Monday, October 26, 2015


So..., there I was *  back in school, this time at the Army's Command and General Staff College in lovely Ft Leavenworth, Kansas on the banks of the Missouri River.  My son and I had completed 1st grade together there.  He as a first grader, I as a first time experiencing Army Training.  Pause for obligatory Army Training Video.

Now that that's done.  We'll get on with the story.  My wife and brand new daughter had remained on at Kadena for an additional year while I was at school. Our thought process was that we would then be looking for an assignment at the same time, making it much more likely (not certain mind you) that we could get assigned together.

Then, as with all military plans, the enemy ( in this case the personnel folks) got a vote.  Since she'd been promoted BTZ (below the zone, early, marked for great success in future career) and she was a personnel officer, the personnel brass wanted to ensure her career stayed on the fast track.  So, they selected her to go to the Army's Command and General Staff College.

That screwed up our plans, two years separation followed by an out of sync assignment, we'd be lucky to take leave together.  Then I came upon an opportunity.  The Army had a one year follow on program called School for Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) where they produced Jedi Knights.

I applied for the school and was accepted.  This was right at the time that Saddam had vacationed in Kuwait and been evicted.  SAMS graduates had been a big factor in planning the right sweep while at the same time the Air War had been highly successful.  

No, Sarge, I  do not believe Air Power won Desert Storm, nor do I believe the ground forces could have done what they did with out the success of the Air Campaign.  The US led coalition won and the politicians, as usual, threw it away.  Anyhoo enough on that.

After Desert Storm, the Army was very interested in studying the role of Air Power in the war, and the Air Force was very interested in studying ways to better coordinate the integration of air and ground combat.  (No, Sarge, not a discussion of JFACC either, but I did have to write a monograph about that. My advisor was a Marine O-6 select infantryman.  I'm sure you can imagine our discussions.)

The Air Force also decided they needed their version of SAMS, and stood up SAAS.     So, they were enthused that I was selected also.  I was enthused because my family was going to be together again. 

The first three months were called the Book a Day club.  Classes were held in the morning and we were released in the afternoon to prepare for the following day.  By prepare, I mean we were given a Military classic, such as “On War” and told to read and understand it, in time for discussion in the morning.  By the time this section was over, we were pretty tired and looking for a way to relax and blow off steam.

My wife and her class had a similar situation in that they had just completed the operations portion of CGSC and were similarly tired.  One of the aspects of that section of training was a tour of the Disciplinary Barracks, the formal name for the military prison on the Fort. Since Army Officers sent to CGSC were typically going to command positions on graduation and would have judicial authority over their subordinates, it was considered useful that they would have visited the facility.
USDB at the time,  since torn down, this will always define prison for me.

That visit went a long way towards keeping me on the right side of the law.

Anyhow, it's October and the curriculum pace has lightened, actually not, we were just learning how to cope, which was exactly the point of Staff Officer training.  Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough. 

But as we perceived a lightening of the load, the Air Force Students decided that we should have a  party.  A couple of the guys, single at the time, had rented a large house and offered it for use.  The original party theme was to buy some beer, bring some food and sit around and drink and eat and watch football.

The wives vetoed that idea.  No, we would have a costume party.


We'll have some beer, eat some food and watch football in a costume.  We decided that we would have a contest with some trophy for the best male and female costume.  Voting would be taken from the opposite gender.  The women would pick the best male costume and vice versa.  The wives knew that injecting a bit of competition would encourage a more active participation on the part of the guys.

The winner of the best female costume came dressed as a nurse.  Nurse Goodbody to be precise.  As soon as she came in the door, there was a collective groan from the crowd.  The women because they knew who won, the men because  well…

The winner of the best male costume was a much closer held decision.  The trophy was eventually handed out to the wearer of an orange jumpsuit with a brown ski cap.  This was the uniform worn by the Disciplinary Barracks Trustees as they performed chores on the post.

You could get your car detailed for about 5 bucks by them.  They did all the lawn mowing. You could even get your groceries bagged and carried out to the car by a  convicted murderer.  They were always very polite, because even the slightest complaint meant loss of trustee status and back into the cell.

In any case, the Ladies thought that costume showed imagination and effort and so awarded the gentleman the trophy.  Shortly thereafter the party breaks up and we head home.

One of the attendees is driving home when he drives over a nail or something and has a blow out.  He's busy changing the tire when a police officer happens to drive buy and shine his spotlight on him.  Seeing the winner of the trophy in his bright orange jumpsuit with Prisoner stenciled on the back and a brown ski cap on (it was cool, he was trying to stay warm!),  well, let's just say things got exciting for a bit.  And he didn't get much sleep that night.

The following Monday, the Commandant felt it necessary to put out a memo stating that the trustee uniform was in fact a uniform and not a costume, and if someone felt the need to try one on, that could be arranged.

Now, in this day and age, an incident like that would be the death knell for a career.  However, this guy is still on active duty and is wearing three stars.  No, I won't name names, He's a pretty good guy.

On a personal note, I'm going to be on vacation for the next 3 weeks.  In fact, by the time this posts, I'll be in the air.  I've decided I've had enough of Fall, so we're going where it's now Spring and the locals tend to say G'Day instead of Howdy.  

I've got my Monday posts scheduled although I'm changing the nature of my posts for a bit.  I hope you will enjoy the change.  I've learned a lot in doing the research.  


  1. Have a great time. If you run into Steve Lee buy him a beer for me. I'll owe ya.

    Looking forward to your new posts.

    1. Thanks. Will do. Might get expensive though. I like Aussie beer.

  2. Re: "No, Sarge, I do not believe Air Power won Desert Storm..." - In my book, combined arms means air, naval and ground forces working together to put the hurt on the gomers, er, bad guys. Interdiction, deep strike, CAS, etc. are all things air power does well but without ground forces are just so many fireworks displays, pretty, hurts the enemy but doesn't make him quit. Hasn't in the past, won't in the future. (Hiroshima and Nagasaki don't count, those air strikes forced Japan to realize the war was lost, in reality their days were numbered anyway. The nukes just made sure that thousands wouldn't have to die in an invasion of the Home Islands.) Hhmm, idea for a post right there...

    As to Halloween, I would think that orange jump suits are never a good costume idea in an area having a prison. This did shake loose some dust from an old memory of a Halloween costume party in Germany, back in the day. I shall have to tell that story this week.

    Great post Juvat, enjoy Down Under. We expect stories upon your return.

    1. Re: Combined Arms. My point exactly.
      Re: Prisons. The DB was one of five prisons in the town. They had the Fed big house. The DB used it to encourage good behavior. Bad behavior could get you a weekend at the big house. Evidently, that was a one hundred percent certainty of non repeat.
      Stories? To be sure!

  3. " jump suits are never a good costume idea in an area having a prison."
    Nor are chambray blue shirts with blue denim trousers.

  4. Guys wearing chambray didn't see daylight much. But the Orange jump suited formation lawn mowing team could teach the Tbirds a few things about formation.

  5. Have fun in Aussie land! Angus Steak House at Darling Harbor has good steaks at a good price! Just sayin...

    1. We're trying it a little different this round. Sat-Sfo-Hnl. Overnight at Hale Koa, then Sydney today. Decided 19 Straight was a bit much. Thanks for the tip.

  6. You inspired me to google map and see if the school in Leavenworth where I attended 1st Grade while dad was at CGSC was still there. Nope. Long gone by the looks of it. Enjoy the Spring!

    1. Yeah,I think the Fort got an extensive restoration in the early aughts.

  7. My Dad had some school at Leavenworth - my mother seem to delight in telling friends that he was sent to Leavenworth.

    Nurse Goodbody - seems to fit.

    1. We kinda referred to our time at Leavenworth as time served sentence commuted for good behavior. That always raised an eyebrow.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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