Where are the new stories?

Ok, so I slacked off a bit on my blog and my mom told me to update this thing and being a good son, I do mostly what I am told.

I believe when I left off, I was at Fort Riley in Desert Shield/Storm and Christopher Winters posted something about me. I realized that by going from Fort Riley to Desert Storm, I left out perhaps the most important thing that happened to me. While I was in Basic Training, I made a very good friend named Tim Anderson. When we graduated basic we both went to Fort Riley, I went to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment and Tim went to, I believe, 3rd Battalion of the 37th Armor Regiment. During our first weekend at Riley, Tim took me to his hometown, Clinton, MO. Although I did not know it right away, this is where I would meet the love of my life and best friend, Paula Jane Moore. Tim introduced me to several people, one of them being Paule but he made me think that he had a thing for her so I figured she was off limits.  I enjoyed spending time in Clinton and went there with Tim just about every weekend I could and I even spent Christmas with Tim and his family before heading to Desert Shield just a day or so after. This should catch us up to being deployed to Desert Shield/Storm and also count as an update so my mom will not be angry with me anymore.

I will try to keep up with this a little better in the future, although I am getting busy with several college classes going on, work and this whole retirement thing.

Something not from Dave.

David Porter….oh boy, well…a story or two couldn’t sum up what this man brought to Fort Riley and my life. One or two come to mind so let’s see if I can get this right:
Life was already spining out of control getting the news that we were shipping out to meet Saddam in the sand box when the new shipment of recruits came in, I had just myself P.C.S.’d to 2nd Battalion from Fort Lewis Washington after having re-enlisted. To my surprise I would be meeting probably one of my best friends in the world or so he would become…PFC David “Davey” Porter, truly talented on his Korg M1 keyboard, play anthing you wanted…hell…once he played something he just dreamt up at that very moment. Later I would find out he had come from a wonderful family in upstate New York (Kris and Linda Porter…aka dad and mom), was a swimmer in High school….always in good shape he helped me stay up to my potential. After working with him and teaching him what had been taught to me by a long line of soldiers the one thing I could not teach him was passion…he already had it in spades. He cared more for his fellow man than anyone that I could have imagined, and that he would need in the years to come to make a great leader that he has become today.
After hitting the sand box I was transfered to HHC Tank Section “113?s” or otherwise known as Tank Section Tracks….support for the Lt. Col. and the Airforce ALO officer assigned to our task force. Davey and I were inseperable, we’d talk until all hours of the night and his love of music kept us thinking about better days…his comedic sense of humor to this day makes me smile when I think of the first time I saw his smoke covered face emerge from the track, tired, worn to the bone, after a night in hell passing through rockets exploding, tanks exploding, and the zips and thuds of rounds plinking off the dunage we had strapped to our sides…..he looked like us all standing there in the assembly area waiting for hot re-fuel….he looked up, saw me, and with the whitest teeth I can imagine….grins…and using his hands signs in our joking way, “If you see my down easter alexa, and you work with the rod and the reel….tell my wife I am trolling atlantis, and my hands are still on the wheel”. A song by Billy Joel we’d been listening to and when unable to speak, he’d see me or I him and know we needed to laugh….he’d make like he was fishing….and I would turn my ships wheel. David Porter, yeah I can tell you stories about this man….but not one of them could measure up to how proud I am of him, I love him as my brother, and will forever to the day I leave this earth think of him as no less than the one thing besides my lovely wife Michele that helped me make it home in one piece.

Fort Riley Kansas

While I am in-processing at Fort Riley, two NCO’s come to pay me a visit to let me know that I will be going to HHC 2-34 Armor, who will be deploying to Operation Desert Shield in a few weeks. This is just flat out “awesome” news to be told as soon as you get to your unit. I finished up my in-processing within a few days and then I get taken up to HHC 2-34 Armor where I meet several people from several different sections, Tank Section, Communication (Commo) Section and a few others. I met all of these people because they all wanted me to be in that section. You see, in the Army, you go to school to become what you are going to be, but once you get to your unit, they can put you somewhere else if they need you there. During a deployment, especially back then, this can happen a lot. I spent my first few days working in the Commo section, walking around lost because, well, I was a Tanker. After a few days of this, I guess someone finally said, “What the hell is this guy doing in Commo? He is a tanker and we need one of those in HHC Tank Section.” So, I was moved back to where I started when I got there and became a loader on HQ-63, at which time I would meet someone who would teach me more then anyone else, who I would respect for the rest of my life and never forget, SPC Christopher Winters.

Basic Training Graduation and Day One at Fort Riley

Well, it took me longer to get to this post then expected, I was having issues with the site and how it looked. I think I fixed it, but we will see.

Funny, I cannot remember the exact date that I graduated basic, although if you would have asked me 10 years ago I could have told you the exact date and time. I know it was in November 1990, I believe after Thanksgiving. We had our graduation ceremony, and then my mom and dad took me to the hotel and we had KFC for dinner. The next day, we went to Mammoth Cave and, I believe, flew home the next day. I took a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, of leave and then left for Fort Riley Kansas.

I may as well tell the story of getting to Kansas, since this post was rather short. So, I fly into Kansas City and change plans and get onto a little tiny puddle jumper. We take off and after flying over nothing for little while, we landed in Manhattan, KS. No kidding, as we are taxiing to the gate (more like a small building) a tumbleweed blows by. At that time, I really start thinking “what the hell did I just get myself into?”.

We got off the plane, grabbed our bags from the, um, bag claim rack (no moving belt here) and got our ride to Fort Riley, KS. After getting to our reception station and checking in, the Staff Sergeant working the area told us to be in formation the next morning at 0630. So, here I am with a few guys I knew from basic training and we are thinking, now what? I asked the Staff Sergeant, are we allowed to go to the PX? He said, he didn’t care where we went, as long as we were back by 0630 formation the next morning. You see, this was a bit hard to grasp because for the last 4 months or so, the only exposure to the Army we had was basic training which was very structured and limited on what we could do. I think in the 4 months I was in basic, I got to go to the PX 3 times and now I was free to do whatever, awesome.

Long story short, we went to the PX.

Just about done with basic training stories.

So, a day before graduation from basic training and we are all pretty excited. The next day, we will graduate and get a chance to take some leave before going to our new duty stations. However, this was not the case this time around. The day before graduation, we were told that due to the fact that our units of assignment are already deploying to Operation Desert Shield, our leaves would be canceled and we would go directly to our new duty stations. This did not settle well, after all, my parents, along with many others, were already in town for graduation and plans to get home (plane tickets, etc) were already taken care of.

Later that day, we were told that we would get our leave and it was not canceled. Some of us thought they were just messing with us, I just didn’t care and was glad to get a chance to go home the next day. But, this isn’t the whole story.

Now, for the rest of the story (my Paul Harvey thing). The night before graduation, we were all pretty excited and pretty much acting like idiots. I think the Drill Sergeants didn’t like that too much, so they came in and told us that the parade field that we would graduate on is covered in leaves and that we would not graduate until all of those leaves are gone. So, me and my 40 or so friends ran outside and commenced to picking up every single leaf by hand until the parade field was perfectly clean. Gotta love the motivational power of a good threat.

Since mom brought it up.

I was going to save this one for later, but now is as good a time as any. During one of our field exercises in basic I got poison ivy on my hands. This in itself is not a big deal, but when you are in basic training, the last thing you want to do is tell the drill sergeant that you need to go to the clinic while everyone else is setting up tents to clean them up and clean all the stuff from the field. So, I decided to not tell anyone and instead I used a green scratch pad and scrubbed the poison ivy until it bled, then poured rubbing alcohol on it. Did it hurt? He’ll yes it hurt, but the poison ivy was gone, however my hands hurt like the dickens for a day or two.

And yet another somewhat interesting basic training fact.

So, everyone in the Army knows how to shoot the M16 rifle and most people in the world know that this is the weapon the US Army uses. Here is a little fact, I never shot the M16 until after I switched to 93C (Air Traffic Control) from 19K (M1A1 Armor Crewman) about 4 years after I joined the Army. As a 19K (Tanker), our primary weapon, is, well, a tank. The weapon we carry is a 9MM pistol, which we learned how to shoot in basic. We did have a 1 day class on how to shoot the M16, but on our way to the range to actually shoot it, it started to storm, so we never got a chance to.

First official Army photo

I do not remember the exact date this photo was taken, but I do know it was after my hair was buzzed off. Funny story that goes along with this, the uniform I am wearing is not even mine and it was not even a real jacket. They had these ready to go for the photos and the back was not sewn up so they could just slip it on to take the photo and then slip it off.