My father, George Gussman, served in Pennsylvania for most of World War II. His first enlistment was in 1939 at 33 years old. When the US declared war on Japan in 1941, Dad was close to discharge. Of course, no one got discharged after December 7, 1941. My father was the fourth of six sons of immigrants who came to America just before the turn of the 20th century to escape the pogroms in Russia. My father went to school only through the 8th grade then went to work. He liked to say he was a Teamster when there were really teams of horses. His first job was stable boy, working the wrong end of those horses.
When the war broke out my father was twice the age of the other recruits and had real experience in warehousing, what the Army calls the quartermaster corps. Despite his lack of education, he went to Officer Candidate School. As a brand-new 36-year-old 2nd lieutenant, my Dad was soon put in command of a Black maintenance company at Camp Reynolds in the northeastern part of Pa. He was very proud of that command. I still have scrapbooks of clippings and photos of the men he commanded. He kept in touch with some of his sergeant's long after the war was over.
Then he got assigned to Fort Indiantown Gap. More on that later.
Friday, February 29, 2008
I just passed the last module for Phase 1 of the 63J course. A week from tomorrow I report for Phase 2 school at Aberdeen MD. I'll be blogging daily from the school--everything from wake up calls to lights out if I can.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I just got orders to report for 63J10 training at Aberdeen MD on March 8. So the clock is ticking now for me to complete the seven modules that make up phase 1 of the training. I just returned from a business trip to Boston. I took the train and went through most of one of the modules on the way up and back. Here's a picture of the steam cleaner that is part of the latest module.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Saturday morning I was able to join another company is a laser fire exercise. I fired an M-16 with a laser device attached tot he end of the barrel at electronic targets. It has been so long since I fired an M-16--in tanks my personal weapons were a .45 Cal pistol and a "Grease Gun" submachine gun--that I was happy to practice aiming, squeezing the trigger, and assuming firing positions. Firing prone I put together a 3 cm shot group. Kneeling and standing, not so good. I also had a good shot group sitting, but that's not part of qualification fire. I am looking forward to live fire at summer camp.
Sunday morning I took the PT test again with a couple of guys who missed the previous tests. The morning was cold and because of a snow squall the track was icy in some spots and wet in others. My run time was 16:23, 42 seconds slower than September, but I did 11 more pushups and 14 more situps (42 and 66 respectively) so I got my overall score up to 271. Next fall I hope to get my score up to 290 by get my run time down to 14:40 (max for age 52 to 56) and adding a few more pushups.
Friday, February 8, 2008
No Kidding. So the fifth of seven modules in my phase 1 training is how to maintain and operate a field laundry. I have four kids and do the laundry at my house. I thought the laundry module would be a cinch. But it's mostly about maintenance and operation of a diesel-powered field set up. I scanned the material, took the test and scored 53%. Unlike the other modules, I am going to have to study this one thoroughly--even though this is the one thing so far I actually do in the course of a normal week. But troubleshooting a diesel powered laundry is nothing like doing the laundry for one household. Oh well.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
I have completed four of seven modules in Phase I of my 63J10 training. So far no chemicals. I will be responsible for maintaining chemical weapons detection equipment. So far, the the first three modules cover repair and maintenance of power generation equipment. The fourth module is how to operate and maintain a 350 Gallon Per Minute pump for diesel fuel.