Frank hits his target |

Frank hits his target

Well, Frank whipped that company into shape in no time. When they reached their peak in August or September of 1961, they were firing 450,000 rounds of ammunition a day. What started out as a simple exercise turned into a competition between companies and the competition grew and grew until people began to whine and nag that unfair conditions affected the outcome of the competition. At first the competition was good and then it turned vicious.

One complaint came over from a Colonel that his company that shot early in the morning had unfair conditions due to the rising sun and therefore Frank needed to change the schedule. Frank wasn’t about to change any schedule.

The Colonel confronted Frank and asked, “What are you going to do about the schedule?”

Frank answered, “Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. when the range opens I will be in the fox hole directly facing the east when the sun rises. I’ll have my rifle and steel helmet and I’ll fire that course. If I have any trouble hitting those targets, then I will do something about it.”

The next morning Frank thought that some new movie was opening or a football game was in progress because spectators were all over the place.

A senior sergeant came over to Frank and asked, “Are you scared?”

“Of what? I know how to shoot this rifle. I know all about it.”

So Frank tested the course, shooting at targets from 75 to 300 meters. You had to reload your rifle, so there were some 16 targets to hit. It was bang, bang, bang and bang some 16 times and Frank hit every target. When he was finished he climbed from the fox hole and handed his rifle to the sergeant.

Moseying over to the two full Colonels who were watching and said, “Major Doll reporting, Sirs. There will be no change in the firing schedule. Any questions?”

They both looked at each other and mumbled something like, “Well, we’re pretty stupid, aren’t we?”

Frank just saluted, turned crisply, walked to his Jeep, climbed in, and left.

With that episode, Frank figured he had worn his welcome out in that detail. Besides, the 7th Division was organizing as a division. He went to one of the artillery battalions as the executive officer. Once again, it was starting from ground zero. Shortly thereafter, Frank got his orders to report to Italy.

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