Random Thoughts

When I sit down at the computer to write about my life, I don't explode with the description of the colors or smell of things, I write it pretty straightforward. I know that my memories have the smells and colors in there but they just don't seem to cry out for clarification. I would love to be able to tell your about the coppery taste of blood that sometimes comes from nowhere but I mostly get lost in the details of what I'm trying to write. 

When we travel, I often get lost in a tale about something that happened or that I did at a much younger age. I create the details or drag them out of the recesses of my memory to make them live. Instead of a Walt Disney Adventure in full color, I am more like a black and white trail camera just telling what I saw coming down the trail.

 I often wonder if the reason I don't tell the complete details is that I don't want to remember all of them. I know that there have been times that I didn't wash for days or weeks at a time but the smells of my own sweat just doesn't emerge in my stories. I can remember the time I went for about three weeks out on an operation and had about half rations during that time. I can remember the Thanksgiving dinner that I ate was a can of boned turkey and I was damned glad to have it. I didn't even have a can of John Wayne cookies or a can of that stinky damned cheese that normally I would throw away. There was something about Caraway Oil or some such crap in it that just made a smell that I could not abide even in a world where everything smelled bad. 

What I remember the most about life is that I could bury my active mind in doing things and would wake up finished with some unpleasant job and really not remember the details. I once had to fill the foundation of a building with sand and had to shovel it into a wheel barrow and push it to where it needed to be. There was no power buggy or bobcat that helped, only me a shovel and a wheelbarrow. I remember that I started on Monday and by the end of the week I ran a hose full of water to help pack it into a compaction needed to pour concrete on top of it. I'm sure that I had things running through my mind but damned if I could tell you what they were.

I know there were hours and hours of wandering through the jungle in Vietnam and I damned sure know that I watched out for booby traps and ambushes but the details of what went through my mind are no longer there. Hell, I'm not sure they were ever really stored in long term memory. I know that if I was out with a unit, I had a map and could tell you minute by minute where we were then, but I couldn't ever hope to replicate those details long. I have an ability to go somewhere in the car and almost always find my way back there without an active sense that I know or remember. Does this have to do with a active memory or imagination, Attention Deficit Disorder or just a screwy way that my mind stores things? Your guess is as good as mine. I often am going somewhere and will drive past a turn point and as soon as I do think, I should have turned there.

 Why is it that I am sometimes a few seconds short of having it right? I'm not sure if there is a good reason for this post but here it is.



Dengue fever (UK /ˈdɛŋɡ/ or US /ˈdɛŋɡ/), also known as break bone fever, is an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.
Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally A. aegypti. The virus has four different types; infection with one type usually gives lifelong immunity to that type, but only short-term immunity to the others. Subsequent infection with a different type increases the risk of severe complications. As there is no vaccine, prevention is sought by reducing the habitat and the number of mosquitoes and limiting exposure to bites.

I started this post with the Wikipedia definition of what I will for the rest of this story call Dengue Fever.
In 1967, I was sent to Fort Irwin, California as a brand new 2nd Lieutenant.  We were told on the orders that we were to go there and train for deployment to Vietnam.  In addition to the normal training duty, we had to request and issue all the equipment to our units and getting ready to train was a bigger job than I had anticipated.  The Battery Commander assigned me an additional duty as the supply officer and I spent most of my non field time in the unit supply room.  It was a lot like being a liaison officer between the Supply section and the rest of the unit.  I had to direct the XO to send the gun chiefs over to sign for their equipment or they would leave the stuff piled in our way of getting everything done. You have no idea how much equipment a maintenance section and the mess section has to do their mission.  Most of the maintenance section was what I called fiddly bits and the stuff for the howitzer sections was big and bulky.
I am not sure if it was just because I was available or if the commander wanted to reward me, but when the chance to send some of the Forward Observers to Panama and the Jungle Warfare School  I was the guy selected.   Part one of this story will be the trip there and the training and part two will be what happened when I got back.

One day I was in the day room at our BOQ and one of the guys was on the phone to his girlfriend.  I asked him if it was the one in Barstow or the one in Boston.  He put his hand over the mouthpiece and told me it was the one in Barstow.  I told him that I would shut up if he could get me a date for the next weekend.  He did and that's how I met Barbara who has been my wife for going on 45 years.  We dated that Friday and Saturday night and on Sunday we left for the flight to the East Coast.  We flew to Columbia South Carolina and gathered up there for a flight to Panama the next morning.   The flight down to Panama was uneventful and I really don't remember any outstanding details about it.  

Upon arrival in Panama, those of us that had been in the warm desert were almost overwhelmed with the humidity.  We were well conditioned to the heat, but most of us had forgotten what it was to sweat from every pore 100% of the time.  It didn't take us long to discover that Fort Clayton had an officer's club that was air conditioned and in the same building that we were in.  Most of us went there and spent  a lot of time away from the heat.  We were in hog heaven as the booze was cheap.  I mean 15 cents for a rum and coke kind of cheap.  One of my OCS Class mates was the club officer and I'm sure that he hosted me to more than one free drinks.  

The Jungle School was two weeks long and the first few days were spent in classes and at night we went back into the barracks at night.  We learned to eat the natural food in the jungle, how to build a hut, how to conduct  operations and navigate through the jungle. Many of the classes were evaluated and you were given points for successful completion of the events.  At the end, if you had 900 of the 1000 points possible, you were given the Jungle Expert Badge.  Actually it was a certificate and you had to buy the sew on patch if you wanted to wear it.  Some did, some didn't.  By the time the first week ended, I had a case of prickly heat to end all cases and spent the middle weekend coating myself with calamine lotion and slowly rotating in from of one of those large fans.  Many of the guys went into town but I didn't.  

By the time the first week was over, I had amassed well over 500 points and there was only the night compass course and the escape and evasion course left.  My team went right out and right through the compass course and came out right on our target point.  That left the escape and evasion course to complete.  The only way to lose points on the E&E course was to get caught.  It was 50 points each time you got caught and my team decided that we had no intentions of getting caught.  

We started early in the morning with a map that gave us a rendezvous point that was down the Rio Chagres and along a very obvious trail on the map.  It was a pretty sure thing if you came down the trail you would get caught and I had no intention of getting caught.  We climbed up on the hills above the rendezvous point and went way out of our way and then repelled down to meet up with the partisans.  There we were given a couple of C-Ration meals, a chance to fill our canteens with clean water and a map to the final point further down the river.  We left the point the way we came in and stayed well off the trail on the map.  Many of the other teams stayed on the trail and they were all stopped and arrested which cost you 50 points.  In fact, there were two points further down the trail that the soldiers would be captured.  

We had good maps and saw that there was a large swamp where the river went inland and the trail went way around that.  We struck out across the swamp and did our best to not get caught.  The mosquitoes were so thick that you couldn't breathe with your mouth open.  We all used up all the repellent we had and struggled through the swamp and across the trail to the final point.  We broke out of the swamp less than a mile from the final point and heard the aggressors stopping people just ahead on the trail.  I knew that I could get caught once and still make Jungle expert so I just walked on and let them take my name.  We were at the end of the time so I knew that they wouldn't try to capture us just take our name and move us on.
Sure enough the next morning, the Jungle Expert list was posted and there among the names was 2nd Lieutenant D.E. Petty.  Woo Hoo, that and a buck 29 would let me buy the patch. For Brevity, I'll stop here and move to part two tomorrow.  Who knows, this could be a three parter.



New Old Story

Barbara told me I needed some new stuff in my blog.  Here is an old story told again as if it were new:

As Field Artilleryman, our home school is the US Army Field Artillery & Missile School located at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.   Even the Marines train their cannoneers at Fort Sill and their officers go through the Basic Officers Training for Gunnery there.  I could go on for hours about the advantages of blowing the hell out of Oklahoma, but a lot of that is attitudinal not realistic. 

 During the early months of 1967, I spent 23 weeks there undergoing the Officer Candidate School (OCS) Training and I find it difficult to erase the term harassment out of the colorful descriptions of the place.  This is a report of one trip there and some of the shenanigans to and during that trip.  I will admit that due to the amount of time between the actual events and now, some of the facts might be embellished a bit. I might even be accused of adding an event or two to the fun and I'm sure that some of the names will be left out to protect the guilty.  The innocent are on their own.

Very little of what passes for education at Fort Sill is not conducted in a class room with strict rules and examinations to ensure the students understand the concepts and are able to replicate the accuracy of the howitzer firing required on the modern battlefield.  This is the one exception that I know of.  As the battlefield from Vietnam was changing to a focus back on the European battlefield, they felt the need to discuss the changing tactics and techniques.  They called this a Field Artillery Refresher course.  It was a week long instructional period and the time spent there was not tested.

Several of my Fellow Officer friends lived in Lawrence and Topeka and I had a Station Wagon just ready and willing to make the trip to Lawton, Oklahoma down the Kansas Turnpike and then down through Oklahoma City.  I was a Battery Commander and several of my Lieutenants were in one car families and we agreed to carpool.   I lived in Leavenworth Kansas and it was just a good trip to come down through Lawrence and the over to Topeka to pick up the guys.  

I started to realize my mistake when one of the earliest passengers came out to the car with a cooler.  Being one of the boys, I had listened to the slosh of ice and beer in a cooler during prior occasions and was not in the dark about the contents of the cooler.  We drove over to Topeka to pick up a couple of the other guys and headed south west down the turnpike to "Soonerville."   

The trip to Fort Sill was about 6 hours (without potty halts or meals) and on the turnpike, the service areas are scattered out at intermittent distances that in most cases coincide with the normal bladder capacities.  Did I mention the cooler of beer?  There is no relationship to normal when you include the consumption of intoxicating beverages.  When the "Bladder Warning Light and the alarm that goes Pee-Pee-Pee sounds off", it is time to stop. 

 Did I mention that we were a bunch of National Guard Officers and our convoys often stop along the road for "rest halts"  (Being often in the middle of "no and damn where" you would just stand close to the trucks and "Potty in the grass.")  I'm sure that many parents also play that game when they have small boys.
In many circles there is a rule that we don't  drink until after noon.   The corollary to that rule is that it is more often than not after noon somewhere.  So, a bunch of normal guys started drinking about the time we left Topeka.  Being the designated driver, I also joined in.  You must remember that back in the day, the designated driver was the guy that owned the car not some totally sober person that did not consume for the remainder of the period. 

 About an hour south of Topeka was the Emporia rest area and we made it to that destination with room to spare and we piled out to go to the rest room like normal people.  I am not sure where it hits you, but I am one of those people that reach equilibrium  about the third beer.  From then on, if I put one in, I must stop and deposit one in the porcelain goddess  or a nearby place.  I think that we made The rest area at Matfield Green or Eldorado but after that it started to get kind of fuzzy.   I remember thinking that south of Wichita there is a stretch where there just wasn't anything but a tree line along the turnpike.

Sure enough, we made a stop and there was a tree line and  most of the guys used it.  The next stop just south of the State Line into Oklahoma was just a halt along the road and we didn't care where the damned trees were.  I'm sure the cars honking at us were just sharing the celebratory moment we were having in urinating on Oklahoma soil.  

When we got to Oklahoma City, we had to draw straws to see who was sober enough to drive the rest of the way down the Cimarron Turnpike to Lawton.  We did eat lunch but I was not in a condition to eat enough to sober up enough to drive the remaining two hours.  I think there was one guy that really didn't drink much and he drove the next leg of the trip.  Did I mention that it was the Cimarron Turnpike and they really didn't have rest areas?  I'm sure that we had to pull a potty halt at least once more.  

We arrived at Fort Sill and checked into our rooms in the Bachelor Officer's Quarters (BOQ) in the towers.   They were single rooms and we all had our own bathrooms.  I'm sure that several of the guys agreed to meet for dinner later and I took a nap.  Yes it was one of those naps where you had to wake up about every half hour and pee.  The good news is I could go right back to sleep and I had stopped wetting the bed  years before.  

We all met downstairs and there was a lot of noise coming from what had been the day room in the BOQ earlier.  Lo and behold, it had been converted in to an annex of the Officer's club called the Blade and Wing.  They had hamburgers, fries and Beer!  Instead of risking a trip into Lawton, we settled into a table there and I'm sure killed a few more brain cells with pitchers of Budweiser.  

I don't remember all the details of the next day where we sat in comfortable seats and listened to the new doctrine of the Field Artillery and how it is to be applied.   What does stand out in my memory was Tuesday night when we decided to go into Lawton, Oklahoma and see what evils were to be had there.  Like most towns near a Military Post, there was a series of easy loans, pawn shops and strip bars.  No one needed a loan or had anything to pawn so we decided to see how the events would unfold (or undress) 

 Not to be evasive, but I really don't remember what the name of the bar we went to is or was.   back in the day most of the guys smoked and we seemed to drink beer rather than mixed drinks.  Most of the time we would order a pitcher of beer and glasses for each one of us.  The system pretty much developed that we took turns buying the beer and I don't remember anyone hollering that I was pulling rank and not paying my share.   

The highlight of that night was watching the girls dancing and stripping.   The only one that I can remember was the one that waddled out on stage naked and carrying her clothes. She was by far the least attractive girl in the bar.  As soon as she showed up, the sound of "Put it On" was shouted throughout the bar.  All evening the crowd was eagerly wanting the girls to take it off and here the exact opposite was taking place.  She walked around the stage and told everyone that she would be out there naked until she saw the color of money on the stage.  She also said that she didn't want any of that damned chump change, she wanted real green money. Our delay in putting green on the stage would delay the other girls from appearing.  Soon the dollars flowed and she started putting on her clothes.  I don't think we laughed that hard any time else during that trip.  It was a hoot.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  It costs exactly what you pay for it.   


Elections and Such

The Sunday paper here in the Capital of the Heartland has the voters information page.  I haven't been involved in so many lies since the last time I attended happy Hour at a local pub.  Everyone down to the local congressional seat in the Kansas House is out to fix all that ails us.  Here is my recipe for fixing what ails us:
  1. Increase Taxes.
  2. Cut spending.
  3.  Keep it going until the national Debt is paid.

OK, I know that the same folks that cry Not in my backyard (NIMBY) will lobby for their sacred cow to be spared but realistically, do you see any move by any of the Government agencies to cut spending.  Well, I guess the long lines at the County Tax offices could be partially the fault of not having enough people and some on a new computer system that didn't work well.

I have decided that I am not going to worry about meals for visitors until I see the whites of their eyes.   I have been cancelled out on so many times that I feel like a train ticket. 

On Wednesday it was in the 80's.  It hasn't hit 50 since.  People really don't know what to wear and I see people in shorts and others dressed for snow in the Arctic.  

Favorite Quote of the Day - A Teenage Girl walking down the aisle holding her boyfriends hand, "I don't care what my mother says, I am going trick or treating."  



70,000 Viewers

My Stats tell me that I have had 70,000 hits on this blog.  Few comment but a lot at least read.



How can the food stamps recipients be double digits above where they were 4 years ago and Obama claim that 5 million new people have jobs?    I read that Mexicans are now leaving the USA more than they are sneaking in.  Perhaps they know something we don't know.

Oh well, whatever you feelings, get the hell out there and Vote.  Or buy Basketball tickets or whatever.



'Nother daughter

Our Daughter, by another mother, Mel, is here from Austin to attend a couple of weddings this weekend.  The good news is that she is here for a visit and the bad news is that it probably will be at the expense of a Christmas visit.  Ya' can't have everything.  It is really interesting to have her present her less conservative ideas in a manner that doesn't lead to a heated discussion.  

One discussion I had with Mel at breakfast was that I am kind of down right now worrying about just where our country is headed.  She said that she had a discussion with Barbara last night and they agree that things were kind of like waves on the ocean.  We are in the trough right now not the crest and they thing things will get better.   I sure hope they are right. 

One area that Mel and I kind of agreed on was that change is needed and hopefully the pressure on the need for change will be let off by this election and the pot won't explode.  Having lived through the Riots in the 60's, I sure hope that we can remain a country where change can happen without bloodshed.  

It does cause me to wonder why people think Romney is a bad guy.  I see a person that has raised a fine family, been an elder in his church and reached out to help a lot of people.  His work to save the Olympics in Utah was a monumental stroke that saved the Olympics from a failure there at Salt lake City.  I am convinced that he means well and has enough leadership to find ways for us to get out of this mess.  I am always surprised that people ask him about his beliefs and then turn it into what he will do as President.  I really doubt that he has any agenda to outlaw abortion, force us all into the Mormon church or to go to church on Sunday (Or Friday-whatever)  

 The other day, I ran into my cousin at the grocery store.  She like her father and my wife, harbors a tendency to be a little less conservative than I am.  Her husband was there and they are a mixed family like we are.  He is a lot more conservative and they too don't really talk politics much because they love each other and neither one wants to give in on their political position.  His quote was, "When you are young if you don't vote Democratic, you don't have a heart.  When you are older if you don't vote Republican you don't have a brain."   

Oh well, what I want for the USA is to have some light at the end of the tunnel and not to feel that is the headlamp of an on coming train.



What a Difference a Day Makes!

For the last couple of days, the temperature was in the high 70's or low 80's and we ran the A/C.  This morning it is near 40 and not expected to warm up a lot over the weekend.  Most of our leaves are down and blowing around the place like dancing fairies.  There is a pair of deer down the hill staying below the windy part of the hill.  I'm sure that they are attracted to the scent of apples that barb dumped there and there is now nothing but smell left.  

We hosted the US Congressional second district candidate yesterday and I found that he has a lot of great ideas.  He had a lot of ideas and admitted that some of them were like a forward two and half into a crystal ball.  One idea that I loved was that he was going to make sure that the entire Kansas Delegation got together and discussed what Kansas needs and to ask them to refocus on what took them there in the first place.  He said that he will try to overcome the rancor that divides the parties now and establish open and frank communication with everyone.  I think he has had his hand slapped over the subject of gun control and walked around the issue.  He knows that unless the congress can find a way to get together the "Sequestration" rule will kick in and start our congress down the path to being a hell of a lot more accountable.  He did admit that they congress kicked the can down the road on that issue from January to March  so there is always wiggle room in any issue.

Tobias Schlingenseipen is a darn nice guy with a lot of good ideas.  I do wish we could have had a bigger turn out for him but he addressed all the questions from everyone.  My Daughter-in-law asked him why so many of the members of congress are in the upper 10% of income and really don't represent the norm.  He said that sending him there would sure change that by a long shot.    Most of the people at our gathering agreed that there are a lot of things about the Affordable Health Care Act that we thought were good ideas.  He pointed out that there is money to help the government look at some of the models that are working and to help the availability of services to the under served.   he said that the reason so many of the poor go to the Emergency rooms is there is no other way they can get health Care.   He pointed out that right after WWII, the government had a shortage of beds for all the wounded Veterans.  They passed a bill that built new hospitals and additions to hospitals with the only requirement that they provide health care to everyone without consideration of the race, creed, religion or color of the people needing service.  In one city, the medical community saw the crush on the Emergency rooms and did a medical outreach where there were no Doctors.  They cut the crush on the Emergency rooms down by well over 40%.  The last time I went to the emergency room I had a couple of hour wait to get some stitches done.  I can't imagine what it would have been like if I was not able to pay on top of everything else.

It was very interesting to have the discussion on what and where our schools are influencing our society.  He admitted that there is a real problem in having Colleges turn out people with degrees and a shortage of over two million jobs in emerging technologies.  I have a family member with a degree in Education that is working on a windmill farm.  No silly, they don't plant windmills, she is on the maintenance crew that performs the regular scheduled maintenance.  At the cost of a windmill, they don't wait until something breaks to work on it.  

We had an interesting talk about the fact that in a few years he expects the US to produce more oil than Saudi Arabia.   he is unsure that the technology is ready right now but soon we will be able to tap  the oil and gas out there and help our balance of payments.  he admits that the world will absorb any of the world production that we don't use.   he said that there is a lot that we don't know what we don't know about.  He agreed that a lot of kids enrolling in college today will have a lot of what they learned obsolete by the time they graduate.  

I told him that in all the years I have lived in the US, I have not felt that there was any need or pressure for the people to change our way of Government.  I did tell him that unless or Congress can find a way to convince the people that they can come up with some ideas, the time is getting near that we will force a change.   He didn't flinch when I said that.  He spent some nice time with us and then asked for our vote on election day.  He has mine.      Obama not so much.   




I see a lot of mention from CNN about twit wits and twitter. Don't people have enough people to talk to without going out and starting discussions with a bunch of people they don't know?  I guess this old person should also tell you that I don't text message either.  I write on this blog for me and if you sign in and read what I write all the better.  If you don't, all the better.  

Today we are hosting a get together for a local congressman candidate.  In the short haul, I believe that I am truly going to vote for the best people I can find and not a straight party ticket.  Tobias Schlingenspieken (no, I didn't make up that name)   is running against Lynn Jenkins who has had her four years and it is time to move on.  He was also the minister that married our son and his in-laws.

The local paper is running a lot of editorials about the write in candidacy of a former County treasurer.  What I don't get is how hard we worked to have her removed and how much money she spent hiring and firing a friend.  Someone that used our system should never be trusted to come back and be a position of trust.  Clearly she was a loose cannon and didn't listen to the County Commissioners. She did open an annex to lessen the traffic in the County Courthouse but when told that her friend did not have the qualifications to be hired, she hired that person anyway.  "One Toke over the line, sweet Jesus, just one Toke over the line."  She couldn't get on the ballot so she is asking for a write-in.  Nope, Ain't gonna do it.  

Tomorrow our 'nother daughter, Mel, will be arriving from Houston.  Her sister is getting married this weekend and she will be here for that and another wedding.  Mel and I disagree on politics but I think as long as we can be civil we can remain friends.  Between having Toby over and mel here for a weekend, Rabbit Run is getting a pretty good cleaning from top to bottom.  Kind of like a spring Cleaning in October.  Yesterday we were able to open the house and let the breeze blow through.  It was a little warm late in the day but nothing we couldn't live with by turning on the A/C for a while about bed time.  Today is to be a repeat of yesterday weather wise but Thursday is to be 30 degrees cooler and a heavy freez over the weekend.  Most of the leaves are down now and no it is just a matter of trying to get them to blow where I want them.  

Better run and finish the last few odd jobs on Barb's - "Denny Do List."



Let Barbara's Vote Count

This morning, the phone rang and when I checked out the caller ID, it indicated that it was another one of those ROBO calls that in the guise of asking us questions tries to lean us towards the candidate that paid for the call.  I mentioned to Barb that it had been our second call of the day and she said, "Don't they know my vote doesn't count in Kansas?"

It does seem kind of weird that the State of Kansas would award Barb a Masters Degree in Special Education and then not let her vote count.   At what point will the system change and allow the actual votes elect the actual President?   Haven't we suffered under that system long enough?  I'll bet not even half of the voters know why we had an Electoral College let alone how it really works.

Open Letter to the President - Whomever is elected.

Dear Mr President,

Isn't it about time that you and your party find a way to change the system for electing the President?  Why would we have a system that disenfranchises a Democrat in Kansas or a Republican in California?  I know there are a lot of problems to fix out there in the USA, let this be one that works it's way to the top of the pile. Let Barbara's Vote Count.


Why I Did What I Did

I went to KU and studied Business.  My focus was trying to figure out why people do what they do and how to get them to do things and think it was their idea.  The truth is that the program there failed to provide what I already knew.  Three years in the Military was a real eye opener about Responsibility and Leadership.

People do what they do for so many different reasons that random is probably the best description for causation.  You can influence behavior in the short run but unless you can find a way to tweak the inner screws, you can't really influence what people do, let alone make things happen.  

I know people that have grown up with horrible parents and turned out great.  I also have friends that went to church three times a week and turned out terrible.  In some cases, a bad parent can influence what you do if you don't think about your behavior.  In fact, one thing I would ask our schools to include in their curriculum is this saying, "Stop, Think and then Do!"  

I have read that the true character we have is what we do when no one is watching.  I would say this is the true look at what we think.  This naked view to our base thoughts is the true test.  What you do in and around your friends is a good judge on what you think is right but not always what you believe.

The Military has a lot of models that help shape the behavior of groups but they do not always understand the base causes of action.  The people awarded the Medal of Honor have a lot of things to say about what they did but a pretty common thing is their lack of understanding on the subject of Why?  I have a friend that was given the medal of Honor for jumping on a grenade in Vietnam.  He now realizes that the best thing he could have done was to have helped one of the Marines he was treating earn the medal and that way he could have stayed alive to treat all of them.  Nope, he jumped on the grenade and just lucked out that it didn't go off.  Why?  he doesn't have a clue, on the what, he has a lot of definition but why?  

 One tough General I had was so wrong that only in private would he admit his mistakes.  He wanted the mess halls pretty, "because people eat with their eyes."  I took the Military Leadership Manual to his office and showed him that conclusively soldiers aren't motivated by good food, they are only dissatisfied when it is bad.  Food is not a motivator.  Recognition is way far in the lead to motivate soldiers.  Food is truly a dissatisfier but a good solid meal in the field is as good as a steak at a Country Club atmosphere. Think about some of the hot coffee you have had when camping. That first cuppa coffee was as good or better than Starbucks. (Probably a heck of a lot cheaper)

What you can do with soldiers is to train them to do what you tell them to do over and over so they will not, "Stop, Think and then Do."  A firefight is not the place we want people to think about what they are doing to the point that they are incapable of doing what is needed.  Hesitation under fire is a good way to get shot.

 I would love to give you a long good dissertation about the motivation for my years as a Soldier.  In fact, a lot of what I did was the motivation to make a good living and not get people killed.  I found out early that I needed to keep learning new things and work hard.  From that lofty position, found that I enjoyed the things money could do as much as any reward that the work brought.  I can't speak for everyone else, but I found it easy to do a good job if I worked hard and from that, recognition followed.

I was a Probation Officer and I found that I hated to be around those that do a lot of stupid things.  I also hated the time I spent as a Personnel Officer as the amount of "ankle biter" problems  just took up most of my time.  My strength was in making plans, performing what was needed and then evaluation what happened afterwards. 



My Dad

The story I am going to tell here is a compilation of what I as a 10 year old boy remembers and the discussions my Dad and I had later on.  I apologize if there are memory errors in the recollection, but it will be the best I can do.
As a child growing up, my Dad was either the richest som'bitch in the valley or "oh poor me!"  I remember the summer before he had his shock treatment it was my birthday and I had saved up a few dollars to buy a new fishing reel for my old fishing pole.  He took me to Sears and there was a sporting goods section with all sorts of neat gadgets.  I picked out a reel that just made my budget.  Dad reached up and picked up a pole and said, "You can't put a new reel on that hand me down rod."  He bought a fishing pole for me and i was thrilled.  After he had been gone for a few weeks, he was home and Mom asked him if he wanted to take me and go fishing at Beech Lake.  Man I wanted to go so bad I hurt.  After putting new line on that reel and that new reel on a new pole, I hadn't taken it to the lake yet.  Dad took his gear out to the car and as I showed up with my new outfit, he calmly looked at me and asked, "Where did you get that, Steal it?"  I had no concept that he had undergone shock treatments and really didn't know.  All I knew was that fishing sure lost its allure that day. 
I guess by the first of September, Dad had been in bed for a few days and mom tells me that she hid all the kitchen knives and shotgun shells for fear that Dad might do some harm to himself and others.   He was admitted to the hospital one day when we were at school and all we were told was he was in the hospital.  We had no knowledge that it was the rubber room and that he was about to be given electro shock, or convulsive therapy. 
Dad told me years later that he really didn't know or care where he was or what they were going to do.  He would know that they would give him a sedative and wheel him out of the room.  He would wake up and not remember anything.  In fact he said he had to look at the chart on the end of his bed to know who he was.  He would wake up with little short term memory and a blank slate for a past.  he said it was like getting over the flue but it was all in his head (or not). 
He was gone for about a month and even when he came home he was not in the large swing mode that his Bi Polar depression/manic  disease had been.   He sat on the couch and watched TV a lot.  I don't remember him reading anything except for the paper.  The kids were told to play outside a lot and we were not really aware of much.
Over the years, many different doctors tried many different things to help dad break the cycle that Bi-Polar disease caused.  He would be medicated to cut down the high and lifted out of the depths.  On year, Mom called me and asked me what she could do to help Dad get out of the hospital and if I thought Menninger's here in Topeka could help.  I drove to Wichita and when we went to the Hospital, dad was tied to a chair on a heavy dose of what I think was Thorazine and he was seeing things in the air.  he was trying to pick them out of the air and everyone could clearly see there wasn't a darned thing there.  We took Dad to Topeka and directly to Menninger's as fast as we could.  They admitted Dad and in just a couple of days had him detoxed off the meds and he was just depressed.  The worked on him for a week or so and soon presented to the family that there was a genetic link to his disease.  They started him on lithium and soon he was just another boring old man.  He had to work hard to remember his past .  He one time complained that when his mother started to fail, she reverted to a child like state and could remember what color dress she wore to the first day of  school.  He wondered what it would be like to not have any current memory and  no childhood memory. 
This is not a part of my dad's report but something I feel that is fairly relevant.  My Niece, was an air traffic controller in a tower near Sacramento and they were struck by lightning.  She was wearing a headset for the radio and while she has no memory of what happened, she shared the after effects of the shock therapy she was administered.  She basically came to in the break room and didn't know where she was or how to do the job she hired to do.  She had been a college graduate at UCLA in Physics and had one of the sharpest minds I had ever met. 
One day on a visit, I asked her what it was like to have the injury she had.  She was fighting with the FAA to get a disability and had been with a lot of Doctors.  She described her state as knowing that she knew things but when she would go to the place where that memory was stored, it was like there were holes and there would be nothing.  She tells of the times when her children would bring up a party they had attended and there would be nothing in her memory banks. 
Even this last month when we were at my in-laws house she talked to me about the experience.  It took her mother's skill to get the back pay and to be awarded the money she needs to live her life now.  She has a great spirit and laughs a lot.  She talks about how people says it is all in her head and she says it is all in her head, or not.