Made our hotel reservations the other day for our Amtrak trip to Oklahoma City on the 25th. From there we’ll drive a rental to Higgins, in the Texas Panhandle, to see and photograph Russ Wheat’s tombstone. Which we had planned to do back in March, until the Chinese Communist Party’s virus intervened.
Takes about three hours to drive it, but Bar and I will enliven the trip with talk. With her seven to five work schedule five days a week, we don’t get much chance of that.
UPDATE: Now it seems we have another couple that wants to go. My OCS classmate Charlie Button and his wife. We’re coordinating it.
I was sorry to hear of my old Army friend Charles V. Waldron’s passing, but glad he was in hospice, as was my departed wife Mrs. Charm. I’m sure they took good care of him.
I knew Charles in basic, ait and OCS, plus as new platoon leaders in the Sixth Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Meade, Maryland, which included guarding President Nixon’s 1969 inauguration. In Vietnam we shared advisory assignments but at opposite ends of the country.
We met again at the Fort Benning reunion in 2003 where we shared a room and I learned of his COPD problem. I’ll remember him as being smarter about volunteering than me, when he missed out on shoveling coal into barracks boilers at Benning waiting for OCS to start. He tried to talk me into going Airborne but to no avail and we missed that one together. Grief is hard, even after years of it, but it does get easier, I told his widow. So take good care, I suggested, and you’ll see him again in your dreams.
And, as a well-wisher at his memorial page put it: He sees every tear and walks with you every step of the way. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
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.
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.
“Property taxes on the estate are $123,203 a year.”
Congratulations, Lieutenant, and former Candidate, yourself.
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.
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.
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.
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?