I spent the weekend in Heaven………. An essay by William Marshall

SGM(R) Bobby Howard is one year older than my dad.  He was the Soldier of the Year and the NCO of the Year and Drill Sergeant of the Year in every unit that he was in.  He joined the Army in 1963 at age 17. 

He talked about how Korea didn’t have any trees left when he was there on the DMZ and how the kids ate out of the trash can.  He talked about the Little John Missile and running in boots. He spent nine months as the CSM for the 3-4 ADAR and was the 1SG for both A and C BTRY.

We rode together to the military reunion in Nashville.  We never cut the radio on the entire way, there was never more than 5 minutes went by when we weren’t telling a story or sharing a memory.  I recorded most of it on the way up.  I look forward to reviewing it.

On the way home, on Sunday morning, we talked about Spiritual things for almost 6 hours.  We shared our faith and our love for others and for the Spirit that Jesus gave us to share.

While I was up there, I got to see one of my Soldiers when I was his platoon SGT.  I hadn’t seen his since 2000 when I left for JRTC and he went to Alaska.  We had deployed to war together, reunited once again. Love you Papi!

I sat next to the General.  BG(R) Underhill sat next to me and we listened to CSM(R) Lehr regale us with stories as far ranging as Bass fishing cheating, to narrow eyed intelligence, to the lack of a true National Debt. The General told about how he was in the car with GEN Shinseki and proofreading his speech for him when he found out the first time we were going to the black beret.  Our beloved Underhill helped draft the wording and gave advice on the matter.  

We gathered at the VFW where Walter and others cooked so much food.  Such awesome food.  Thanks Joe and Family for the T-shirts and all the great sides.  I think the Chicken and baked beans earned the title on the food with the ribs cannot go without mentioning the flavor and how they fell off the bone. Our bartender was Linda I’m not sure if we got to the $1500 mark for the bar tab, but we sure tried.

One of our treasured Stinger Team Chief and Retention NCO, Doug Ports sponsored our brunch on Saturday morning. We toasted to some heroes that have passed before us.  We called their names, raised our glasses, and praised their service and love for us.  We all know that we ultimately fought for our teammates and they fought for us.

As we gathered on the bus heading to the event, we played the All American Soldier at the highest levels, we put on our boots and parachutes.  Many of us “hit it” as we exited the bus counting to 4000. I cherry’d up and dropped the guidon as we were preparing for the group picture, of course, I had to get down and knock out 10.  I only did 7.  Lehr made sure he knew I left three out there.

We are going to El Paso next month.  I get to see so many out there. I’m gonna stay with Raynor.  My first friend in the Army.  The one who took Ginger and I in and showed us what a friend was like in the Army.  Heaven will be out there too.

I spent the weekend in Heaven.  AUDACIA!

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