US Army Nike AA Missile Base
Bristol, Rhode Island

Photos from Carl Woida

Narrative by Glenn Meigel

The color photos are the annual Bristol 4th of July Parade, 1973. You may remember what a BIG deal Bristol made over this — dozens of parade entries with hundreds of participants, including the Philadelphia Mummers and Budweiser Clydesdales, plus thousands of spectators. The town organizers gave C Battery the honor of being the 1st element (I guess because we could march), so we lead the parade following only some pace car in front with radio contact to other organizers to keep the show moving and at the right pace. That's me in front followed by Carl Woida (I think CW2 at that time) and LCA WO1 (I believe he was a Wobbly One back then) Gary Woods followed by our battery Color Guard (I can't remember those names, but the guy with the American Flag looks like SP5 Schulhoff (IFC Crewman); I never had an XO for most of my tour but for this parade, I had two Warrants to fill the position. We were followed off-photo by the IFC Platoon (may have been lead by 2LT Krepinevich by that time who replaced 1LT Rick Seaman at the end of my tour in August 1973), followed by the LCA Platoon (may have been lead by 2LT Doug Beal at that time who replaced 1LT Ray Miller at the end of my tour), followed by a prime mover hauling our Battery Training Missile. (I remember the Assembly guys telling me how artificial that Training Missile was and that they’d rather do any training, maintenance, or inspections on a live round.)

Side anecdote: That !@#$ missile sideswiped a parked car while negotiating the end of the parade route; I remember the mover drivers (maybe SP5 Russ Oster [Battery Clerk] and ?) explaining their extenuating circumstances of having to obligingly drink beers thrown up to them by people in the crowd they passed; I don't think I can pin this one on George Ross (IFC MTR Operator) because I believe by that time he was in Project Transition for Food Service before ETSing from the Army. Last but not least, check out what we're walking on. The town painted the parade road centerlines red, white, and blue (that and every year) for the entire route of march, and the last time I was back to Bristol, they're still those colors.

Late P.S. As I was! Russ Oster’s recent email contact confirmed that he was the driver that ill-fated day, and George Ross also came up on the net after some candid observations about my memory: “I was the assistant driver in the cab that fateful day in Bristol. Oster and I had been drinking beers all along the parade route that day. People were running up to the truck and passing us cold ones all the time. I had a temporary profile because of a rash on my feet and could not walk in the parade, so they made me ride in the missile trailer. I got out in August and the freaking paperwork wasn't done until the following January!”

So I stand corrected. And, after apologizing to George for my poor 30+ year memory, I responded tongue-in-cheek: “…I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt by placing you away from the scene of the crime. How foolish of me; I guess I should have assumed, if there was trouble, George Ross was around somewhere close by. But, thanks for setting the record straight (by spilling your guts, incriminating yourself and Russ Oster, confessing by email, and clearing up a 32 year old on-going investigation. I'm sure you have this drill down pat: ‘You have the right to remain silent...’). On top of this heinousness, using your feet as an excuse to play sick, lame, and lazy but apparently the "elbow bending" worked fine. For shame, George...”
Glenn Meigel

Glenn and George Ross
November 2004

More from Carl and Glenn
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