Friday, March 20, 2009

A Trusting Soul

Thanks, Chaplain Sam.

Chaplain Sam's first duty assignment was the Chaplain at the stockade at Fort Leonard Wood. As a young Lieutenant he was filled with trust of his fellow man. After having served for about three months, he had been able to talk to each of the inmates. He decided it was time to have a discussion with the Commander of the stockade.

The Commander invited him in and asked what he wanted to discuss. Sam was greatly concerned about all of the inmates. To a man they had convinced Sam that they were innocent. To a man they convinced Sam that their Commander or First Sergeant were really the guilty party. The Stockade Commander did not roll his eyes or burst out laughing. The Commander suggested that Sam contact some of the "guilty" parties. Sam did just that. The gist of each conversation went something like this, "Did he tell you he had done this?
Did he tell you he had done that? Did he tell you he had done the other thing?"

It didn't take long for the word to go out, tell the Chaplain the truth. He is going to check out your story.

Sam is glad that he had the Commander he had. It was one of his first valuable lessons as a brand new Army Chaplain.

He went on to become a first-rate Chaplain. Even in his retirement, he still serves soldiers.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A D-Day Story

Bill T. is a member of the Old Bastards. He is one of the few who is a veteran of WWII. He tells this story with great humor. It is one he would tell when old Army buddies would get together at his home. He would wait until his late wife was in earshot.

There is some truth and maybe a little bit of a stretch.

He tells that he was dropped into France 10 days prior to D-Day. As a member of an advanced party he had a great number of duties. The one he tells that used to rile his wife was this one. One of his primary duties was to help the French women learn how to greet and treat the US soldiers. He did indicate that he showed them how.

Whenever his wife heard him tell it, she would throw something at him. I don't think he has any scars from it. It is funnier when he tells it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Christmas 1971, Saigon, RVN.

I was working as a Narcotic Staff Officer in the Provost Marshal’s office at MACV Headquarters in Saigon. There were about ten of us assigned to the office and that included Vietnamese clerical folks. In an effort to maintain some semblance of normalcy we agreed to enter into a Secret Santa gift swap.

It was a nice way to celebrate the season with our friends and compatriots. For the life of me, I cannot remember whose name I got or what I purchased for that person. I do know what someone got for me.

It is a simple hand carved wooden statuette made in Thailand. It represents Madonna and Child. I have no idea who thought that I would like such a gift. For that very reason, I treasure it. If memory serves me right, we had a very low dollar limit on such gifts, so it was the thought that counted. That, along with the simple beauty of the statuette and the season give added meaning for me. It has a place of honor in our bedroom.