About Me

My photo
Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fort Riley and Fort Knox

After a two week honeymoon in Daytona Beach, Florida,
The newly married couple drove their Chevy coupe
To visit parents in Birmingham, Michigan, and Chicago
With all their worldly goods stuffed in the rear.

The assignment was a four month indoctrination at
Fort Riley, Kansas, to all aspects of the U.S. Army;
What they would have received at an officer candidate school,
But featuring very little training in the field.

The only value of the experience was the fostering of
Camaradarie with Regular Army R.O.T.C. graduates.
Then, after a quick Christmas leave,
On to Fort Knox for Armor officer school.

That featured a full round of field training, driving tanks
And firing their armament on the ranges.
As well as learning how to maintain these elephants,
And sometimes pull them out of the mud.

This was called branch training by the Army, as
Graduates dispersed to similar schools for their service branches.
One byproduct was the assignment thereafter of almost all
Armor officers to Germany to join the Armored Cavalry regiments.

The infantry officers, in the main, were to be sent to Japan after
Their training at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
The Armor officers would spend three years in Germany
Patrolling the border between East and West Germany.

The infantry graduates went immediately to Korea in 1950
And never saw Japan unless wounded or in transit back home.
Twenty-seven of the class of 1949 were killed,
One was awarded a Medal of Honor posthumously.

Worse for the class of 1950 who had no field training
After graduation, and were sent into combat as replacements.
After such losses, new second lieutenants were pulled
Off the line and given a one week orientation in survival.

Meanwhile, those assigned to Germany sailed to Europe
With their families, for a three year tour of duty.
At Fort Knox hospital, the couple had added a dependent,
Who went along as the youngest passenger on board.

No comments: