Ft. Ord – A Departure…..#80 (the 50’s)

The eight weeks of basic training having come to a conclusion, the entire training battalion dressed in class A uniforms assembled.  There was no band to accompany the regatta on the parade grounds, but miraculously two drummers appeared, publicizing the congregation casting a rhythmic intonation cadence, painting a picture of promotion for the pageantry of the smartly assembled training battalions. The VIP’s  were stationed for review, the units demonstrating the liberty of precision and an atmosphere of recognition could be perceived.  The soldier not questioning the ceremonial event, its arrival an approbation for the instructional cadre  a celebration of attainment for the training units and their given tasks,  Gary thought it very appropriate.   The ceremony concluded,  a return to the barracks finding the shadows of a relaxed discipline in anticipation of the posting of the MOS school assignments, and for some an eagerness  prevailed.   The soldier contemplated his change of character, military experiences reflects an understanding that perspicacity is individual, but very much recognizable, a different person having emerged.


The day of reckoning was Thursday,  June 25th.   listed were the trainees of Company B, 5th Battle Group, 1st Training Battalion, and their subsequent duty station and m o s  designation, all that remained was the actual issuing of orders and pay vouchers.  With the trainee’s dispersed, Gary’s 2nd floor 4th platoon bay vacant, save one, considering himself a remnant.  The training unit having fulfilled its obligation with most dispatched to their MOS school, but Gary and some from the other three platoon’s still remained awaiting orders.  Most of the drafted personal received orders for AIT ,  advanced infantry training remaining at Fort Ord.  others to AFA, the army field artillery, with those assigned to a communication school going to Fort Monmouth New Jersey.


Pvt. Willson = finally receiving marching orders on June 29th to report to the Duty Officer, 2nd Enlisted Student Battery,  operation, CEMME 2,  corporal electronics material maintenance course,  Fort Sill Oklahoma on July 13th, 1959……     the soldier was disenchanted, he was aware of his MOS,  having no idea of the school’s location,  and with an analogizing of missile electronics,   the dust bowl state was totally disconcerted.  Rationalization was not applicatory,  the one thing he had discerned in the past eight weeks, army directive was final,  the statutory words being,  Yes Sir!


Gary pausing upon leaving, a two-week furlough awaiting before reporting to Fort Sill.  his thoughts about departing this calling known as Fort Ord was almost one of abandonment,  not that his leaving was without Cause,  and not that this eight week realm of charge’ was without reason, for this military complex has been witness to many and could lay testimony to their attainment,  it’s purpose and portals remain endowed. The 56 dodge navigated the main gate onto the highway,  a lasting rear view glance of fort Ord in the mirror,  his foot on the throttle, a hint of melancholy lingering.  Private Willson somewhat puzzled that he lacked a feeling elation that one would expect, having accomplished and completed an eight week test of endurance, discipline and Preparation.


Arriving home the soldier once again,  feeling somewhat out-of-place..  7964 Greenly Drive was no longer the same, it was their world,  he did his best to be the person he was before, realizing they had remained the same, but his world had changed in the last eight weeks,  and he felt more like a visitor than a family member.   The following weekend found the family on their way to Grandfather Marvin’s residence the other side of Santa Rosa, a decision being made to take in the beach at Rio Nido,  on the Russian River, something they hadn’t done in years.  Their visit to Rio Nido was brief but long enough to bring back memories of the past when Gary was a youngster.


Returning to Oakland, the soldier settled into the doldrums of inactivity, awaiting his time for departure, the exception,  his mother and him attending the acclaimed movie On The Beach, depicting a submarine commanders communion with acquaintances and life after a destructive nuclear war..   Sunday July 12th finally arriving, Private Willson’s mother and father seeing their son board a Oakland Airport, 10:00 p.m.  Western Airlines DC-8-B flight to Love Field, Dallas Texas.



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