Thursday, May 2, 2024

Back In The Hood


That'd be Fort Hood, of course, for my eldest's official promotion to Sergeant. It'd been a while since I visited the Great Place so first things first, go to the Visitor Center and get a pass, it's not hard, then check into one of the post's hotels. I chose the Holiday Inn Express, just around the corner from the main gate, and lo and behold, it was full of soldiers. It's also cheap, clean, and friendly, so there you have it.

Next step, set up by the pool of this former transit barracks (?) and enjoy a glass of wine while waiting for the acting Sergeant to arrive, and then go out for dinner and drinks. Easy. Or not. I'd foolishly thought there'd be a congenial NCO Club or some kind of restaurant open in the evening  on post where I could take the kid out for a pre-promotion ceremony celebration. But no, there wasn't. So we got an Uber to something called the Twisted Kilt, which is a kind of sports bar where the waitresses wear kilts and Killeen's ne'er do wells look for fights.

Still, it was fun, in a sports bar kilt kinda way and we made it back to the Hood safe and sound. Word to the wise, if you're going out for a drink or two, get an Uber as opposed to going through the Bernie Beck main gate in your truck and getting a DUI. This happens a lot, curiously.

Next morning, pull on a suit, I went two button, and drive over to Brigade for the promotion ceremony. It wasn't desperately formal but it was moving, at least for me. What happens is this: 

After a brief introduction to Company Command, "Fine body of men you have here, Sarn't," line up before the troops with the two men about to be promoted. Listen to valedictory acclamation from assorted leadership and then, when the time is right, face your son, take his corporal's hat off, replace it with one adorned with sergeant's chevrons and then do the same thing for chest rank. Take the old rank off, put the new rank on, and thump it in. 

For Goodness Sake, LSP, Stand Up Straight

As I understand it, the chest rank replacement used to be a bit of an ordeal because of actual, literal, metal pins. These days it's all about velcro, but you can still put the thing on with purpose. That done, stand aside before falling out. So there you have it.

Later that evening, take the newly pinned NCO out to Tanks because there's nowhere to eat and drink, apparently, on a Wednesday evening at the Great Place, huh. Stand outside Tanks and ask yourself, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" Damning the torpedoes you stride through the dark portal of this dive bar only to discover you can smoke there, great result, and that it's significantly better than the nasty Twisted Kilt. Not unlike Detroit in the mid/late '90s.

Tanks - I Recommend It

Pleased by this, we shot a few games of pool, which I embarrassingly won, enjoyed a few G&Ts and then headed back to Hood via Uber. All good, until disaster struck at the gate, "Do you have any firearms in your vehicle," asked security, sensibly, "Yes, a pistol," replied the driver, honestly. Hey, if you were driving Uber in Killeen you'd have one too. Whatever, he got detained, while the Sergeant and I walked back to the hotel through the long grass of Hood's fields. Well done, mission accomplished, and what can I say?

First: It's no small thing to take part in your son's promotion. Well done, boy. Second: I was impressed by the demeanor of the troops and command at B Company 57 ESB. Intelligent, well they are techs..., respectful, switched on and full of youthful vigor, patriots to boot. Third: This is very, very different than UKLF as I knew it, back in the mists of time.

Ahem, where's the starch, why is there not an hobnailed boot in sight? Why does a Platoon Sergeant have his hands in his pockets? Are there no rifles with shiny bayonets to Pre...Sent... Arms! Apparently not, and I brought this up with the boy over pool at Tanks. "Dad," he said, I know what you mean," he drilled with the Calgary Highlanders as a Cadet, "But, when this thing gets moving it's like an unstoppable machine." Hey now, I can believe it.

Huh, This Is Still Allowed

Back at the Compound now and all is well. Good work, son, proud of you.




drjim said...

Well Done to you both!

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Must say that is a respectable shine on that shoe in the first picture.

Congratulations to the new Sargent.

RHT447 said...

HOOAH. Congratulations and well done to you both. Truly warms my heart. My experience was a bit the reverse. Serving in the reserves back in the '90's, I was promoted to major. My dad, the old B-17 pilot, pinned on my gold leaves.

Wild, wild west said...

Back-in-the-day, all NCO's present would gather at the NCO club to wet down those stripes, with the newly promoted paying the bar tab, but I'm told that tradition may no longer obtain in these days of expulsion for excessive consumption of alcohol. Uber, of course, was not a thing a half-century ago, and some change.

But, congratulations are still in order. The Young Sergeant is now permitted to snarl back at anyone calling him "sir" the holy words "I'm a Sergeant, not a Sir, I work for a living."

LindaG said...

Congratulations to your son, Parson!
You all be safe and God bless.

Adrienne said...

Impressive! You've raised a good boy, Father.

LSP said...

No small hing, drjim.

LSP said...

Yes, WSF, shine those shoes.

LSP said...

Moved by that, RHT.

LSP said...

Wild, I was most dismayed the NCO club shut at 16:30

LSP said...

Cum spirituo, Linda

LSP said...

Thank you, Adrienne.