Sergeant of the Guard!

The weather of late reminded me of an incident back in the winter of 1970-’71. I was on Guard Duty at Ft. Riley, Kansas. I was guarding the 67th Signal Battalion’s Motor Pool; a sizable area about four city blocks long by two city blocks wide. The temperature stood at a daunting -20ºF. There was plenty of snow but fortunately no wind. As I circumambulated the fenced-off area in that dark prairie silence the frigid snow beneath my feet gave forth a strange squeaking noise with every step rather than the more familiar cold weather crunch.

The guard was divided into four two-hour tours from 10 PM until 6 AM. I had the third watch. At a leisurely pace I could make one round every twenty minutes for a total of six for the watch. But when 4 AM rolled around nobody came out to relieve me. Miffed, I took another turn around the Motor Pool. When I again reached the point closest to the CQ I called out: “Sergeant of the Guard! Guard Post Number Three!” (or what ever it was) but got no reply. I did another 20-minute turn around my area of responsibility and called out again. Still no relief. I did yet another turn and stood there bellowing to no one but the cold black sky: “Sergeant of the Guard! Guard Post Number Three!” Again, no relief.

Long-story-short, it wasn’t the Sergeant of the Guard but the Officer of the Day who finally relieved me well after 6 AM. It seems the Sergeant of the Guard had a bit too much to drink the night before; the dumb son-of-a-bitch!

After that I was put on a Roving Patrol – it was still Guard Duty but covering a much larger area driving around in a 5-Quarter Ton (M715) truck.

You can tell the grand-kids I did a double watch of Guard Duty of over four hours in -20º weather. Don’t cry on my shoulder, kid.


About The Twentieth Man

Age 67
This entry was posted in Dirty Words, Human Sacrifice, Personal History, Short Stories, Veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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