controlling a side to side floor buffer for the first time and became a quick study after rearranging the furniture with it.  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 their 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”.

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