Not being a numerologist or a person who has a phobia about numbers, the date above is just the date above.  If you are a veteran it has a little more significance in that is a holiday named after the service we performed.  As an ORAG, an  Old Retired Army Guy I would say I resemble that remark.  It is a significant date for all those that served not just those that served in combat.  

I think this is a good time to tell a little story about one of the finest people I ever met.  SFC Romans had attended an M-1 training session and his unit did not go to the Annual training period that the majority of the 35th Division was attending. It was in the middle of no and god dammed where at Pinion Canyon and it was far from the support of any main city.  As a member of the National Guard State headquarters, we put together a command and Control team and someone picked up SFC Romans to attend with our cell.  In case you don't know a lot about the Guard, the State Headquarters does not have a lot of field training and SFC Roman's addition really helped by adding a field trained NCO to our mix.  Little things like putting up tents and running the radio's were a task that we needed a lot of help doing.  I for one have done it all but there was only one of me and I needed help.  Things went well until the third night in the field.

On that third night, a storm came sweeping across the plains of SW Colorado and without any tracked vehicles, we were on our own.  A micro burst hit our camp and blew our tents down big time.  I think the only thing that saved us was that we had several tables down the middle of the tent  and when the tent poles came crashing down most of us were under the nearest thing we had to overhead cover.   I had grabbed my helmet and I'm sure that it kept me from getting a concussion when the main tent support crashed down so hard that the table legs were broken.

Having a good NCO there helped us put the tens back up quickly and he brought the soldiers together in the Operations tent and we had a weapons cleaning time.  Many of the soldiers with us did not have a .45 issued to them as their normal weapon and he just calmly showed them how to take apart and clean each type of weapon.  By the time he was finished, the guys were all laughing and telling stories.  You would have thought it was a unit that had been together for years not just days.  

Later on that night, I told SFC Romans what a fine job he had done and we talked about our time in the service.  He was disappointed that he got in the army in 1971 and by the time he was on rotation for Vietnam, they were cutting the troop strength so much that he didn't get a chance to be a combat veteran.  I told him that good people are where you find them and I was glad to find him here and now.

Early the next year, a message came down to my office that the Army needed experienced NCOs, especially those with M-1 tank skills.  I called SFC Romans and asked him if he was still on the kick that a combat patch was what he needed.  He said hell yes and I told him that if he was to get to my office in the morning I would get him a set of orders.  He came over that day and brought his gear.  We put him on a plane to Germany that afternoon.  He told me later that in Germany he went right to the replacement company and told them that he had a request to go to the Big Red One and they directed him to a flight leaving in 30 minuted to Quait.  From the repo depot there, they sent him right to a tank line company and he, within 48 hours of leaving Kansas, was a tank commander when they kicked off the attack.  

About a month later, he came home a well decorated combat veteran and had letters of commendation from a number of his commanders up the line.  When he came in the office that day, he brought his wife and brand new baby.  Crap, I wouldn't have asked him to go if I had known how close his wife was to having a baby.  She took me into my office and told me that the only thing Joe ever wanted out of the Military was a chance to show what a good soldier could do in combat.  I relaxed and later on Joe kind of joked with me that in his humble opinion, combat is one of the quickest ways he knew of to get killed.  

On veteran's day, I salute the now retired Sergeant Major Joe Romans and the many soldiers that have displayed the kind of leadership and service that has made our Military what it is.  I firmly believe that our winning ways are the result of the leadership shown in the middle of our Military not at the top.  Salute to all those fine NCO's I have served with and those I have not met.

MUD, COL (Ret)

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