Category Archives: Infantry OCS

Joseph J. Grano

Here’s our former OCS Tactical Officer, a self-made millionaire and acknowledged Wall Street titan, discussing his 2009 book on C-SPAN that year.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?289532-1/you-predict-hero

The title of the book is very apt, for him, too, since none of us could have predicted what he’d become. For instance, his 2016 sale of his 30,000-square-foot estate for $45 million.

https://www.nj.com/realestate-news/2016/09/new_jersey_most_expensive_home.html

“Property taxes on the estate are $123,203 a year.”

Congratulations, Lieutenant, and former Candidate, yourself.

Do they still say Lady’s Gun?

Or purse gun, of about a .32 caliber, preferably in a revolver, so the lady in question doesn’t have to learn how to unjam a semi-auto. You might have a misfire but you just pull the trigger again to choose a new round and fire it.

Such is the conversation I’m having with an OCS chum who is a former prosecutor who prefers 9mm pistols. Bit too much recoil for the lady in question, unless you get an expensive one.

While I’m trying not to think about what may happen in a few months if the election results (in-person mixed with mail-in) are delayed by more than a week. Would we know the results by Xmas?

If it’s not close, they can’t cheat, is a truism that ought to energize both sides. If it is close, it may be months before we know the final result, and wonder whether we can trust it.

Major Norman Vulinski Linnear

He was one of our tactical officers in Infantry OCS at Fort Benning—a black lieutenant, a rare thing in 1968. Several remember him fondly as someone who taught more than he harassed.

He later did two tours in Viet Nam, as a MACV adviser and later an infantry company commander in the 25th Infantry Division. He died in 1990 at age 51, and is buried at the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.

Close Quarters

Don’t know why I never read this Vietnam war novel until now. It came out in 1977 and is awfully good. M-113 personnel carriers used as assault vehicles, just what I would have blundered into had I dropped my OCS application when they closed Armor OCS and the Infantry at Benning was all that was left.

A dozen or so did drop and all but one (who was sent to Germany) of us drafted Armored Cavalry Scouts got sent to Nam with the 5th Mech or the 11th ACR. And probably wound up being drivers or TC’s like veteran author Larry Heinemann’s Flip Dosier, who became lean and mean like the story itself.

But despite a few incongruities (Armor guys didn’t qualify for CIBs, Larry) and way too much weed (satisfying the protesters who were sure we all did it all the time like they did) the plain-spoken story rings true. Read it, if you haven’t already.

Second of the third II

Here’s a mystery that could use solving.

My OCS friend Russ Wheat was wounded in both legs in Viet Nam and sent to Japan for treatment. Where OCS classmate Rick Wilson, who was posted with an Armor unit in South Korea, ran into him on a leave:

“We met in a bar in Japan where he was holding court with about 20 mesmerized by his continual line of jokes. It was a great time with him. As an aside he had to sit on a pile of pillows due to the wounds he had which he referred to as his magic carpet.”

Russ should have ridden his magic carpet home. Most wounded sent to Japan were. Two from my advisory team went home that way. Indeed, Rick was surprised when Russ got sent back to Vietnam to complete his tour as a platoon leader in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. “I was surprised he returned to VN. I too thought he had his ticket home.”

When I asked Russ why he was sent back he raised his eyebrows and shoulder in a half shrug as if to say “Why, indeed?”

Could the major general who felt insulted by Russ at the briefing have been so vindictive as to send him back for more infantry despite his leg wounds?

High Plains drifter

Our old Army OCS friend Russ Wheat wanted to be buried in Higgins, Texas, on the High Plains, about 800 miles north of Canyon Lake where he spent his retirement years.

So, when he was discovered deceased at home alone by his pastor shortly before Xmas, a local funeral home drove him in his casket to Higgins. There was no autopsy, apparently because there was no sign of foul play and the sheriff learned that Russ was under the care of the VA hospital in San Antonio for multiple maladies, including prostate cancer. He was 81.

The executor of Russ’s estate returned his dozen or so stray dogs to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in nearby Kendalia where Russ was a benefactor. One dog was blind in one eye, one had three legs and some were mangy. Russ had shared his one bedroom home with some of them for almost twenty years.

Canyon Lake is a little town near San Antonio catering to retirees. Higgins, near Oklahoma, is a little town barely clinging to life, with a living population of about 400, according to a 2017 article in Texas Monthly. Russ, unmarried and apparently childless, is buried with his parents in the town cemetery, on one of the few hills on the prairie.

Barbara Ellen and I are planning to go in March. We’ll make it a leisurely trip of a few hundred miles a day to see the wildflowers, and Palo Duro Canyon, as well as my friend’s resting place: a High Plains drifter gone to ground at last.

The walking wounded

Steve Hamblin, a classmate in Infantry OCS, writes to the group after I posted the Second of the third:

“Still thinking about Wheat losing most of his platoon. My God that must have haunted him. There are no words. Vietnam is long over but there remain walking wounded among us and sometimes we learn too late who they are.”

Via OC-504-68 FtBenning at yahoo!.com