What Obituary's Don't Say

Today, I read that a good friend of mine passed away this week and his Obit was glowing on his accomplishments in life.  Now, let me tell you what it didn't say.   My friend was so poor at map reading that he would get lost on the way to the restroom in the Armory.  When I joined the unit, he was the Executive Officer of our battery and he would have me ride in his jeep to make sure we went the right way on our way to Fort Riley.  From where we were, you go west and south and you about have to hit it somewhere.  Great salesman for his company, poor map reader.   This guy was about the friendliest guy I knew but only once did I make the mistake of sleeping in the same metal building with him at at Camp Ripley, Minnesota.  He would start to snore and then stop abruptly.  At first you worried that he would die and about after 15 minutes or so, you would hope he would.    It only took one night to find out why they called him Thunder.  I swear that after a night in one of those metal hooch's at Camp Ripley they needed to take a hammer and re-drive the nails so the siding wouldn't fall off.  Again, he was one of the nicest guys I served with but ....  You get the story.

Another friend of mine passed away this last year and what his obituary didn't say about him that he too could not orient himself on the ground with a compass and a map.  There is a point at Camp Guernsey where four roads meet.  From base camp to the field, you had to pass there every time.  On one trip to the field, the commander asked George where they were.  He didn't have a clue.  The Colonel showed him on the map where they were and had his driver go up the road and circle around this one hill and return to the same spot.  Where are we Captain?  "It looks familiar but I don't know where we are."   Another one of my favorite stories is the time he went to a meeting at the Field Artillery Group headquarters and when the meeting was over, George took off in the Group commander's jeep instead of his own.  Hqs 6 was the bumper marking on both jeeps but on the other side of the bumper 127 FA BN is not 130FA GP.  I think most of us got a pretty big laugh out of that.  Especially when the Colonel came to get his jeep back.

Every once in a while my friend would make a mistake that would cause me to throw my helmet.  One year I put together all the training data and comments for the Annual Training Report (1-R's) When I finished, I put the report on George's desk and went to the field with the Battalion.  I told George that all the reports needed was the in Camp arrival strength data and then forward the reports to the FA Group Hqs.  The second day in the field, George went to the Battalion Commander and told him that I had to get the 1-R's finished.  The Lt Col came to me with the intention of chewing my butt over the missing report.  That's when I threw the helmet.  Shit, do I have to do everything around here?  George, where is the report right now?  He didn't know.  I repeated what I had told him and that the report is sitting on his desk waiting for the in-camp strength to be added and the report was ready to go forward.   I told the Colonel that I was ready to go back and do George's job if he would stay here and do mine. ( I was sure that I was capable to his job and he wasn't capable of doing mine. )   

So, the next time you read an obituary, just remember that they are at best a collection of the finer things done in life and don't have a grain of truth about the stupid things the person said or did.  Oh well,  I am still looking forward to meeting my two friends at Fiddler's Green and drinking a canteen of grog when I pass through there somewhere in the future.  I just hope it will be a while yet.  I think I will review my Obit and see if I too have forgot the funny short comings I have.


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