Short Story

Many Moons ago, I commanded a 105mm Howitzer battery in Horton, Kansas.  We went to Camp Ripley, Minnesota for camp in 1975.  It was a fun camp for me as it was the last Camp in Command of Battery B.  Most of the cannoneers joined the unit the year the unit returned from Active Duty and at the end of their 6 year enlistments they were ready to have a good time and it showed.  I think we laughed our way through that camp and there were so many short timer sticks being carried that there was no brush or trees left anywhere near our battery positions.

To make a short story long, we were notified that in the middle of the first week, the FORSCOM Commander, General Bernard Rogers would visit one of the units and the Battalion Commander picked my Battery to get us ready.  We worked hard for a day or two getting the place all picked up and squared away.  Each section had their equipment all laid out and it looked like the diagrams in the Field Manuals from Fort Sill.  I did have to dig out the shoe polish because several of the soldiers said they were going to not polish their boots ever again.  If you looked hard, the hair length was a little long too but they would be wearing their helmets so I wasn't worried.

The appointed day arrived and the Battalion Commander came to my battery to meet General Rogers and the 69th Brigade Commander when they arrived by Helicopter.  We were ready and I was really proud when they arrived.  When we saluted, General Rogers stopped and returned our salute.  I swear, there were more stars showing on his uniform than I had ever seen in any one place.  4 on his hat, 4 on each collar and 4 on each shoulder of his field Jacket.  I think that was 20 starts twinkling there in the sun. 

Just as I started to invite the General to look at my unit, I noticed a flash of white out of the corner of my eye.  It was one of my cooks slipping up to talk to the General.  Oh crap, what do I do now?  Then a flash of the Obvious hit me and I realized the Cook's name was Rogers.  When he got there and gave the General a hug, (no salute) and asked how  the General's wife was.  There was an exchange of information between them that ended with the General asking the soldier how we were treating him.   He said "Great" and that he had never been in a better unit at a better time.

I can't say that I ever wanted to kiss a soldier, but that was one time that I was about as proud as I could have been.  The General said, "Well we are running behind so we had better get going."  No visit to the unit, no good byes, just the whopping of the rotor blades as they left.  The Battalion Commander said that he knew that the general wanted to see his Nephew and got in his jeep and left.

We had a great camp that year and the guys threw a super party at the end.  I moved on to a new unit that fall and will always remember the day that General Rogers came to visit.

MUD,  COL (Ret)

1 comment:

  1. This morning as I read the E-Mail, I saw that an old Colonel from my past had died. His obituary said that he had enlisted in the National Guard, 130th FA Brigade Band with a PVT Rogers that went on to be the FORSCOM Commander. Funny what will spike your memory.