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, only a beginning and a conclusion, only a means for sustenance to sustain its objective, awaiting direction to advance its purpose as all gathered in expectation,  a decamping trust. Activation awaits, to kindle the endowment, administer volitation to flee the bonds of terrestrial bind and give destination a meaning.   The DC-6B was positioned for boarding .

The soldier’s departing emotion was layered beneath the momentary anticipations of a first air-flight,  his new duty assignment.  The damp night air radiating off  San Francisco Bay presented an unspoken farewell as he mounted the steps,  turning,  a retreating unfeigned glimpse, an evanescent feeling of melancholy was awaken for an instant,  but vanished with the entrance to aircraft’s interior.  Lodging in an aisle placement,  the visual aperture seat having been secured by another uniformed person,  Gary seated for a non-stop flight to Love Field, Dallas Texas, 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 facade 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 Dallas,  an examination of his reservations, Gary discovering a two-hour layover before embarking on to Lawton  Oklahoma and Fort Sill.  Upon his debarking at Love field, it was immediately apparent the west coast required winter green Class A dress uniform was not germane for this region of the country,  all other army uniformed military were dressed in khakis,  appropriate for the July heat and humidity.  The winter uniform and top coat he carried was deriding,  but the circumstance would have to prevail.

Love Field, Dallas

Central Airlines DC-3

The two-hour layover an enabling opportunity for the soldier to acquire some nourishment before searching out  the Central Airlines domain. His flight and gate being announced, outside, on the tarmac was a  twin-engine DC-3 , the ground crew scurrying to load duffel bags into the aircraft. The soldier noting 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 two on one side and one on the other, numbering 21 passengers 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 much aware of this new undertaking, a brief halting, the throttle advanced, the  engines bellowing at full RPM, the craft straining to be set free the releasing of the brakes, the transport sprinting forward and with a thrust lifted into the air. Gary encountering 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 interior and once airborne  noticing the close proximity of the  ground the soldier discerning a barometric change in his ears sending a message the DC-3  may not be 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, deciding the effort was in vain returning to her seat in the rear of the plane.  The craft descending into Wichita Falls the 120 mile flight taking less than hour,  a brief stop for the  Sheppard Air Force Base compliment to disembark,  the remainder would continue the 50 miles to decorate the Lawton Oklahoma airport facility.

Military Bermuda shorts and knee socks

The soldier entered the small airport terminal with the uniformed arrivals waiting to claim his duffel bag. He joined several others who were speaking to an agent behind the counter, who informed them he had called  base reception and they were sending transportation followed by a army olive drab small bus arriving.  After a brief auditing of their orders at reception the California soldier was on his way to the Second Enlisted Student Battery, Gary taking stock, a conclusion of one journey was the beginning of another..

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