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Truman at Ft. Sill

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Truman at Ft. Sill - 12/19/2012 4:22:29 PM   

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I've been reading David McCullough's Truman and I thought many of you would get a kick out of the following paragraph. It references a friend Harry made at Camp Doniphan (near Ft. Sill) in 1917 before shipping out to France.

The closest friend, however, was First Lieutenant Ted Marks, who was nothing like the rest of the Missouri men, but an Englishman with what seemed a natural military bearing, a pleasant, open face, and protruding ears. Two years older than Harry, Marks was a Kansas City tailor in civilian life whose beautiful custom-made suits sold for as much as $75. He had been born in Liverpool, ran away from home at age sixteen, and served three years in the Grenadier Guards before coming to America. He and Harry had first met more than ten years earlier, in 1906, when Marks walked into the National Guard offices to join up and found a bespectacled young corporal named Truman officiating behind the desk. As Marks would always remember, Harry had asked him how long he had been in the country. Marks said six months and Harry responded, "You speak pretty good English for the time you've been here," which led Marks to wonder what sort of a country he had come to after all.

In case any of you think he saw little action, on one occasion when his battery was receiving counter-battery fire from the Germans, a German shell killed the horse he was riding. He fell into a ditch and the horse fell on top of him. When he was pulled from under the horse, he let fly with more profanity than his men had heard from him to date. This event occured in the Vosges mountains (at night).
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RE: Truman at Ft. Sill - 12/20/2012 2:08:54 AM   

Posts: 12736
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I had intended to include this photo, but forgot.

And no, the porn in those days was hotter than that magazine the guy in the center is looking at. But for each his own, I remember when I was very young the Sears catalog... Anyways he normally kept his mag inside a folder labelled "Elevation and Contour Maps of the Saar".

I'm not absolutely certain, but the fellow on the extreme left resembles photos of Ted Marks (cited above), and I know he was one of a few officers from their battalion sent ahead to France with Truman for advanced training (they were both Captains at this point). You're going to object because Tru is wearing Lt. bars. Thing is, his immediate Commander who was a real p***k failed to notify him for six months of his advancement (he was a Captain for a month or two before he shipped out to France). He attained that rank due to his tested ability to do the necessary math in his head to be an efficient battery commander. The aforementioned Colonel who in spite didn't advise Truman of his promotion was part of the panel administering the test. If Harry had not demonstrated his comprehensive skill at doing the calculations (under stress simulating battle conditions) he would not have been sent to France for advanced training. Most of you know this or expect it without further info that Truman's battery, Battery "D" was equipped with four French 75's, a rather remarkable instrument for the time and superior to all other field pieces in that caliber range bar none. Among other things, Truman was in his civilian life an expert at handling horses, mules and oxen for drawing heavy loads (like artillery pieces) and directly supplied his wisdom to the appropriate subordinates. You would not say, however, that he was an expert horseman, though he'd surely spent much more time in the saddle than most of his contemporaries.

Their mother unit was the 35th division. Said division lined much of the route from Antwerpen to Potsdam that Truman took as President to meet with Winny and Uncle Joe.

I need to be more precise. The 35 controlled the area between Antwerpen (where Harry landed on the Augusta), and an airfield in Bruxelles where he boarded the C-54 Sacred Cow for Potsdam.

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< Message edited by geofflambert -- 12/20/2012 3:29:03 AM >

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