This is my first official self-written post on Old War Dogs and I have to explain something: I am not an Old War Dog.
I am old, yes. Not ancient at 57, but no longer a young pup, by any means.
I am a dog, yes, according to my wife and friends, at times.
But as for the war part, well, all you have to do is check out my profile and you will see that the only piece of fruit salad up there is the National Defense Service Medal, or what we used to call the “I was alive in ’65” medal. I often joke to people that I am the ultimate Vietnam draft dodger: I sat out the war at West Point and when I graduated, Vietnam was winding down and I never got tapped to go.
It was therefore an honor (and I shouldn’t be surprised at the welcoming attitude of my brothers in arms, but I always am) to be invited to become an Old War Dog. I see that I am not the only former officer on the blog list, but I was first turned on to Old War Dogs by the great Russ Vaughn, as well as through the kindness of Bill Faith, two old NCOs. I note that most of the Old War Dogs are former NCOs, so I thought that as my first act of duty, I needed to expound on one of life’s trueisms: NCOs are GOD!
I don’t mean to be blasphemous in that assertion. I am sure that the Good Lord will be honored that I attribute some of his omnipotence to NCOs. They are good company.
As I note in my bio, I grew up in the Army, where I was taught such common courtesies as answering the phone in our quarters with, “Briscoe residence, Shane speaking.” I was also taught, through observation of my Father and his interactions and just watching what went on on Army Posts around the world, that NCOs rule! I learned that lesson anew when, as a freshly minted Second Lieutenant just out of West Point, I was introduced to my first Platoon Sergeant, Heywood E. Smith, at Ft. Carson, Colorado, in the fall of 1971.
“You’re in luck,” I was told by the outgoing Platoon Leader. “You have the best Platoon Sergeant in the United States Army.”