War Stories

Stories From Paul Piccard
Here's an anecdote I like.
One day, unusually, we were in the field in California for a lecture by a visiting officer. He called for volunteers to move a heavy black board. Naturally nobody volunteered. He didn't know anybody but he picked out one man and said, "You." Well, he picked a cook who wouldn't normally have been with us. The cook explained politely that, Sir, he had a bad back and couldn't do it. Without missing a beat the officer said, "OK. You're in charge of the detail. Select two men and have the blackboard set up here." Everybody appreciated his quick wit. Few officers had such class.

Here's another.

While in the ASTP at Kansas State the president of the independent (that is, not sorority) women invited me to escort her to their formal dance. There I was - a buck private - fourth in the reception line. A lieutenant came down the line and managed to detour around me without making an issue of it. A bit later I saw a full colonel being introduced at the head of the line. I leaned down and said to my date, "Here's where I get snubbed again." When the colonel got to me he thrust out his hand and greeted me heartily, "Good evening, sir," he said. So I learned something about the difference between confidence and the lack of it.

“From the Mess Hall”
Courtesy Barbara Tenpenny
Daughter of Joseph F. Koch Co.”I” Mess Sergeant

One story recounts a time when the men in S/Sergeant Koch’s mess hall complained about having only one slice of bread, so he announced, with a few extra expletives, “You want two slices of bread, you’ll get two slices. I’m telling the cooks to cut each slice in half.”

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