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Showing posts from June 3, 2016

Re-Enlisting In a Parade: Army Love

In the early 80s, I was a tank commander in the 68th Armor, a reserve unit in Reading, Pa.  We trained at Fort Indiantown Gap, but had a couple of M60A1 tanks and other vehicles in an armory in the city of Reading.

Each year, the 68th put a vehicle or two in the parade through downtown.  Like most reserve and guard units, members of this unit were neighbors and some were life-long friends.  The year I joined, everybody was talking about one of the gunners in the unit who re-enlisted in spectacular fashion the year before.

Billy loved tanks, loved the unit and wanted nothing more than to be a gunner.  He had served four years on active duty, then came home in 1978 and served two years in the 68th Armor.  He wanted to re-enlist, but his wife insisted he get out.  So he left the Army in 1980.  The following summer, in 1981, Billy came to the parade with his wife and young son.  A dozen members of the 68th were riding in the back of a deuce-and-a-half truck, waving at the crowd.  They s…