COUNTRY ROAD

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Quick Steel
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COUNTRY ROAD

Postby Quick Steel » Wed May 09, 2018 8:16 pm

In 1970, after a spell in the hospital, I was sent to Ft.Knox for recuperation.Thus I became the Executive Officer of a Basic Training Battalion. This went on for several months and I enjoyed the work which was entirely administrative. I could accomplish a lot when I had a clerical staff. :) Wish I a staff today.

One day the Bn. CO asked me if would be willing to take command of C company. This was the lowest rated company of the five in the battalion. The training results of the company were very poor and the current CO was being relieved. I was ready to get back in harness and immediately accepted.

One of the major concerns of the army at that time was the number of recruits who deserted from Basic Training. This was serious stuff resulting in court martials affecting the rest of the deserter's lives. My unit quickly established a zero rate which was appreciated by Battalion and Brigade COs. But one day my First Sargent told me that a lad had taken off during the night. I remember his name: K.A.

I dug a little deeper and found he lived about a hundred miles west in a little town near Tell City Indiana which is on the Ohio river. I decided to use the day to see if I couldn't get him back. I drove to Tell City which, at that time impressed me as a very prosperous farming town with lots of well kept stores including a John Deer dealership overflowing with an impressive variety of shiny green machines. Having crossed the river I drove north thru the rolling hills of southern Indiana. Coming around a curve I nearly drove off the road startled in seeing a very, very, large monastery solidly planted atop a high hill and magnificent in its medieval glory. Looked like Monte Cassino.

I eventually arrived at the town I was looking for. It consisted of a gas station and one store. I filled up on gas and chatted up the attendant. Did he know K A and where he lived? He was slow to answer. "Are you from Ft. Knox?" He knew this because of the sticker on my bumper. He asked if I would be arresting K. I explained that I only wanted to talk with him and explain why he should return. Once he was assured of my intentions he mentioned he had seen Kevin back in town and was wondering about his situation. He then told me how to find his house which was up a twisty dirt road.

The house looked questionable as to it's ability to keep out a winter wind. The door was opened by the K's worn looking mother. As with the gas attendant I explained that I was not there to force her son to return but would appreciate talking with him. She let me in and I met the father who could not rise from his chair courtesy of black lung disease. This was mining country.

I spoke with the parents for a few minutes and they eventually called out K. We all sat down while I explained that if he returned before 14 days had passed we could handle his desertion within the Battalion. He would be assigned to the punishment barracks were he would perform a lot of manual labor. Then he would begin his training again. But if he did not return within 14 days he would be officially listed as a deserter and the government would eventually get around to arresting him, maybe in a month, maybe in a year, or longer. I encouraged him to return with me. His mother encouraged him. His father was most concerned that the Drill Sergeants would physically abuse him. I reassured him on this point.

K pleaded to wait for another day or two. He had married just before entering the Army. His wife came out, a pretty young girl. In essence both these newly weds were kids. A little more talk and Kevin kissed his wife good by. The father tried to rise from his chair but couldn't. He said he never heard of an officer coming to pick up a runaway. I replied that I only made the effort for Hoosiers.

K was impressed by my '67 Cougar XR7. Heck, I was impressed with it. I turned on the radio and for the first time heard John Denver singing "Country Road." Have loved that song ever since.

But I was getting angry, not with K, but with his draft board. This family was dirt poor, the father dying, with very little means of income. He never should have been drafted. No doubt the board had a quota to fulfill. And K would have been unable to articulate grounds for a deferment. Back at Ft. Knox, while K did his punishment, I enlisted the aid of the chaplain and did the paperwork to obtain a compassionate discharge. This was approved in record time since I was able to give testimony that was personally observed.

Several weeks later I received a post card from K thanking me. I have always been grateful that I made the decision to go after him and that he could be there for his wife and family, especially his father. Not everyone needs to be a soldier.
"Life is good if you don't weaken." AG Russell

doglegg
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby doglegg » Wed May 09, 2018 8:33 pm

I appreciate you QS

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treefarmer
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby treefarmer » Wed May 09, 2018 8:46 pm

Quick Steel,
Thanks for sharing a story that shows your compassionate heart. ::handshake::
I suppose desertion/running was on some minds at Parris Island but most us young fellers believed the Drill Instructor meant exactly what he said and didn't want to see if what he said was true! :)
Semper Fi
Treefarmer

A GUN IN THE HAND IS BETTER THAN A COP ON THE PHONE.

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jerryd6818
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby jerryd6818 » Wed May 09, 2018 9:58 pm

A decent officer. Garry it almost sounds like a fairy tale. Good on you. You did the right thing.

There were tales a-plenty at MCRD San Diego of guys going "over the hill". Some of them probably true, some probably not but we didn't need those of that ilk anyway. If they would do that in boot camp then where the rubber meets the road, they would hang you out to dry if things ever got dicey.
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

This country has become more about sub-groups than about it's unity as a nation.

"The #72 pattern has got to be pretty close to the perfect knife."
--T.J. Murphy 2012

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carrmillus
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby carrmillus » Mon May 06, 2019 9:33 pm

......this has been up here for nearly a year, and I just saw it ::facepalm:: , what a great story and post, thanks for posting this, QS!!!!!................. ::tu:: ::tu:: ::tu:: .......................

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Doc B
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby Doc B » Mon May 06, 2019 10:39 pm

Great story QS...even if we are just getting around to it! ::tu::
Heretical Refurb / Mods of cheap old folders, since late 2018

doglegg
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby doglegg » Mon May 06, 2019 11:07 pm

Glad it was resurrected. Great remembrance and act. ::handshake::

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Colonel26
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby Colonel26 » Mon May 06, 2019 11:45 pm

Wow! I’m just now seeing this too. Great story, and a fine job on your part looking out for this young man and that family.

Reminds me of the words of the prophet Micah.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”
‭‭Micah‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭NKJV
“There are things in the old Book which I may not be able to explain, but I fully accept it as the infallible word of God, and receive its teachings as inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
Robert E. Lee

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FRJ
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby FRJ » Tue May 07, 2019 12:25 am

I think I understand your reasoning for your actions. I hope that guy made every effort with his advantage.

My childhood and young manhood were over run with chaos. Then I was drafted in the Army.
I hated being in the Army. I stayed in the Army.
Joe

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jerryd6818
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby jerryd6818 » Tue May 07, 2019 3:25 am

FRJ wrote:I think I understand your reasoning for your actions. I hope that guy made every effort with his advantage.

My childhood and young manhood were over run with chaos. Then I was drafted in the Army.
I hated being in the Army. I stayed in the Army.

When did you get out, Joe?
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

This country has become more about sub-groups than about it's unity as a nation.

"The #72 pattern has got to be pretty close to the perfect knife."
--T.J. Murphy 2012

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FRJ
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby FRJ » Tue May 07, 2019 4:10 am

I went in active in 1966 and got out of active in 1968. I stayed in the Army as required.
I was inactive until 1972 and discharged.
Joe

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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby steve99f » Wed May 08, 2019 9:34 pm

That is a fine story QS. Well done!
steve99f

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Quick Steel
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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby Quick Steel » Wed May 08, 2019 9:59 pm

Thanks Steve.
"Life is good if you don't weaken." AG Russell

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Re: COUNTRY ROAD

Postby Tony_Wood » Wed May 08, 2019 10:32 pm

A man with brains, now, he can get work done,
But sometimes at the expense of others.
A man with heart, sometimes cares so much of others that he hardly gets any work done.
Give me a man with a brain and a heart; he can change the world by changing the people in it!


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