Ever and Always
Chapter 36: Maybe Not So Easy – April 2025
Copyright© 2015 by Banadin
The Valley group had the hope that they could become independent from outside food. However, when they did the math it wouldn't work. They had come to the conclusion they would have fifty thousand people at the 'Time'.
The studies estimated for a normal diet it would take twenty acres per person. This worked out to one million acres or forty square miles. The valley was long but narrow. They didn't have that sort of land and weren't in a position to start out in other valleys.
If they had to allow two years for things to settle down, and then get crops in where ever they could, they would have to have a lot of food in storage. That had always been the plan but the numbers were amazing.
All of a sudden the Federal help they had been shying away from was very welcome. Of course this increased the number of warehouses, and the people to staff them, so that upped the headcount and more food was needed.
How many mules did the army really need became the running joke but it was also kidding on the square. If they didn't get this right it could kill them.
Something else occurred that Rick hadn't foreseen. He was asked by Rob King to apply for a reserve commission in the Army. His explanation was that it would help later when and if Rick had to take charge of any armed forces they had.
The short term rational was that a major review was going to be held of the entire U. S. Army sergeants training program. Since Rick had helped establish the current one he would be a good historical resource and have valuable input in the new program.
Rick asked why he had to be in the service. He was told that they wouldn't want to listen to an old civilian. He then inquired why he had to be an officer.
The response was that officers would be doing the review and they wouldn't listen to an old has been Sergeant Major. This response really got the old has been Sergeant Major on his high horse.
He demanded as much rank as he could get so they would have to listen to him.
All of a sudden Rick was a reserve Colonel in the United States Army Reserves. He was called to active duty. It was arranged for him to attend an abbreviated Officers Candidate School.
There was none of the early wake up, uniform BS. It was to let him know how todays Army differed from his. He quickly found out the old ways weren't acceptable.
No giving the Sergeant a hint if needed that a man had to be taken out behind the barracks. If the officer had to give the hint then it was probably time for a new Sergeant.
He now had to be sensitive to genders and preferences. The up side was that no officers had been fragged recently.
He actually spent several weeks involved with the new training program. To his surprise his every word was hung on to like gospel.
This may have had something to do with the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star with one Bronze Oak leaf, Bronze Star with one Silver Oak leaf, Purple Heart with four Oak Leaves.
His tabs were the tower of power; Airborne, Ranger and Special Forces. His parachute device was that of a Master Parachutist Badge with a gold combat device.
Finally he wore a Combat Infantry Badge with a star on it. He had served in the Korean and Viet Nam eras.
One Major said it all when he heard that Rick finished his enlisted career as a Sergeant Major, "That is one bad assed dude!"
In setting up the new courses Rick had to remind people time and time again that the Armies mission was to break things and kill people.
What Rick had to adjust to was that the new Sergeants had to be able to adapt to rapidly changing tactics based on new weapon systems which were being provided at an ever increasing pace.
They had a series of weapons and tactics trials. Rick was hated by the Political Correctness people because that was the first thing he threw out the window when he was in command of the exercise and he always won.
Why did they not get that upper body strength was enforced by the laws of physics not the laws of man! They thought that he wouldn't allow any homosexuals in combat.
His question was, "Can and will they pull the trigger? If so I want them."
Rick was happy being a Colonel; he didn't have to put up with the BS as he expressed it. He got a little bent with Rob when he was told that his name had been submitted to Congress and he had been awarded his first star.
"Rob, this is over the damn top," was Rick's expression!
"You need it for what we think is coming," replied an unrepentant Rob.
Marsha was very helpful after pinning his stars on, she kept saluting him. After three days it got a little old!
He did receive some retraining, even a General had better remember, "Yes Dear."
Now he had to attend a five week course at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. The course was the 'Capstone General and Flag Officer course.
It taught General officers that they had to behave themselves because they would be under more intense scrutiny than ever before in their life. The curriculum was heavy on interacting both professionally and personally with General officers of all services.
Vanity led Rick into a trip to Leavenworth, KS where he was measured by Marlow White for a full set of uniforms including full mess dress, both blue and white.
Rick figured if he was going it might as well be all the way. Rick had learned about this old line military tailor when he attended the United States Army Command and General Staff School for Command Preparation when he was promoted to Command Sergeant Major.
When Rick put on his regular uniform for the first time Marsha was amazed. Rick had his ninetieth birthday last February. Standing in his normal ramrod straight posture one would be hard pressed to think he was sixty.
The frail old man she had fallen in love with was a mature hunk!
Rob King had disappeared into a hospital in March. They visited him several times and the wasted man they found almost had them in tears. On a visit in April Rob asked them not to come anymore.
"It is too hard on all of us and my time is close. Rick, I have had the paperwork submitted to the Society of Cincinnatus, you will be taking my place. There is no secret handshake to learn, nothing behind the scenes.
You will meet a lot of good people that will help you, think of it as networking. Think of it as a social club that works for the good of the service, like pensions and education. However it is the most prestigious club in the military."