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

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”.

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