Stars Everywhere

In 1975, I was a National Guard Battery Commander in Horton, KS. We went to Annual training at Camp Ripley, Minnesota that year and about half way through the Annual Training period I was told that on our last day in the field, we would be getting a visit from General Bernard W. Rogers, The FORSCOM Commander. Evidently, he is from Fairview, KS and wanted to visit the Kansas Guard that summer.
For a couple of days, there were more visitors stopping to visit us than I could count. they all wanted us to be ready for such a distinguished visitor. We did more spit and polish and raking of rocks than any other unit I was ever in. Finally on the big day, a helicopter reported that it was on its way in to our position and I walked out to meet the General.
Let me describe the number of stars on his uniform. He had a fatigue jacket on and there were four stars on each shoulder. His fatigue shirt had the collars out and each collar had four stars on them. Then he was wearing a cap and damned if there weren't four stars gleaming from it. That is 20 stars showing on his uniform. A guy could be impressed if he really tried. Not a camouflaged star in the bunch. That same helicopter had a Brigadier General and the Adjutant general who was a Major general. There were 35 Stars showing and a couple of Colonels. Thank god I didn't know any of the Colonels. Six Eagles showing just didn't match the stars.

Just as I started to greet the General, one of my cooks snuck up beside me and saluted. Instead of shaking my hand and then following me for a visit through the unit, the General shook my cook's hand and they began to have a chat about family members right there. It was then that I remembered the cook's name was Rogers and I'll be damned if the General wasn't his Uncle. After about 10 minutes of their talking, the General asked the cook how I was treating him. He said "Just Fine Bernie." The General looked at me and said he had a tight schedule and needed to get back to Base Camp and promptly left. I didn't know if I should chew out the cook for not telling me about his relationship with the General or to kiss him for the kind words about me.
Either way, things worked out and we ended our camp is a successful manner. Every once in a while I drive north of Topeka and pass General Roger's hometown as I go north on US 75. I'm sure that one day, Barb will finally tire of this story.


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