Sunday, May 25, 2014


Good Morning, Class of '64

“From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
William Shakespeare 

Henry V

Sundays with Larry

The Army
(Part One)

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) was mandatory for two years in college. I hated every minute of it. When I took off that heavy wool uniform after my last drill, I flung it into the corner swearing I would never wear it again. I had not yet learned never to say never! I wore that uniform for 12 of the next 13 years.

That same spring, I had a life-changing experience. A close friend from high school, Randall Arbogast, was killed in Vietnam. I was a pallbearer. His sister was also a very close friend. She and her parents were very warm and gracious to me, but I knew that they were looking at me wondering why I was standing there in front of them while their son was in that casket. I wondered that, too, and I did not have an answer. The next week I signed up for advanced ROTC.

The only memorable part of the program was the summer camp, a glorified boot camp for officers-to-be. I decided that the military gung-ho stuff was just so much bovine excrement. I much prefer preparation and hard work to false enthusiasm. I excelled in three areas: shooting, night patrolling, and map and compass work. I got by in the rest.

My first assignment was the Army Ordnance School in Aberdeen, Maryland. I stayed there for 2 years.

While there, I was put on temporary duty to support the advanced ROTC summer camp during the summer of 1970. I was assigned as Range Safety Officer on the very rifle range where I had fired the summer before as a cadet. There were no clearly defined duties for a safety officer so I pretty much designed my job.

I worked the firing line along with my trainers, coaching the cadets, clearing weapons, and helping adjust the sights. I moved back and forth along the entire firing line 3 or 4 times daily. We were supported by Seventh Armored Cavalry troops just back from Vietnam. They were terrific. They appreciated my help, and they very much appreciated a lieutenant who was not afraid to get his hands dirty.

I discovered an ability to coach shooters and was even called on by my trainers to coach shooters that they were unable to help. Pretty heady stuff for a second lieutenant! Our last day, the captain in charge of the range let us have a shooting match. I out-shot them all. My senior noncom, a staff sergeant, paid me the greatest compliment of my military service when he asked me to watch him firing and to tell him what he was doing wrong. A senior enlisted combat vet asking a second lieutanent for help in shooting - can’t get better than that.

 Stars and Stripes Forever
John Philip Souza
United States Marine Band
 “I will never quit. 
My nation expects me to be 
physically harder and mentally 
stronger than my enemies. 
If knocked down 
I will get back up, 
 every time.
 I will draw on every remaining 
ounce of strength to protect
 my enemies and to 
accomplish our mission. 
I am never out of the fight.”
Marcus Luttrell
  Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account 
of Operation Redwing and
 the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10
Vintage Recruiting Poster
“People sleep peaceably in their beds
at night only because rough men stand
ready to do violence on their behalf.”
George Orwell

“We sleep safely at night because 
rough men stand ready to visit violence 
on those who would harm us.”
Winston Churchill

“Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die”
Alfred Tennyson
Vintage Recruiting Poster

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