Wednesday, August 3, 2016

BFFs Army Style: My Platoon Sergeant 32 Years Later

Army version of BFF: Best F#ckin' Friends

Ron Lamm, Command Sgt. Maj. Retired

In his book "The Four Loves," C.S. Lewis said one mark of friendship is that after any passage of time, the conversation between friends picks up right where it left off.  I have not seen Ron Lamm since I left Alpha Company, 6th Bn., 68th Armor in May of 1984.

Last weekend, in one of those coincidences turbocharged by Google, I met Ron at the reunion of Charlie Company, 6-68th Armor.  On Friday of last week, I was looking up when 68th Armor was deactivated and found a Facebook link to the reunion.  The reunion was the following day.  I showed up at the Charlie Company reunion and found a few people from Alpha, including my former platooon sergeant, Ron Lamm.

My son Nigel and I were in Pottsville that morning at the city's annual bicycle race.  After the race we drove to Fort Indiantown Gap and went to the reunion. I met several people I remembered then found Ron.  We sat at one of the picnic tables for a half hour and talking about our mutual interest in World War II.  We talked about our fathers' service during the war and then talked about Ron's recent ride in a restored B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.  Ron told me about a project to restore the original "Memphis Belle" one of the most famous B-17s.  Ron was talking about how they used staggered waist guns in the 1990 movie, but the actual Memphis Belle was a B-17F waist guns opposite each other, not staggered as in the later G model.  We are both the kind of guys who know that staggered waist guns and chin turrets are modifications made in the G model of the B-17.

Ron told me about the rest of his career after I left Alpha Company.  He made Command Sgt. Major in 1990 and stayed with 68th Armor until the unit was disbanded in 1995.  He also volunteered for the Gulf War, but would have had to take a reduction to E5 to go, so he turned it down.  Ron has been retired 21 years.  In a few years he will be retired longer than he served.

Talking with Ron reminded me how very sure I was that I should leave the Army in 1984.  I really liked Ron, I liked the unit, I had the papers for OCS filled out, but was sure I needed to move on.  I have Ron's email now and we have tentative plans to go to an airshow.

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