Pvt. E-2, H Company, 63rd
Infantry Division, Ft. Ord, Calif.
The Korean "Conflict" had
ended, but the draft continued. Graduating UCLA in Jan. 1954,
I was conscripted in May.
After surviving 3 months of basic infantry training I spent 5 months
as a TV writer-director
at the Signal Corps HQ at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. There, while working
in New York as a researcher-writer
for a CBS-American Museum of Natural History "Adventure" show
on "Random Genetic Drift,"
I produced military training epics such as "The Back Pressure - Arm Pull
Method For Treating Electric
Shock." In March 1955, due to being classified as a "Cameraman-Motion
Pictures," I was reassigned
to Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in the suburbs of Paris.
Steve Wilson, an excellent
photographer and one of the five cameramen in our shipment, took this photo
after a vomitous 11 day
February crossing with 6,000 troops on the USS Eltinge as we were waiting
Bremerhaven for the train
COSMIC TOP SECRET
At SHAPE I was assigned to
the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Photo Division.
This photo was taken when,
after having been authorized to handle "Cosmic Top Secret" documents,
I'd read the NATO plans
to protect the "Free World" by doing such things as interdicting an anticipated
attack across Northwest
Germany by a thousand Soviet tanks by using atomic land mines to create
radioactive death zone from
the Baltic to the Alps. Having been a science-math major at Belmont
almost majoring in Physics
at UCLA (the then-new course in "Astral Navigation" seemed interesting),
I knew enough to realize
that the "collateral damage" fall-out of such actions would contaminate
Holland, Belgium, France,
et al. To save Europe from Communism we were preparing to destroy
In September 1955, after
breaking the nose of a drunken sergeant who'd attacked me in the
Orderly Room at SHAPE, having
demonstrated special ability, I was reassigned to Special Services
as an "Entertainment Specialist"
at the Bremerhaven Port of Embarkation (BPOE). There, working nights
with the Service Club hostesses,
I helped put on dances, invented the "BPOE Theater Society," taught stage
design, got the Army to
fund my taking soldiers to see cultural masterpieces such as "A Night In
"The Merry Widow" at the
Bremen State Opera, organized Christmas visits of our soldiers to German
and otherwise amused the
In February 1956, accepted
as a student for the Doctorate in Social Psychology at the Sorbonne, I
released from active duty
90 days early. My chief accomplishment during 21 months in the US
receiving an honorable discharge
despite not having been promoted to even the lowest active duty rank
of Private First Class.
I concluded my illustrious military career as an E-2.
Color of Man