Home Again, Home Again

After a couple of days on the road, I spent most of yesterday takin' it easy.  At 68, that's the way I should take it I guess.  I have some mowing to do today and a few fruit trees to spray.  Hope I can do it while I have the energy to get it done.  Oh well, I'll do what I can and move on from there.

The other day, I was thinking about my days in Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill's Home for Wayward Artillerymen.  The name of my Tactical Officer came to the front of my mind and I couldn't help but remember some of the silliness that evolved from his interactions with us.  I don't have a clue what Lieutenant Gooch's last name was but we would have never called him by his first name anyway. 

Lt Gooch was probably just above the minimum height and weight for being inducted into the Army let alone being promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.  He told us that he has spent almost a year in a 23 week program to get his commission.  He had an almost perfect grade in Leadership  but the gunnery part of our course just caused him to take a couple of academic setbacks.  I think that he was a model asshole but not the brightest bulb in the pack.  Here are just a few of the things we suffered through.

Being short, he would have us sit on the floor in our barracks and he would jump up on a footlocker to talk to us.  That wouldn't have been so bad except that the candidate who's foot locker he used would get demerits for having boot prints on the lid.  About the middle of the course, someone noticed that the clothing sales store had foot lockers for sale and we all chipped in and bought one.  We had the lid painted at a local body shop and then waxed it with pledge.  To say it was slippery is an understatement.  The next time that Lt Gooch showed up and jumped up on the lid, he promptly slid right on off and landed on his butt.  That was the last time he stood on any foot locker. 

After a long day of classes, we came back top our barracks and found a load of trash and chicken bones scattered all over the floor.  We were about to be placed on a weekend restriction when Lt Gooch broke down in laughter.  It seems that his class about 6 months earlier had put the stuff up there and he was checking to see if it was still there.  Other than having to clean up that mess, we all had a good laugh.  The next weekend LT Gooch had duty officer for the Candidate Brigade and late at night, we served him a chicken dinner in our barracks.  For the first time in all of our time in OCS we laughed and got away with anything. 

On Sunday mornings, we could go over to the day room and purchase grotto from the vending machines.  It was mostly candy bars and such but it was a treat for hungry young men.  One of the guys living the same 4 man cube space I had brought back a candy bar. It was absolutely forbidden but he was in a hurry and put it in the front pocket of a sweatshirt he was wearing.  Back in the barracks, he opened that Baby Ruth and was chomping it down.  Some officer came in the downstairs front door and someone called attention.  My cube mate put the wrapper for that candy bar in an empty binder on our desk and didn't fetch it out until the coast was clear.  The next day, our TAC officer came through the barracks and saw one of the binders was not in line with the others.  When he moved the binder, there on the desk was a piece of chocolate and half of a peanut.  He left a note that it was a 6X6 for whoever it belonged to.  We decided that if we split it down into a 2X2 we could live with it.  For the record a 2X2 was two weeks restriction for a pass and two penalty marches up MB4 (4.2 miles).  I only did a total of three trips up MB4 and that was only because of  that damned candy bar and I am not sure of what the other offense was except that everyone went the first time.

The guy who put the candy bar in the binder had a wife in Lawton and in the 10 weeks we had been there he had never got out to see her.  He was limited to standing in a parking lot and talking to her a couple of times a week.  After the additional 2X2 we were given, he dropped out of OCS and was never heard from again. 

There is little record of what happened to Lt. Gooch after we left Fort Sill.  The Tac officer for one of the other platoons was killed in Vietnam and so was the Captain who commanded our battery.  He had been promoted to Major and was killed in a helicopter crash.  Oh well, life for the rest of us was good and almost all of us made it home safe from Vietnam.  We did lose a classmate when he was killed in a car/motorcycle accident right after he came home from the service. 

Better get moving and see if there some way to get all of today's duties done.


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