Wednesday, August 3, 2011
They don't all fade away... old soldiers...
General John M. D. Shalikashvili, US Army (Retired), has passed away - he was one of the keepers. I was fortunate enough to serve under him when he was Division Artillery Commander of the 1st Armored Division in Germany. He was not one for looking good, he thought that being ready for war was what it was all about, looking good would come after. He front loaded field tests, so you could see how ready for combat you were, and then work on what you were weak in after. He was always coming into the headquarters and tactical areas, unannounced and without a grand party of folks fawning about him. He would sit quietly in a chair and watch my Operations during the darkness and ask questions if he wondered what the situation was. I asked his driver when he went to sleep - the driver said he slept while they were going to the next position or pulled off the road, and the driver slept when they stopped for visits.
The picture is of Colonel 'Shali' presenting me with the Division Artillery NCO of the Year Certificate of Achievement (1980), the young specialist to my left would be getting the Division Artillery Soldier of the Year Certificate of Achievement. He later became the DivArty Commander's Driver. Okay, the soldier was not from my battalion, but I had been his Drill Sergeant in Fort Sill, Oklahoma for One Station Unit training (1977) - which was from wanna-be to qualified Cannoneer. About eleven weeks he was in my platoon and care. The world isn't as big as we think it is somehow.
General Shalikashvili retired to the Great NorthWest and suffered a stroke which he was working through. I knew President Clinton knew nothing when he pulled General Shalikashvili back from NATO Commander to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Which I think was what he was told by his choice, but a soldier serves where needed, I am sure he was good for the Washington, DC groups. He will be going to Arlington National Cemetery and the Patriot Guard Riders will be holding a flag line.