I went back to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, a few weeks ago because my son graduated from Army Basic Training:

Yes, ladies, he is one handsome devil. Thank God he takes after his Mom.

We attended what the US Army likes to call Family Day:

Those familiar with Army SOP (that’s Standard Operating Procedure, for all you dope smokin’ civilians out there), know that possession of a family violates the Army’s tenet of issuing you one if they’d wanted you to have one.  Accordingly, Family Day was held in one of the most inaccessible portions of Fort Sill, directions to which were written in the most baffling manner possible on the back of an attached map that did not show any street names or locations, the nearest parking about a half mile away. Despite that, we found it, and were promptly seated outside on metal risers and then treated to another time honored Army tradition: hurry up and wait. Did I mention it was about 35 degrees with a 30-50 knot wind blowing through the pavilion? No?

Finally, we had the ceremony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHcMxOJ5BN4

Afterwards, my son did the only thing he’d been wanting to do ever since his TI greeted him on the drill pad:

Not that I blame him. All that marching around and throwing grenades is exhausting. I know. I was in the Air Force for twenty years. We used to watch those Army guys marching around throwing grenades and stuff and feel bad for them.

I found it a bit on the ironic side that I was back on Ft. Sill for the second time in two years, the first as a side trip when attending Larry McMurtry’s auction (see below). I lived in Lawton, OK, the town right outside the Ft. Sill Sheridan gate, from about 1958 through 1965, in this house:

which has, in the following 40-odd years, become this house:

on a street that I rode my bike up and down with great joy when I was ten years old, and that I would not walk down today unless I was carrying a shotgun and a back-up pistol.  Ch-ch-ch changes.

So I stayed on Ft. Sill pretty much the whole time, primarily to avoid the locals and their feuds. We visited the Guard House, where Geronimo spent some time:

Sergeant on duty:

US Marshal getting ready to transport:

this guy:

Geronimo’s cell:

in which he spent about two days. The rest of the time, he was tending his farm and working as a scout for the cavalry. Talk about ironic.

Story of the first outlaw:

which has “movie” written all over it.

My son remained on Ft. Sill for Advanced Infantry Training, and we wended our way back to Virginia.

I don’t really see any reason to go back to Oklahoma. Didn’t see any reason since I left in 1965, either, but have been back twice now.

Funny how a place calls you.

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