8/31/2016

Nearing the end of the season

Barb mentioned that her garden is slowing down it's production and things aren't doing nearly as well right now.  For the first time in many years, the grass in the yards is still green and there seems to be no end for the green grass until the first frost.   On top of that, it rained again last night.

What's on your agenda in the summer when the ground is too wet.  The idea of riding on the pavement at the lake is not such a good idea with goose poop and no bike fenders on the recumbent.  There is also the matter of the recumbent being a little rear wheel heavy and slick causes accidents.  The good news is that you don't have far to fall but at 69, even that could be a real game changer.

Barbara had me go to the hardware store and buy her a 10 foot ladder to help pick fruit in the orchard.  Yes, I am still on a "No Ladder" ban for a while.  I seem to do OK on the bike but somehow ladders aren't my best thing to do.  I can carry it out and hold it steady while she climbs it but I'll stay on the ground.

There is a new Jason Borne movie out but the only local showings are in the evening (6 & 10 PM)  I would love to take Barb to red Robin and take in a show if it were earlier.  Oh well.

Today Barb was adding up some numbers and got out the calculator.  It glitched and  I told her that was the story of my life.  I told her that I would need a balance sheet to add up the numbers.  She doesn't have one on her Mac.  I may have to dig in and help her. 

I put a couple of funny stories about my mother on Facebook.  I really do miss her and some of the funny things she said and did.  It seems that several Sundays Mom would put a pot roast in the oven and they would be burnt by the time she got home.  Dad would complain but he never did anything about turning the roast off.  I think if the bathroom wasn't just off the kitchen he wouldn't go there hardly at all.   No, that isn't correct...  Every day at 11:30 Dad would walk the block fro Beech to our house and as he went through the kitchen,  he would open a can of Oyster Stew and put it on the stove in a small pot.  He would go into the bathroom and wash his hands. (Plus whatever he needed to do)  As he walked back by the stove, he would pour the soup in a bowl at whatever temperature it was.  He would add a half of a stack of crackers and a squirt of catsup and sit down and eat it.  Dad worked at Beech for 40 years and I'll bet that noon time routine didn't vary much.  I'm pretty sure that Mom bought Oyster Stew for Dad because none of the kids would touch the stuff.  There was always five cans in the storage cabinet that no one but Dad would eat. 

The other day we talked about the peculiar things our parents did and Mom was right at the top of the list.  The Jewel-Tea man cam by about twice a month.  Mom would always buy some popcorn and a few other small things.   When we moved Mom to Arkansas, there must have been about 20 boxes of that popcorn on her shelf.  Barb's Mom would always go by the 2nd hand shelf at the store and buy the discount items.  With 6 kids to feed, I'm sure she needed to do that a lot to keep everyone fed. The problem was that even when they all went away she continued to do that.  First thing Barbara did when her Mom got sick was to get in the cupboard and throw all the stuff away that was out of date.

 The other day, I am not sure why or how, I found that the Artillery OCS on Facebook.  It has been kind of fun to see what my fellow classmates write about our time there.  One of these days I will get the book up on line and remember what I wrote about it.  One of the funniest things I remember was the first overnight pass we had one of my classmates replayed to us the story of his night out on the town.  Seems that he a couple of the other guys went to a bar in Lawton and near the end of the evening they picked up a couple of chicks.  They went out on the road by Mount Scott and proceeded to fall asleep.  He said that his pretty Indian Princess turned out to be a duplicate of Chief Sitting Bull.  I don't think he went back to that bar again. 

Oh well, moving on...

MUD

8/25/2016

Day After

Last night we had a deluge of rain and some wind.  A friend in Lawrence had a tree fall on his car but luckily it didn't do that much damage.  They did have to take a chain saw and cut the tree off but it was still mobile after that.   I notice there are a couple of branches broken here but nothing too dangerous.

I brought my Cub Cadet mower home from David's and it would not start.  Even with the battery freshly charged, nothing would happen when I turned on the key.  With the battery out of the mower, I could see the bottom of the battery box and there seemed to be one small wire not fastened to anything.  I imagine that one of the pack rats chewed it off.  It just so happened to be the ground wire to the ignition switch and without it, nothing worked.  Minor problem to fix once I found where the problem was.  

Again, I needed the plastic box of connectors and the crimping tool to put a splice in the cut wire.  I looked everywhere but could not find either.  I got out the soldering iron and fixed the wire on a lot more permanent style.  A short trip to harbor freight put me back in business but I will probably find the missing items in a day or so.   The girl at Harbor freight said to pout the box in the first place I looked for the old one.  Now if I could just remember where that was.

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of my graduating from OCS at Fort Sill.  I wonder how many other guys will show up for that.   I went to my 50th High School reunion last year and had a good time.  Perhaps I can get my High School buddy and OCS fellow attendee to go.  Oh well, Perhaps Harvey won't be interested as he went on and made his career in the Construction business and I retired from the Military.

Have you noticed that most of the popular writers are having someone write parts of their books?  In a lot of cases I can't tell where one starts and the other ends.  In some cases, it is plain.  W.E. B. Griffon (William Butterworth) has a son that co-writes with him.  When Dad is writing, the information that fills in more than the conversation is good.  When the son writes, the conversation is OK but the background is very flat.  Oh well, he is getting old and perhaps it is the dad that is forgetting some of the details.

'Better run and get some things done.

MUD

8/23/2016

Yep, the Olympics are finally Over

If that is the real case, why are the reruns still on Cable TV?  Oh well, I have other things to do now that the temperatures are back in the normal range.  I will do my best to get everything done this fall before winter really sets in.

Today there was an ad in the paper for a car I wanted to buy but someone got there before I did.  They wanted $4,000 for an 04 Mercury with about 40,000 miles on it.  Today it is in the paper for almost $7,000.  Dang I hate it when that happens.  I have been looking for a newer car for Barb but so far haven't found anything as cheap as I am. 

Today I am going to the store and will get some fixin's for spaghetti squash dinner that I have in my mind.  We have plenty of squash and I have this idea that a spicy (Cajun) dish might be right on point.  I will use some bratwurst and some Cajun tomato seasoning.  Just for the heck of it I have Okra and I might add some of that to the mix. 

Some time this week I hope that the trail is dry and we can get in another bike ride.  Today we are going to take our Daughter-in-law out to lunch.  I am not sure that Barb thinks we can get in a ride before that.  Oh well, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Just for kicks and giggles, I am going to propose for the Grammar Nazi's some changes.   Everyone is all up in arms over your and you're.  If we could just call it UR and move on.   There, Their and They're could be just TR.  Now wasn't that easy?   Move on boys and girls.

Last night on my way home from singing, I had my radio on and the Talk Radio guys were going on about how the media is all in favor of Hillary.  Then they spent about 15 minutes making up stuff about Donald Trump.   Sheesh, I will be ever so glad when this is all over.  If you really want to ready the funny papers go to Facebook and just see the crap there. (or TR)

Better go se if the wife has plans.

MUD

8/22/2016

Yep, It's Monday Again

As an old retired fart, the idea of an alarm clock has gone out the window.  I needed to get up early yesterday to sing with the Barbershop Chorus so I looked for an alarm clock app on my cell phone.  There it was.  I set it and laid it down next to where I would sleep.   At 6:30 the most terrible music blared out of that little phone.  I had selected the William Tell Overture sang by the Vienna's Boys choir.   The opening to that song was like someone had played it with a bad set of trumpets.  The edge in their voices had to be loud enough to wake the Devil.  It worked for me.  In case you haven't listened to the Bill tell song in a while, I hum it every time I go to the dump.  "To the Dump, To the Dum, To the Dump, dump, dump."  Once it gets into my head, it just sits there and I have to sing along.

Our Barbershop Chorus sings three times in the summer at different churches.  It is so the choir can have a day off.  It is really a lot of fun and worth the effort even if I do have to come home and take a nap.   Who do I think I am kidding?  I would have taken a nap either way. 

This morning I was wearing my new KU shirt Barb bought me for my Birthday.  I told her it was my birthday shirt.  She turned down an offer to see my birthday suit.  Dang, I hate it when that happens.

Old retired guys have to put their pills in one of those containers with the days of the week on it.  Lord help me if I miss a day.  The good news is that I am not taking anything dangerous that could really cause a problem if I doubled up.  If it were not for the days of the week on the pill container, I might have trouble knowing what day it is.  When we sing on Sunday, it is like it is Tuesday when it is really Monday.  Oh well.

Better get ready to do some chores around here.

MUD


8/20/2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

The age old question was "What do you want to be when you grow up?"   Now at 69, I ask myself where do I want to go from here?  That will entail a trip or two more to Oklahoma to settle some legal maters and then what?  I have the last home I will probably ever buy and nearly the last car.  There are one or two toys I want to buy but not many or much that I really need. Every once in a while I buy lottery tickets but really don't know why.  I guess it is because I can.

This morning "Love Story" was on TV and between cat naps I watched it.  It was sappy but sad.  It does make me wonder if it would be a hit today?   I think it would need some jazz to help it in today's action packed world.  Perhaps some nudity and sex could help it stay up there as an all time hit. 

We had a nice rain last night and some wind with it.  I don't know how much moisture it had with the storm but I am sure that Barb has been watering to keep all her garden plants growing so it was only a nice addition not an absolute requirement.  By this time in the year, most lawns have gone dormant but we still have green grass that is growing.  I will probably have to take a day or two next week to do at least one more mow.  There are about 9 acres to mow more or less.  I will have to take Dave's mower back over to him as it needed fixed again. 

I am working on a spread sheet for the music for the Barbershop Chorus.  I am trying to work out a schedule for the music that makes sense and is correct.  I have a small attention to detail problem and that is holding it back some but my low degree of care and concern is mostly why this two hour job has taken most of a week.



Oh well, I had better stop procrastinating and get on with the schedule.

MUD

8/09/2016

Last Time at Mary Lou

My last visit to Mary Lou was with Battery B and I was the Fire Direction Officer.  We did a lot of H&I fires and a few missions in direct support of the DS Artillery units supporting the 4th Division.  For the FDC, it was a 24 hour a day job and it seemed like there was never enough food or rest.  I did begin to find ways to cut corners in the area of Meteorological reports that came in every 4 hours. 

After the second week, I began to compare the results by report and time of day.  I kept the hard copy of the earlier reports and compared the final results.  At first it was to make sure that we hadn't made any (many) errors and then to see if the results were different enough to spend a couple of hours doing the figuring and then changing the Met +VE settings.  Guess what? It was clear that the weather in the Central Highlands was not like Kansas or Oklahoma.  Day after day the wind and temperature stayed the same and it was only when it was raining that it was different.

Inside of the FDC, the guys had hours and hours of time and we had to work on ways to fight the boredom.  Someone found that the board game Jeopardy was one way and immediately the word went back to the States what versions we didn't have.  I am pretty sure that the families back home went through their closets and second hand stores for versions we didn't have.  By the time we finished playing the entire games with each version, they were pretty well worn out. 

The other game we played almost endlessly was Rook.  If you played enough cards, you could pretty much tell what had been played and how they cards were distributed.  I am pretty sure that later on, it made me a pretty fair bridge player.  I was never great but I had fun.

One of the nice things at Mary Lou was that there was a shower point there and hot chow.  You cannot imagine the rations of C-Rations on an endless basis.  As the FDO, I seldom got to get away for meals but someone almost always brought me a plate of something.  Even a cold plate of food was better than C-Rats on an endless basis.  You can imagine how your palate would just fade away if your breakfast was cold powdered eggs and toast that had just escaped being moldy.  Thankfully I don't even have a memory of what the lunch and dinners were.


One thing that I always feared was that the perimeter of LZ Mary Lou was set up to make sure there were no enemy allowed to sneak in.  The problem with that was the endless flow of kids that came and went like it was an open gate.  We were fortunate to never have been hit by a ground attack. But, it was always there in the back of my mind.  At least when we were out on a mountain top firebase there was almost always a perimeter guard there and they would be some help. 

I had been on R&R when the unit moved to Mary Lou.  I had no call to where to put the FDC.  It was way too close to the latrine and  I could see that if we were still there when the Monsoon season started, the hole would be a swimming pool.   We moved long before that would ever happen.  Did I mention the proximity to the latrine?   The biggest challenge each day was keeping the fly count down to a manageable level.  We killed thousands of flies each day and the body count had to be near 100,000. 

Speaking of Body counts and missions.  Each day we sent in a report of the number of rounds we fired and the results of any mission.  Most of the time there were no after action numbers on the Harassment and Interdiction fires as they just went out in to the jungle and no US troops were there.  One kind of funny mission was when we had a request to fire a round out in the vicinity of a Long Rang Reconnaissance patrol.  Seems like they were off the air and probably had the radio operator fell asleep.    We picked a grid location not too close to them and fired one round.  Pretty soon they were back on the air.  In our daily after action report I marked the one round as a Wake up Mission for a LRRP.  Man did the shit hit the fan over that comment.  I did my best to not lie but that one time it seemed appropriate to add that comment.  I had a visit from the Battalion Commander and the FA Bde Commander within the next week.  The both told me to make something up and not to use that in a report. (again)   Oh well, it was only one day and one report in what seemed like a couple of hundred there at Mary Lou.  I am pretty sure it wasn't that long it just seemed like it.

That's all from Mary Lou and I was glad to leave.

MUD

8/07/2016

Hello Mary Lou 2

One of the assignments I had when I was in the 1st Bn, 92nd FA was when I got to go out as a Forward Observer with one of the Ground units of the 7/17th Air Cav.  It was a mechanized unit and we went all over the place at a very rapid pace.  Probably my biggest job was just to stay located on the map and who to use for artillery support.  I know that the unit commander was hesitant to really use the Field Artillery because he had Aviation gun ships and a lot of organic firepower. 

On one adventure, we were north of Pleiku and were sent to a river crossing site that was not supposed to be there.  When we got to the closest place, the commander requested a bridge and we used it to move along the side of the river to the point where we discovered  telephone poles set up to be a bridge somewhere out in the future.  The unit commander decided that the poles needed to be blown down and he had enough C-4 and Det cord to get the job done.  He offloaded a bunch of the explosives and a team and withdrew the rest of the unit.  It took us several hours to get out there and several hours to get back.  He didn't want to blow the bridge with his unit in what could be a very vulnerable place. 

We left one of the Mortar Recon Sergeants out there and I rode back with the main body of the unit.  When we got back to a good place, one of the guys said that he had just got a package from home and his family had sent him a lot of canned sea foods. I did mention that I was from Kansas and the limit of my sea food was canned tuna.  Well to make a short story longer, they also had a couple of cases of hot beer and we just chowed down.  I can't even begin to tell you just how bad drunk I  could get on smoky herring and hot Carling's Black Label in a red rusty can,  can I? 

The only good thing I can tell you is that we were headed for a stand down and maintenance day at LZ Mary Lou that evening.  It included a trip to a shower point and real hot food instead of the c-rations we had been on for the better part of a week.  I remember sitting down in a lawn chair beside the unit commander's track and then I remember waking up the next morning.  I had been fast asleep and must have needed the rest. 

That afternoon, several of the guys in the unit wanted to go down to the river and go swimming.  That river was probably way to muddy to get in but we went anyway.   am pretty sure that the sight of 25 naked guys must have been pretty funny.  We all had what was called a farmer's tan here in Kansas. The parts of our bodies not normally exposed to the sun were shinny white and our arms and faces were brown form a tan and dirt.  I am not sure what the rest of the guys did, but for me, there was a trip back past the shower point and a good nap.  I'll bet I slept 18 hours in one 24 hour period.  Then I went to bed. 

In the middle of the next day, a Special Forces Colonel showed up and he was mad as hell. Seems he and his guys had been working on establishing a foot bridge across the river and it had taken several weeks.  We blew it all up and he now had people across the river from his Camp that he could not support.  How were we to know.  I guess the ground combat channels were not the same as my Fire Support Channels.  Had we tried to blow up the bridge piling with artillery, they would have contacted the Special Forces and the District Chief.  oh  well what the hell, what the heck did I care.

 We stayed there for the next couple of days and when all the tracks were up to snuff, we headed out to places unknown.  The good news was that we made a trip past Pleiku and my replacement was there.   I had been out with several different kinds of units, but that was my first and last with a mechanized unit.   

My father in law was in a Mech unit in WWII and I was kind of startled when he said he didn't really know where he went, they just played ducks and the officers and their commander had all the maps.  He knew he went in to Anzio as a replacement and at least once went through the edge of Rome.  After trying to keep up with the maps, I knew what he had done. 

The next time I got to Mary Lou, it was with the firing battery and I was assigned as the Battery Fire Direction Officer.   More on Mary Lou three tomorrow.

MUD

8/06/2016

Hello Mary Lou

Near Kontum in Vietnam, there was a base located on the south side of the city called Mary Lou.  No, I don't have a clue where the name came from, only that it was centered in my time in Vietnam on several ways. 

Near the start of my time in the 1st Bn, 92nd nd FA, I was assigned as the battalion Ammo officer.  It was early in the year after the TET offensive and one of the jobs we had was to restock the Ammunition Supply Point in Dak To.  For about 6 weeks, we made daily runs from Pleiku Through Kontum to Dak To.  I would take the ammunition trucks over to the ASP in Pleiku every night and the ASP and my men would load the trucks.  I felt it was my job to be there as much as I could.  We would load up the trucks and head back to Artillery Hill in the early hours and somewhere about 8AM we would drive over to the Convoy point to get ready for the trip up the highway to Dak To.

I would either be in the convoy in my jeep or a Bird Dog would land at Artillery Hill and pick me up.   During my time in that duty, we were a bunch of lucky pups.  The convoy got hit in the front when my trucks were on the back and in the back when my trucks were in the front.   During all that time, I had only one soldier even wounded while I am sure there were dead where the main ambush hit.  In fact, there is a report in the daily Sitreps about LTC Cade and the Battalion Commo officer got a medal for being there as I fired artillery at the ambush site and the retreating Viet Cong.  I didn't need any medals for doing my job so I really didn't even know about that until just this last year.

There were two places where the road was just ripe for an ambush.  One we called Ambush Alley and was the scene of many ambushes over the years.  The second point was north of Kontum where the road crossed a river.  It was there that this story is about.

I mentioned that I flew a lot of convoy cover and on one of the trips north,  our convoy was hit by small arms fire and the aforementioned soldier was hit.  When I Landed in Dak To, I went over to my trucks to see how it all turned out.  I seems that one of the 2 1/2 Ton trucks that had a few supplies in it was hit and for some reason it got sent to Kontum hooked to the back of a wrecker.  I knew that there was a few mail sacks in that truck and I really wanted to gather them back under our control.  I took my jeep and with the approval of the Commander in the Forward TOC headed back down the road towards Kontum.  Yes, it wasn't the safest thing to do but I figured that any potential ambushes would have been busted and the enemy scattered.

I found my truck on the back of the wrecker just as it was turning in the gate at Mary Lou.  I stopped the wrecker and asked him where he was going to take the truck.  He said he had no clue where it was to be taken.  I climbed up in the back of the truck and saw a lot of things covered with canvas.  I threw back the canvas and had to step back for the blood and gore in the bed of the truck.  There in the bed of the truck was the bodies of three soldiers that had been killed in the ambush.  The wrecker driver said their Tracked Ammo Carrier had been hit in the front by a recoilless rifle and these guys were killed by the concussion.  

About that time, I saw an MP jeep going by and I asked him if there was a Graves Registration point there on Mary Lou.  He took us over there and I went in to get some help.  They came out with some rolling gurneys and I asked the wrecker driver and his assistant to unload the bodies.  "No Way LT."  They weren't going to handle no dead bodies, they were truck drivers and that was final.  The SP4 from the Graves Registration Unit and I wound up unloading the bodies.  I never did find out who they were or what unit they belonged to.  The wrecker driver did haul my truck over to one of our firing batteries that was at Mary Lou.  It had a bullet hole in the radiator and it got fixed by a team sent up from my unit in Pleiku.

About an hour later, the convoy from Dak To arrived back on it's way to Pleiku.  I led the convoy the rest of the way in my jeep.  When I arrived back at Artillery Hill, I was called up to the FA Brigade Headquarters for a short After Action Review.  Mostly I sat in a room full of people that were as bored as I was.  Other than the two dead soldiers, the ambush was pretty minor.  In fact, I am not sure that anyone even called on me to tell what happened to my truck.  Somehow the mail bags had been transferred to one of my trucks and it turned up for distribution to our batteries scattered all over the hills and fire bases near Dak To.

My next visit to Mary Lou was much different and will be in tomorrow's Mary Lou II  post tomorrow.

MUD

8/05/2016

Short Story Told in the Long Version

I was contacted by the editor of the news letter for the 1st Battalion, 92nd Artillery.  That was one of the two units I served in during my tour in Vietnam.  He asked me to write a short write up about my Military Career and the time I spent in the unit.  So put on your 5 buckles and sit down for a tale well told. (or at least as well as I can tell it.)

I was a Baby Boomer born in Wichita, Kansas about 9 months after my father returned from his tour in the Pacific.  When I was a child, we played war games almost every day.  We were the Cavalry fighting Indians, the US Army fighting the Germans and the Japanese and most of us were fairly well armed. Between the fanner 540s and bb guns, we thought we were a pretty well armed force.   I personally read about everything I could about famous warfighters.  I am not sure that helped me in my career, but it didn't hurt.  I also was in scouting most of my years growing up but I wasn't really in it for the rank, mostly the fun of camping with my friends.  I did learn to cook over a campfire and loved the friendships I gained there. 

I attended High School in Wichita and started my college career, at Wichita State in 1965.  I soon grew bored and only finished the first semester there before I went to work doing construction, drinking beer and basically goofing off.  In 1966, on your 19th birthday you either went to college with a Student Deferment or the Draft Board would pick you up and send you to places you didn't want to go or they wanted you to go and sometimes it was both.  In September 1966, I was sent to Fort Leonard Wood as a Private for Basic Training.  I had the same battery of tests that all other trainees and because of the score on my exams I was also given the Officer Classification Battery test to see if I qualified for OCS.  I took that test and convinced a board I should go, and was accepted in the Career Field of Field Artillery. "Go to the sounds of the guns" was the only Military Quote I knew.
Pvt Petty, Fort Leonard Wood, MO  Oct 1966

At Fort Sill, I was sent through the OCS Preparatory Training (13E) and then directly to OCS in January 1967.  23 weeks later, I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in Cannon Artillery and sent to Fort Irwin, CA to train up with a unit that deployed in February 1968.  I will skip the reports of the 6th Bn, 84th Artillery as it was not the highlight of my Military Career.  After 3 weeks in Country I was infused into the 1st Battalion 92nd Artillery. This was to keep the entire 6th Bn, 84tht from going home on the same date. They had been hit pretty hard in a mortar attack so they really needed a good dose of experience.  Four Lieutenants were sent to Artillery Hill, Pleiku.  I asked to be sent to a 155 unit as that was the kind of Artillery I knew.

The 1st Bn, 92nd Field Artillery was a 155 Toed Howitzer unit with their headquarters located in Pleiku and I was given the job as the Battalion Ammunition Officer.  For about a month and a half, we ran daily convoys from Pleiku to Dak To.  The ammunition dump there was blown up during Tet and we had almost all the 5 ton trucks from the battalion at our disposal to haul all the ammunition we could to put the Ammo Dump back to a normal basic load. I was either in the convoy or flying air cover for the convoy.   There were no truck companies available so someone had to do it. 

The first person I met in the 1st Bn, 92nd FA was the Battalion Commander, LTC Alfred J. Cade.  He welcomed me to the unit and asked me to take a tough job prior to moving to a Firing Battery.  That job was filling up the ASP at Dak To.  I did manage to have the duty officer job in the battalion TOC a couple of times during that month and a half and in the  evening LTC Cade would come in and read the daily reports and review the status of the unit.  During those times, I got to see a good example of what a commander did.  He would also talk to the duty staff and ask great questions that the reports didn't cover.  LTC Cade went on to be a Major General on Active duty before he retired.  I could never say anything bad about Colonel Cade and in fact he stands out as one of the finest officers I served with in any part of the Army. 

Somewhere near Pleiku


About the time we had the ASP in Dak To up to snuff, I was assigned to several small Forward Observer jobs and went out on trips with the ARVN's, a basic training company of Montagnards and a couple of weeks with an ARVN Cav unit just north of Pleiku as a liaison officer.  One day, the Battalion XO called me into the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and told me that I was going on a short assignment as a Forward Observer with the 1st Bat 503rd Rgt, 173rd Abn.  The XO and I expected it to be an assignment of at most a couple of weeks. I went to the unit as the only "Leg" in that unit. The Recon Sergeant and I compared pay one day and I found that he made more money than I did because of the jump pay and separation pay.  After a week, I expected to be told that the next week the Forward Observer would be back.  Nope, I found out that he was in the VA Hospital in Wichita with Malaria and my stint there was extended until they could find a replacement.  I spent over 6 weeks with them and finally returned to the 1st Bn, 92nd FA.  I was assigned as the FDO and then the XO of B Battery and remained there until I came home in Feb 1969.  We moved three or four times during my assignment with them.

My Recon Team with Sebastian Cabot on a Fire Base

As the Fire Direction Officer for B battery, I met a bunch of guys that had every right to be pretty pissed off.  They had been in Officer's Candidate School when the rules changed and because they didn't have a degree they were kicked out.  I didn't have a degree and they made sure that I knew they thought they were every bit as good at their jobs as I was at mine.  For the most part, they were right, with the exception that I worked about as hard as anyone could.  I can truthfully say that I never let one of my men or unit I was assigned to get hit by my artillery.  I did loose my Radio Telephone Operator to a mortar in the 6th Bn, 84th FA but there was nothing I could have done to prevent that.

When I came home from Vietnam. I went to Fort Carson, Colorado and was there until my 2 years ended in July 1969. They offered me a promotion to Captain but I knew that without a degree there was no way I could make a career and there was always a rift waiting for those of us without one.  I went home to Wichita and went back to school at WSU.  when my wife finished her degree in Education, we moved to Leavenworth, KS and I joined the National Guard and attended my last 2 years at KU. 

When I graduated from KU, I went to work full time as a Battalion training Officer in Ottawa, KS in the Kansas Army National Guard.  I spent about five years there and then moved to the State Headquarters and worked my way up through the ranks in the Plans, Operation and Training field.  I did have the opportunity to command the 1st Bn, 127th Field Artillery and took them through a successful ARTEP. 

In 1997, on my 50th Birthday, I retired from the National Guard as a Colonel, 06.  I retired to our farm here near the edge of Topeka and am the head laborer for a Master gardener I have been married to for 48 years. 

One of the things I took away from my time in the 1st Bn, 92nd Field Artillery was the skills that helped me be a good officer for the rest of my career.  We were an Air Mobile Unit and planning to move a Field Artillery Battery from one place to another took great skill and hard work.  1968 was years before we had computers and I had never had any training in planning.  I learned everything the hard way and found that attention to detail was more than a saying.  One of the things I will always remember was the great men I served with.  I hope we can all meet one day and share a cup of grog at Fiddler's Green and tell war stories and laugh till our cups run dry. 


8/02/2016

Do Not Reduce it to Simple Things

Today I read a letter from William Tecumseh Sherman written to reply to a letter to save Atlanta when his troops were set to go there.  Simply said, he told those people that he was there to wage war and that he did.  The fact that war is one of the most brutal things an Army can do on  their enemy, shouldn't change what the better Army does during war.  His words were that when the war was over he would do everything he could do to feed and house the people but as long as their leaders wage war, he too would battle as well and as hard as his troops could.

In short, in this world of instant entertainment and mass communications there is a rush to simplify everything to a lower level until it makes sense in spite of the fact that some things just don't make sense.  I wonder what will be Nature's adaptation to the fact that today's generations no longer have the use of both hands because on hand has a cell phone in it finding Pok√©mon.  Will there be a generation of people with enlightened senses that makes them aware of dangers as they walk around distracted or will the carnage from the inattention finally outrage us to put the damn phones down and look where we are going. 

In certain political races, things get said that no one believes.  During the last Presidential race, Obama said Hillary wasn't qualified to be the President.  This last week he said she was the best qualified person to ever run for the office.  I agree that she is better qualified than Bill Clinton was but even Jimmy Carter spoke the truth a higher percentage of the time.  Even if he did lust after women in his heart.

WAR in Hell,  There is nothing in life that is free,  The only certain things are death and taxes.  What simple things do you pay attention to?  How well do they resonate after the sun goes don at the end of the day? 

Oh well, gotta go vote soon.

MUD