To protect the guilty, I won't use her entire name but I will share with you one of the most fun people I ever met in the Guard.  As usual, this is my recollection and the facts may be somewhat off point but the smile in my heart isn't.  Any errors in this story are made with warm thoughts.

Chris was born in Germany and didn't come to the USA until she was seven or eight.  She told me that she thinks in German and has to translate everything to English.  Because of this slowing down and the unique way the German language is formed, some of her sayings come out "Bass-Ackwards."  She was well educated and in no way stupid. 

One of the stories I like to tell is Howard's Underwear.  For some reason one year the Adjutant General wanted to take the State Headquarters out to the field.  To prepare the soldiers with no or little field experience some of the skills we had to teach then to use the radio.  Many of the messages requires the use of the Phonetic alphabet and I was instructing a class.  We were seated in a conference room and I went around the table asking they one letter at a time what the word for each letter was.  Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta and I finally got to the letter H.  Chris was given the letter H and she stumped.  One of our soldiers was named Howard so she guessed "Howard."  Nope, Hotel.  When we got around to her again the letter was U.  One of the girls said that I knew she has it on.  Well, she guessed "underwear."  The word is uniform and we all laughed at that one.  I never did figure out how she thought I knew she had it on.  Oh well, the glory of a story.

When the Headquarters moved to the field we had radio contact through our HF radio back to the Base camp at Guernsey, WY.  On a good day and early in the morning, we could also talk to Topeka.  It created somewhat of a problem as the field unit became STARC (State Hqs) forward and the radio at Guernsey should have become STARC Guernsey.    Chris was one of the operators that stayed in base camp and to her if we were STARC Forward, the base camp radio became STARC Rear.   To hear her say that with her German accent would always put a smile on our faces no matter how many times we tried to get her to say STARC Guernsey. 

A few years ago, I saw Chris over at Fort Leavenworth and asked her how she was doing.  She said that she had developed cancer and had had several major surgeries.  She told me in her usual straight forward style that she had had a double mastectomy.  She said, "Col, I could shower with the boys."

I love that soldier as I do many of my friends I have through the Guard.   In fact, the highest honor I could give her is that I named my favorite Dachshund "Grissy" in her honor.  I hope someday that Chris and I get to meet at Fiddler's Green and share a cup of grog and a few stories.  Not today but someday.

ORAG (Old Retired Army Guy)

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