Marriage fails to meet expectations |

Marriage fails to meet expectations

Shirley Welch
Vail, CO Colorado

As spring rolled around and fresh blooms brought cheer to an otherwise somber time of war, Frank graduated from college at one o’clock on a Saturday afternoon; at two o’clock he got married, and the next day he was inducted into the army.

Unfortunately, this was no way to start a marriage. Although, she chased him all over the United States while he was moved from base to base, these two young people had no time to find out anything about the other and no time to solidify a marriage. As soon as Frank went into the army, he was sent to officer candidate school.

He suffered through the school at Fort Sill, Okla., in the height of summer, where the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife, where the bugs were bigger than house cats, and where the humidity left a man dripping while he brushed his teeth. At the start of the program in Fort Sill, there were 318 men, mostly recent graduates but some in the army who qualified for officer candidate school.

Because Frank had experienced his ROTC training he was far ahead of the pack of men, and 90 days later the class graduated some 153 officers, most of whom like Frank came from ROTC.

When he was granted leave he would see his wife, but even on those occasions, his marriage did not live up to his expectations. On one particular leave while in Tennessee, the one thing he looked forward to was a home-cooked meal. To his dismay, he found that on that night his wife was only capable of making a fancy dessert in a big tall glass.

That was it. While he was glad to be on leave and to see his wife ” and not be with his division in a field of mud ” Frank’s idea of the perfect wife was slowly fading into nothing.

After graduation, Frank returned to Denver for a couple of weeks and then was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., where it was still smothering hot and where the terrain was sandy rather than hard-pack or rock, which made maneuvers doubly hard, whether it was on foot or by vehicle.

After a short stint in North Carolina, Frank was assigned to the 989 Field Artillery “Heavy” Battalion in Tullahoma, Tenn., where the battalion stayed through the fall and wallowed in the relentless rain.

Shortly after arriving in Tennessee, Frank’s unit was called back to Fort Bragg, and here his battalion got very busy, getting ready to go overseas. His work day would typically started at 5 a.m. and didn’t finish until 8 or 9 p.m. or so.

He and his wife lived in an apartment at this time but with the army taking up so much of his time so that they rarely saw one another, Frank thought it was silly to pay for an apartment when he had free quarters at Fort Bragg, and his wife agreed, so she took the bus back to Fort Collins.

Right after Christmas, Frank was sent to the Army Artillery Communications School in Fort Sill, Okla. He was supposed to be there three months but before the time was up Frank was ordered back to Fort Bragg, immediately. They got the orders at 4 p.m. and were on the move by 8 p.m.

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