Confirmation of Assignment….#81 (the 50’s)

DC-6B at the Oakland International Airport

.    The silver winged astral craft didn’t acknowledge the tarmac as home, but only a beginning and  conclusion, the tarmac a means for sustenance to sustain its objective. The craft  stood waiting direction to advance its purpose, while all gathered in expectation,  a decamping trust.  Its activation to kindle the endowment, and administer a volition to flee the bonds of terrestrial tether,   Giving destination a meaning.   The DC-6B was positioned for Boarding .

.    Private Gary Willson, having completed his 8 weeks of basic training at Fort Ord,  finally receiving marching orders on June 29th to report to the Duty Officer,  2nd Enlisted Student Battery,   operation,  CEMMC 2,  for a 33 week corporal electronics material maintenance course, with an addendum nuclear warhead school at Fort Sill Oklahoma on July 13th, 1959.

.    It was a  Sunday night,  and a 10:00 PM  Oakland airport departure for the soldier, Gary’s mother and father,  seeing their son board the Western Airlines DC-6B flight for Love Field, Dallas Texas.  His  emotions layered beneath the momentary anticipations of his first air-flight..   The damp night air radiating off  the Bay,  presenting an unspoken farewell as he mounted the steps.   Turning,  a retreating unfeigned glimpse of the  Hills and Home.   An evanescent feeling of melancholy was awaken for an instant,  but Vanished with the entrance to the aircraft’s .  His ticketed lodging,  an aisle seat Placement,  the visual aperture seat having been Secured by another uniformed person.  the 6 ½ hour nonstop flight to Love Field,  scheduled for a six-thirty central time,  morning Arrival.

.    The untested flyer was subject to the latitude of this new experience, discerning to mirror the acknowledge passengers,  and their unimpressed placid appearance,   but beneath this put on façade,  an intrinsic query remained.   The dimmed lights and subtle drone,  of the four Pratt  Whitney engines provided a somnolence envelope,  inducing a much needed repose, which the young soldier indulged.   Awaken with announcement of an approach to Love Field,  an examination of his reservations,  Gary discovering a two-hour layover before embarking  to Lawton  Oklahoma,  and Fort Sill.  Upon his debarkation , it was immediately apparent,  the west coast requirement of a winter green Class A dress uniform was not germane for this region of the country.  All other army uniformed were dressed in khaki’s,  appropriate for the summer July heat and humidity.  The winter uniform and top coat he carried was deriding.  But, the circumstance would have to prevail.


.    The two-hour layover,  enabling an opportunity for the soldier to acquire some nourishment before searching out the Central Airlines domain. His flight and gate boarding  announced, outside on the tarmac,  a  twin-engine DC-3  stood poised, the soldier noticing the ground crew scurrying to load duffel bags into the aircraft,  from the number of bags, it was apparent he wouldn’t be the only military to board the craft.   Once seated, observing there were seven rows of seats,  each row having two seats on the left of the aisle, and one on the right, numbering 21, consisting of mostly uniformed military.  A lone stewardess beginning to count heads and check seat belts  as the craft began taxing to the end of the runway.  Gary very much conscious of this new experience,  the DC3 briefly halting,  the throttle advanced, the  engines bellowing at full RPM,  the craft straining to be set free , then the releasing of the brakes, the transport sprinting forward and with a thrust lifted into the air.

.    The soldier aware of  a much different flight than the DC-6B,  the First noticeable difference was the sound of the engines proclaiming their Existence,  the Second was the heat and humidity of the cabin,  and once airborne, noticing the close proximity of the  ground.The Soldier discerning a barometric change in his ears, sending a message,  the DC3  was not a pressurized craft.   The relative recumbent landscape surrounding the  Dallas area,  beginning to give way to the rolling hills of rural Texas,  the craft reacting to the up and down drafts.  Gary and the other  experiencing the  buffeting and sudden movements.   The Stewardess attempting to provide a semblance of service to the attentive military onlookers,   but was having  difficulty  keeping  her balance with the motion of the plane,  finally deciding the effort was in Vain, returning to her seat at the rear of the plane.

.    The Dc3 making its approach and descending to Lawton,  Gary disembarking,  entering the airport terminal building,   joining the others that were Fort Sill bound.   the agent behind the counter mentioning he had called  base reception,  and  they were sending transportation.   After a brief auditing of his orders at reception,  Private Willson found he was the lone transport to the Second Enlisted Student Battery.  The young soldier taking stock of the last 12 hours with mixed emotions,  his leaving, the goodbyes, the flight to Oklahoma, but confident in his enlistment decision, and this new found anchor in life,   The Army.

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