I was only 17 when I enlisted, so I didn't pull any real gaffes like that with officers, or civilian muckety-mucks. After I had gotten a reputation, though, there were often an unusual number of 'scrambled eggs' types around. One enduring misunderstanding by them was that because I was 'bright', I'd of course want to be an officer. I was perfectly happy being a sergeant (then only a spec-4).
I was also young and dumb enough in 1961, that I wanted to get in one of the MAAG units going to Southeast Asia. My Colonel kept denying my 10-24 (?) personnel action request, (don't recall the form number anymore) because he said he wasn't going to send the first 'intuitive' FDC computer he'd ever met off to slog around in a rice paddy.
In the early sixties, we had nukes, carried them on TM-6 up to the Czech border (Meiningen Gap) and did battery and battalion tests in Grafenwoehr several times a year.
I'd only been there about 2 months when a sister 8" outfit from V Corps landed a round in the tent city, just west of main post at Graf, and we were the next major unit rotating there for our tests. Sobering
Once we started shooting, it became obvious how it happened. One of the fire points up on the northwest corner of Graf was a straight line through the bunker at NV-04/09er (the standard registrationpoint) to the tent city. (FP 141b, as I recall) And contrary to what news reports of the time said, it was *not* charge 7 as opposed to charge 5, it was 6 rather than 5. Had the powder man not been holding *something* (the #7 bag is pretty big) the safety officer would have seen that something was amiss.
I contributed my own little piece of confusion when I whanged one off the NV-04/09er bunker roof on a precision registration. (FO to FDC: "one-seven, this is three-zero. Target hit, dud" 30 seconds or so later, "cease fire, cease fire, cease fire all units. Maintain the data on your guns until you are checked and cleared."
It was me. That sucker had flown 7500 M, hit sideways on a sloping piece of the broken roof, changed azimuth, ricocheting another 5700 M, whistling merrily all the way, and landed about 1 klick out from the firing line at the tank range west of the main post and tent city.
Crater analysis (8" leaves a big crater) found the little slip of paper from under the fuse, and a largish fragment with a lot number.
Of course, he had committed no error or negligence, but the result was the EOD and demo guys went out into the impact area and *leveled* all those old WWII bunkers.
People who think the services don't pay attention to safety (at least as much as is possible) are from my experience, just plain nuts.
The finale was, that after two years, (it took them nearly a year to set it up) I got emergency orders and a letter appointing me to the West Point Hell Week class of September '83, with a year in Belvoir to spruce me up and get me ready -- even then, geeks were not overly style conscious, although I did make Col.'s orderly once, with some diligent effort.
I could *NOT* convince them that I didn't want to be an officer. I did not want to go to West Point. I wanted to shoot my cannons. For a twenty year old kid, assigned to battalion headquarters FDC, with 12 8" howitzers to command it is a REAL power trip. It was also something that I didn't want to give up nearly a year early to get shanghaied into a fancy OCS program (as I viewed it at the time)
When I got to Belvoir, I told them that I was not going to cooperate, and that for the umpteenth time, "*I DID NOT TO BE AN OFFICER!"
Their 'punishment' or revenge, was to send me to a STRAC outfit in FT Benning, GA. Oh please don't throw me in the briar patch! I won't be able to wear my parka, or my mickey mouse boots anymore! I'll only have one pair of gloves, and no mittens. No wool trousers and shirts. OH, please no!
The rest of my punishment was getting assigned to a combined 8"/Honest John outfit, A-1/12thArty. (wow! new goodies! rockets!)
One downside, though. A couple of months later, we sat in our Globemasters, with all our guns, launchers and nukes on board. We had known something was up, and we were on unofficial alert, but everyone stood formation at 18:00 that evening, after chow, and listened to the President. That was Oct 23, 1962. Top yells, "OK, load 'em up, prepare to CSMO!"
I was getting tired of this cold war shit, My unit had had to go to Meinigen on Sunday morning, Aug 18th, 1961, when the Berlin Wall went up. At the same time, the legs from V Corps took a Sunday morning drive up the corridor to Berlin.
More military history. I was the first Sergeant's battery clerk and dog-robber at Benning by then, when the 11th Air Assault disappeared , literally overnight. Cannons, helicopters, trucks, personnel -- the buildings were flat *EMPTY*. Off to chase little brown brother in the paddies, we all presumed. This of course was well before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.
At any rate I got my DD214 in September of 1963 (after extending 4 months -- I respectfully declined to re-up that time though!) and went home.
An old sergeant once told me that the smell of cordite is like wolf pussy. once you've smelled it, there's never going to be a substitute. So although I had put it off for years, I finally joined the USARNG in Ohio, and got to play with my cannons again. Little ones though --102's. At first they wanted me to be an observer, but I wanted the maps and charts and sticks. The FDC chief at the time thought I'd be out of date, and too slow to catch up. Wrongo! Within a year I had my own section in a different battery, and had gotten promoted.
I had to leave in 1985, though. I moved to Phila. to work for the Navy depot, and didn't have time or resources to go to meetings over in Trenton . DivArty, 50th Armored as I recall.
I guess that's enough schmoozing for awhile! Glad to chat with you, though.
In future, you might just use my normal email. email@example.com
Using up OSDN's facilities just to schmooze isn't cool.