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  Iron Lung McClung & Joe Lockhart

Submitted by Gerritt L. Ewing, Class 42-06

Richard A. Green
Signal Corps OCS Association

190 SW Wren Court

Lake City
, FL 32025

Dear Sir:

I'm finally setting down some of my memories of the period around OCS before they get any dimmer and before I make the "TAPS" column in Signals.

I landed in Ft. Monmouth fresh out of basic training at Ft. Dix. I remember an interview I had with a Lt. Doty, during which I was told I could attend Crypt School if I would sign up for the regular army for three years. After a certain period of training at Crypt School, I applied for and was accepted in the Signal Corps OCS at Monmouth.

For the first couple of weeks in OCS, I commuted every morning from my parent's home in Fair Haven, New Jersey, arriving at the brick barracks in time to tighten up my bunk and fall out for the morning formation, where I could hear the voice of Iron Lung McClung say: "THE UNIFORM OF THE DAY (long pause) OVERCOATS."

After the first two weeks the order came forbidding sleeping off the post. However, as I recall, none of my three demerits resulted from the commuting period.

It may be of interest to note that the soldier in the bunk next to mine was none other than Joe Lockhart, which is THE Joe Lockhart.

If only his report of a formation of planes on his radar approaching Hawaii had been correctly interpreted, history might have been altered significantly. While I never got to know him very well, he seemed to be a most personable and happy-go-lucky guy. My one recollection of him was his singing "Red River Valley" every morning while making up his bunk.

After OCS I was assigned to Vint Hill Farms Station, which was near Warrenton, Virginia, for further training. For a while I roomed in the former manor house with First Lieutenant Bill Bundy, who later became a Deputy Secretary of State, as I recall.

Vint Hill was good, though rigorous, training. There were cryptanalysis classes, physical conditioning, formations and parades in the afternoon, firing on the range at Ft. Belvoir, and weekend jaunts to Washington. After a year or so I was transferred to Arlington Hall Station, Va., where the work began in earnest.

I was assigned to a unit that was busy around the clock. My promotion to captain, which apparently originated with Vint Hill, came through, and I was put in charge of a unit. The personnel consisted of civilians, enlisted men, and officers, on three shifts.

Not the least of the events that occurred during my tour at Arlington Hall (which included some satisfying accomplishments in our unit, the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima etc.), was meeting the beautiful lady in my unit who became my wife... now of sixty- some years. We snuck away one lunch hour to Rockville, Maryland, and tied the knot at the home of a friendly minister.

This letter would not be complete without including some of the great guys I worked with at one time or another. There were Lieutentants Bill May, whom I roomed with in Arlington until he had to leave the apartment to make room for my new wife, George Snyder, who was a most knowledgeable help in the unit, Lambros Demetrius Callimahos, a most capable analyst and all around good person. I should also mention Captain Tom Vultee and Lieutentant Larry Helland, two good friends at Vint Hill Farms Station. Cal Callimahos, as I recall, had a write-up in a prior issue of Signals.

When I left the Army and Arlington Hall in 1953 I recall saying good bye to our commanding officer, Col. Kullback. Included among his parting words were, "You came to us at the right time."

/s/ Gerritt L. Ewing Class 6-42


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