Saturday, April 17, 2021

Promotions and Replacements


1st Sgt. Mort Saeger stepped into the CP, "Cap'n, there's a brand new lieutenant here. Says he's supposed to take over 3rd Platoon?"

"All right, Mort, send him in." Newly promoted to captain, Stephen Hernandez was already noticing that running a company required a lot of paperwork. He wasn't sure how he felt about that, but if he wanted to make the Army a career, company command was a good step to take.

The new man stepped into the room and came to attention, then snapped a salute while bellowing, "Sir, 2nd Lt. Mitch Hornsby reporting for duty! Sir!"

Hernandez looked at the man, everything about him said "NEW!" His uniform looked as if it had just been issued, as did all his gear. Hernandez looked down at the man's boots, a little mud on the bottom but that was all.

"At ease Lieutenant. You will not be taking over 3rd Platoon..."

"But Sir, my orders..."

"I don't care what your orders say son, but your ass belongs to Charlie Company now and you'll go where I put you. You're green as grass, so until you have a bit more experience, you're going to be the Company XO. I hope you're good with paperwork, because you're going to be doing a lot of it."

"XO, wow, thanks Sir!" Hornsby thought that was better than being a platoon commander, which it was in some ways, especially for the men he might have gotten killed because of his absolute lack of combat experience.

"Don't thank me just yet lieutenant. Go see 1st Sgt. Saeger, he'll get you situated."

"Sir, yes Sir!"

"And you can knock that shit off right now. Dismissed."

Brad Woodstock watched as Otto Walls and his crew brought the new tank into camp, it was an M4A3(76)W. The long-barreled 76mm gun stuck out like a sore thumb among the short-barreled 75mm guns of the rest of the platoon.


Sgt. Walls dismounted and walked up to Woodstock, he paused then said, "Does battalion know that you're impersonating an officer?"

"I reckon they do, they promoted me this morning." 2nd Lt. Woodstock looked at his shoulders and shook his head. "Times must be tough if they made me an officer."

"Heh, no comment Brad, er, I mean, Sir." Walls threw his platoon commander a ragged salute which made both men chuckle.

"Nice tank Otto. We finally have a big gun in the platoon. Nice."

"She's yours if you want her Brad." Sgt. Walls assumed when they were issued the tank that his platoon commander would want it.

"Negative Otto, I'm comfortable with Catamount. The old girl has gotten us this far, I'd hate to swap horses in mid stream." Woodstock grinned as he said that. "Besides which, that big gun is gonna attract Kraut fire like a candle attracts a moth."

"Hhmm, don't do me no favors Brad, but she is a nice tank. I'm going to name her 'The Great Wall.'"

"That's in China ya know." Woodstock offered.

"Damn it, I know that Lieutenant, but I always name my tanks 'Wall', this one is too big and nice to be just 'Wall' 'so she's 'The Great Wall.' Is that okay with you, You Highness?"

"Well, she's your tank buddy, you get to name her."

Hernandez handed a sheaf of paper to his new XO, "Send these names up to battalion. I've taken the liberty of promoting these guys to the indicated rank. Let the major know that I need his blessing on these."

Hornsby looked at the names...

Garrett Weber promoted to Corporal, Assistant Squad Leader, 1st Platoon/1st Squad
John Chapman promoted to Sergeant, Squad Leader, 2nd Platoon/2nd Squad
Daniel O'Neill promoted to Corporal, Assistant Squad Leader, 2nd Platoon/2nd Squad
Robert Poole promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, Platoon Leader, 3rd Platoon

Then Hornsby remembered something, he checked his field jacket pockets, found what he was looking for and handed it to Hernandez, "A list of the new replacements, Sir. 1st Sgt. Saeger already has a copy."

S/Sgt Homer Kincaid
Pvt. Matt McDaniel
Pvt. Jeff O'Neal
Pvt. Matt Swanson
Pvt. Billy Pires
Pvt. Jim Wilhite
Pvt. Charles Bennett
Pvt. Tomas Ramos
Pvt. Dan Jackson
Pvt. Bob Carroll
Pvt. Drew Morgan
Pvt. Drew Lewis

"Other than S/Sgt Kincaid, they're all fresh recruits from the States. I rode up here with Kincaid, he was wounded in Normandy, late June, he's just been released from the hospital." Hernandez listened as Hornsby told him that. Good, the kid pays attention, he thought.


Saeger poked his head in, "Sir?"

"Bob Poole needs a platoon sergeant, how about..."

"Kincaid Sir? Already done."

"Thanks Top."



"Your first lesson in Charlie Company, listen to the sergeants, they've been around. Learn from them, they'll keep you alive if you do. Understood?"

"Well, of course Sir, but..."

"Understood, lieutenant?" The glare Hernandez gave the new lieutenant was enough to peel the paint off a Tiger tank at a thousand yards.

"Sir, I understand."

"Good, dismissed."

The 1st Infantry Division in the Harz Mountains
April 1945

(26th Infantry is underlined in blue)

Author's Note:  Condolences to MrGaribaldi on the recent loss of his Dad. Been there, done that, still hurts. Thoughts and prayers brother. If you're so inclined, stop by his place to wish him well. Good men, father and son.

Link to all of the Chant's fiction.


  1. I idly wondered what a new tank smells like.
    I know what old ships smell like.

    New faces and new places.
    I have my fingers crossed for Hornsby and the oldtimers and new folk.

    1. That is an interesting question, what does a new tank smell like?

      I know what old aircraft smell like...

    2. Grease, new rubber, uncured paint and burning electrical circuits. That lasts until the weapons get fired once, then everything changes, except the burning electrical circuits. That's a lifetime smell, to some degree.

    3. Good to know, about what I'd expect.

    4. So, the 40 year old radio station is quite the smell. The old resistors, tubes, dust, head cleaner, hot transformers.... Nothing smells like old tube gear. It's all solid state now.... and they are 59 years old this year...

    5. Old electronics do have a particular smell.

    6. When we got the legacy radio gear on the Iowa fired up and operating, all the "Old Guys" came around to get a whiff, and relive their memories.

      It was quite an honor to meet some of the guys that actually ran the gear when the ship was in service.

  2. The "but" from the new 2nd Lt. doesn't bode well, hope the NCO"s can rein him in.

    1. He'll learn, hopefully he won't get anyone killed while doing so...

  3. The "but" is only natural, most of us have done it. Hernandez' "leadership style" will rub the burr off the new Brown bar. Notice he didn't gripe about going to XO.
    Boat Guy

    1. Couldn't send condolences as his site only allows comments using gulag.

    2. BG#1 - Not sure how this new fellow is going to fit in. My Muse hasn't told me yet. 😉

    3. BG#2 - He'll see it here, I'm sure.

  4. So, oh great and glorious OAFS... what rank is Mr. Jackson, or are they letting civilians in now?

    Other than that, nice. Quiet. For now. People died, people get replaced, hopefully the people don't screw up so bad that new replacements are needed.

    Like, well, the new S/Sgt. Wounded back in late June. Hope it was a real wound rather than a 'get out of fighting, dangit, didn't work' wound. Worse thing Hernandez and the company in whole needs now is an abject failure at the squad leader level. Already had that at platoon level. And wit weeks left, it would be bad to have an active stupid leader in charge. Or an outright coward. Or a thief. Or, well, his squad needs a competent leader, as does Hernandez.

    1. Clerk at regiment forgot to type Jackson's rank in, he's got KP over the weekend for that slip up.

      We'll learn more about the new S/Sgt soon.

  5. Just thought for the officers, newly promoted towards the end of the war, didn't they lose rank in the peacetime Army? I think NCOs, once promoted, stayed with the rank peacetime but could be mistaken...

  6. When my Dad and I discussed my going into the service, the FIRST thing he told me was "If you go in the Navy, LISTEN to your Chief. If you go in the Army, LISTEN to your Sargent. Do what they tell you. You'll be a better sailor or soldier, and you'll learn what you need to know to stay alive".

    All the military people I've known said Dad gave me excellent advice.

    1. Same thing I told all three of my kids...

      It is very good advice.

    2. is that why sergeants get all the good lines? :)

      in other news, eastory has a new vid out:

    3. Not in the Air Force, there the fighter pilots get all the good lines...

      Nah, just kidding, sergeants get the good lines.

  7. My late father's uncle, who was in the Army Cavalry, told him when going into the Army in WW2 to "Keep your ears open and your bowels shut"

    Dunno exactly what he meant by all that., But from Basic training, I learned to keep quiet unless spoken to. Served me well.

    1. "Bowels shut" - Damn, in the USAF they spent the first few days asking us if we'd had a bowel movement. Kinda important to do that.

  8. Sarge,

    I don't know if this was an issue for the Army, but for the Corps, a lot of guys turned down battlefield commissions during the war. It seemed that in WW1, those commissions were taken back after the war ended.

    I know this because one of my uncles was offered one in the Pacific and refused. But surprise, surprise, this time around, those so commissioned got to keep them.

    (He didn't make the same mistake in Korea. He retired as a captain in 1960 after 23 years of active duty. He said two wars were enough for him.)

    1. Two wars? One would be enough for me!

      Reverting to pre-war ranks did happen in the Army. Smaller Army.

  9. Hey AFSarge;

    Thank you for the condolences, It was much appreciated. it is nice to see the New LT get "Reminded" to listen to the NCO's, 95% of the NCO's will be honored to show the new officer how to "Do it right", it is part of the NCO creed. The end is near, and the light is starting to flicker at the end of the tunnel.

    1. The odds of it being a train are getting less and less.


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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