Thursday, August 6, 2009


I thought I was finished with my army stories, but then I remembered this one:

May and June, 1951 -- our heavy weapons training company was going on a week long field trip out in the boondocks of Fort Ord, California. We had good weather, thank heaven, because we were going to be sleeping in our tents for the week. Now “tents” was an interesting way to put it. We each carried in our backpacks what was called a “shelter half”. That is, we each had one half of the tent we’d be sleeping in.

Our company was divided into two platoons of four squads each, a squad consisting of 15 men in a column. When we got out to the bivouac area, the platoon leaders paired up two soldiers to make two shelter halves. Now I was at the end of my squad -- number 15 -- so there was no one left in my squad with whom to pair. That also happened to the last guy in the squad next to me, and the platoon leader paired the two of us together.

Here is where it got interesting. The ground was reasonably flat, but there were clumps of little bushes all over, and the trick was to find an empty space big enough to set up our tent. Before we started the setup, we had no idea how much room we would need, and since we were last, the really good spots were already taken. Finally, our platoon leader found us a place he said was big enough, so we started our setup. Well, the tent itself fit in the space, but our front tent rope extended into the path in front of our tent, so that’s where we hammered it into the ground.

Now the fun began. We were told that there was an “enemy” company in the area that might try to raid us. Each squad was designated a time to guard our perimeter; our squad was on early, and nothing untoward happened on our watch. When it got dark, about 8-8:30 p.m., it was too dark to see, so we crawled into our tents and went to sleep. Along about midnight I awoke to shouts of “There he goes,” “Cut him off,” and “Stop the S...” I could hear the thud of boots running up and down the paths, and at one point a loud crash and swearing for what we found out later was when one of the “invaders” fell into one of the tents. My tent buddy was swearing softly to himself, and I kept thinking about our tent rope that extended into the path in front of us. And I heard the thud of running boots getting closer and closer -- a steady clomp, clomp, clomp, clomp, clomp, -- a brief break in the clomping -- and then CRASH - as (we found out later) one of the “invaders” tripped over our tent rope, and crashed to the ground, there to be “captured” by our perimeter guard. My buddy and I had helped catch an “enemy” without even getting out of bed!

A bit of humor:

Johnny's Mother looked out the window and noticed Him "playing church" with their cat . He had the cat sitting quietly and he was preaching to it. She smiled and went about her work.

A while later she heard loud meowing and hissing and ran back to the open window to see Johnny baptizing the cat in a tub of water. She called out, "Johnny, stop that! the cat is afraid of water!" 

Johnny looked up at her and said, "He should have thought about that before he joined my church.."

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