The Chief of Police was always highly cooperative insuring that our personnel when in town did not get in trouble. It was agreed that he would call me at any time if anyone needed any assistance. He always thought that I was too rough on them when in trouble especially, after on one occasion, I conducted a Summary Court Martial in his office. It is evident even today that the men respected me as a commander because after 43 years, some still maintain contact and some are still living in Bristol, whom I have seen on a few occasions.
On the 7th of November 1956, a special ceremony was conducted to formally accept the Bristol NIKE Site and raise the United States Flag. The event was covered by the newspaper journalist and radio. Television coverage was somewhat in its infancy at that time. Our guest were from all town, county, and state organizations, to include the State National Guard and the Governorís office. It was highly successful.
The unit began to function in a highly military manner from the start. The trained cadre were in position and it was known factually when we made our first annual trip to Red Canyon Range Camp, New Mexico, for our Missile Firing Tests to receive a score of Outstanding.
Most of the men knew that I was a pilot and flew bombers during WWII and flew L-19ís in Korea. We were assigned a converted C-47 (DC-3) to carry the troops to El Paso, Texas, for our trip out to Red Canyon. This was something that had slipped my mind until a few days ago, one of the men reminded me that I flew the C-47 from Rhode Island to El Paso. This was a chartered aircraft and, of course, the civilian pilots were on board and I just sat in the Co-pilot position to fly the airplane.
The battery functioned in a high state of alert at all times. Our men knew their jobs and always performed in an exemplary manner. I canít recall any inspection whereby our score was less that Outstanding Ė the top score.
During Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day the battery participated in parades and were invited to all social occasions. On these days, it was expected that my wife and I would attend all social occasions and usually in formal military uniform. My wife and I still reminisce on these happy moments while viewing photographs.
Shortly after moving on site, we started a weekly article in the local paper BRISTOL PHOENIX responding to the Editor. We had a gentleman assigned to our unit who had a Bachelor of Science in History. He enjoyed the journalistic challenge and we received many great responses in telephone calls and in writing.
The Mess personnel
were tremendous. We had assigned about 144 men to the unit. The Mess personnel,
after establishing a great relationship with the Navy at Newport, Rhode
Island, did exchanges in food supplies and we always had outstanding meals.
On birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions the Mess Sergeant
and the Chef would prepare a cake and other special foods. For Christmas
and Thanksgiving the Chef would cook a turkey and when properly cooked
would completely slice the it and then put the "that bird" back together
and then fix the wings, head and tail of tinfoil and place colored ribbons
and vegetables around the platter. It was beautiful and the food was really
outstanding. We always ate in family style on special occasions. We never
had any complaints from the troops. Usually, someone would volunteer to
help in the kitchen even to wash the pots and pans. That was always the
cooperative attitude of the men after they learned what their rewards were
going to be.
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