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Military Serendipity

in Military Stories and Humor in Uniform Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:48 pm
by LLE | 101 Posts

Sometimes, you just cannot predict how a sequence of events can bite you in the a$$, but end up tickling you in the head. I was a senior in HS, approaching graduation. The war [WW II] was over, and everyone who lived through it had come home and begun to reestablish their civilian lives. I was continually pissed, because I had not been successful in trying to lie my age to join the military. None of my classmates had made it either, and most of us had a strong feeling that we each needed to make some sort of contribution in thanks to what we now call "The Greatest Generation". An Army National Guard unit had been established in the major cities around a two county area that included my home town, and after some tall talking, I managed to convince my parents to sign for my enlistment. During the first several months I learned a lot from some battle-tested NCO's--close order drill, manual of arms, cleaning case after case of M1's covered with cosmoline, military courtesy and discipline, and what the relationship was between the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. Most important was preparation for summer camp qualifying fire, by learning the field stripping, cleaning and reassembly of the M1, and later the M1 carbine and the 1911, and doing plenty of dry fire, as well as learning how to do pit duty. In addition, I had to learn my "job", as a Radar operator, as well as all of the jobs on the 90mm gun crew. That summer two week camp was just about the most fun [without girls] I had had up to that time.
Fast forward to first semester college: My college was a "land grant" school--meaning that they got land/money from the federal government to establish the school. At that time, if you went to a land grant college and you were physically/mentally qualified, you were required [no way out] to enroll in the first two years of ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps]. This meant I had TWO drills a week--National Guard and ROTC. That was a not good use of time for either studying or carousing IMO, and I decided to complain to the ROTC Department of Military Science/Tactics. [ after all, I was already a grizzled veteran of almost a year of NG experience, and I knew "stuff" that the other freshmen ROTC guys wouldn't know for a long time]. I also knew that it is the NCO's that get things done, so my complaint went to our instructor, who was a Master Sgt. with so many ribbons on his chest that his shirt sagged from the weight. I figured I could probably escape from his office without getting too hurt, if he did not like what I had to say. To my surprise, he actually listened to my whole story without throwing me out the door. He then gave me a sort of verbal test of what I knew, and he said he would give me a hands-on test for drill, courtesy, manual of arms, and M1 disassembly/assembly. If I passed that, he said he'd rig up some duties to perform, and he'd get me excused from drill. Everything went well, and I passed all of his damned tests, without any problems. Then he told me that I had lucked-out on other duties as assigned. He said the Dept. Head, a LtCol., had looked at my file and noticed that I played the trumpet and drums, and done marching band and orchestra work. He said my job, in exchange for not attending weekly drill, was to recruit, train and rehearse a marching band for the Spring commissioning ceremony. He said I could do this on my own schedule through March, and then join the Corps rehearsal in April. It was a piece of cake. All of the musicians were HS/College band experienced, and knew how to march , and of course could play the popular [and difficult] Sousa marches. We even secretly rehearsed the Glenn Miller arrangement of "The St. Louis Blues March", and used it as the march-off piece, after all those new 2nd LT's pinned on their bars. That got applause.
During NG camp that summer, we got word that some North Koreans decided to rain on our individual and collective parades, and we had 30 days from returning home to wind up our personal civilian lives, because we were going on active duty with the US Army. I went up to the college campus to arrange to withdraw for an expected 24 months +, and then went to the ROTC office to say goodbye. "My" Master Sgt instructor was standing at his desk--but something did not look right. I realized he was wearing a commisioned officer's uniform, and as I approached to greet him, I saw, right there on each shoulder an EAGLE!! Yes--he had received orders to assume his "reserve rank" which was full Colonel, and take over the command of an infantry regiment. I told him I was going on active duty also, and if he ever needed a good 90mm outfit, he should look us up. He told me that he would not be surprised if I made SFC, within the year, and I should consider OCS. I told him I hoped to see him back here after the shooting stopped, and even though I was not in uniform, I saluted smartly, and left.
Two years + later--back in college, playing in a dance band at a road house close to the college, in walks my M/Sgt//Colonel. That night, we had to be driven [ bombed out of our minds] to our respective homes........................

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RE: Military Serendipity

in Military Stories and Humor in Uniform Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:07 pm
by Greasy Paws | 111 Posts

another good story Dave!keep them coming.

"My ardent desire is, and my aim has been ... to comply strictly with all our engagements foreign and domestic; but to keep the United States free from political connections with every other country. To see that they may be independent of all, and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home." --George Washington, letter to Partick Henry, 1775

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