i A Time and a Place...: It's Been a While...

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's Been a While...

since I wrote in this blog. It's hard to take my post about Lt General Maude out of first place but I guess it's time.

While reading the comments about this post, (and, by the way, a thousand thanks to all of you wonderful people for commenting on it) a phrase I made came to mind. I said I liked high ranking officers and it seemed the higher the rank, the nicer the officer was. That's true, at least it was in my case.

Maybe, because of who I am and what my personality is, I have less trouble listening to and being around people who have proven themselves in life or in their jobs such as high ranking Army officers, as opposed to lower ranking soldiers who are still in the process of reaching for their heights. It's probably just a 'me' thing.

Anyhow, while contemplating all this, an incident came to mind involving a high ranking officer and my wife.

I had been married only a short time and my wife and I lived in an apartment in El Paso, the nearest large city to Fort Bliss, Texas, where I was stationed. At that time I drove a staff car for the visitors bureau. Each day I drove the few miles from El Paso to Fort Bliss to get my staff car and begin my day of ferrying officers and visitors around to wherever they wished to go.

On this particular day I picked up General Bender, the Deputy Commander of Fort Bliss and his guest, Lt General Gavin who worked in DC at the Pentagon.
General Gavin had come to Fort Bliss to, among other things, go to White Sands Proving Grounds which is near Almagordo, New Mexico, and watch the rocket engines being tested and evaluate them for the army. (These engines would carry aloft long range missiles for the army) Anyhow, to get to the point.

The first day of General Gavins' visit, I took him and General Bender to White Sands and we watched the rocket engines being fired up. It was a very exciting and impressive display!
After the visit, I took them back and waited for them to do whatever it is General officers do while I wait and when they were ready, (it was around six o:clock in the evening) I loaded them up and we headed for Juarez, Mexico, the favorite night spot for visitors to Fort Bliss and El Paso.
Now for the incident about which I write.

While driving through El Paso on the way to Juarez, I saw my brand new wife walking down the sidewalk coming towards us. She saw me driving and waved at me. I, of course, waved back. At that exact time, I had to stop with the traffic. General Gavin said, "Specialist, do you know that girl?". I told him, "Yes Sis, that's my wife." Without any hesitation he told me to pull to the curb and stop and call her over and that's just what I did. She saw me stop and came over to the car. The windows were down and I slid over to the passenger side as she leaned in toward the window.

Note: My wife was a Sagittarian and, in her lifetime, had never met a stranger.

The General leaned forward and I introduced him and General Bender to her and General Gavin took her hand and allowed as to how he was honored to meet her. General Bender, of course, followed suit. General Gavin asked her how she liked married life by now and she said she loved it and she loved her soldier boy. I blushed a bit for effect. The two of them chatted briefly and she asked the General if he was going to Juarez and he told her he was. She told him she and I had been there and assured him he would enjoy himself and he thanked her for that information. Then she transferred a kiss from her lips to her finger and then to my cheek and we said our goodbyes and left to resume the journey.
The General told me he was happy we had seen my wife and was glad for the opportunity to meet her.

We went on to Juarez and had our visit. The next day Lt General James M Gavin went back to DC.
The thing that impressed me most about this incident was, General Gavin, during our brief episode with my wife, never indicated he was ready to resume our trip. I have the impression he would have welcomed the chance to have a cup of coffee with Maggie and me and just talk about things that we would talk about. I know the decision to go on when we did was mine. He had made no indication he was ready to leave. What a great man.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it! A lot of things happened worth remembering during my three years in this mans' army. This isn't the most exciting one but it's certainly one worth remembering.

Later...

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