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Retired Marine; retired high school teacher; married 34 years; father of three; five grandchildren; one rescue granddog.

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Chapter 36 of the book Attack of the Fifty States
Okies in Muskogee
"Attack of the 50 States:Oklahoma" by Bill Schott

Oklahoma became a state in 1907 during the Teddy Roosevelt 
Administration. Sooners were settlers who had raced into the 
territory to stake claims prior to statehood. 

"Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain." 
The Broadway show's theme song became Oklahoma's state 
song in 1956. 

The first time I was in Oklahoma I was in the backseat of the now infamous family car on the third turn of the Schott Derby. Our family was heading east on Will Rogers Highway, otherwise known as Route 66. We had left New Mexico, crossed the top of Texas, and eventually plowed through the Sooner State. I only recall it because I still watched reruns of the television show, Route 66, when it appeared on Channel 50, the Canadian station.

Since my dad was in the automobile building business, this highway was significant as an artery which was developed to allow people to cross America in cars. Also, Will Rogers was still a familiar name in entertainment, as he was a sort of Mark Twain for the southwest. "I never met a man I didn't like." was his motto. His friendship with Wiley Post is a story too big for this Attack of the 50 States segment.

The next time I was in Oklahoma was for my military occupational specialty (MOS) training at Fort Sill. I was trained in Artillery Ballistic Meteorology. I was a bit of an oddity as the only Marine in the class. The soldiers were asking me endless questions about boot camp, as they figured it must have been grueling. At that point in my career, I assumed all training was the same. It definitely was not.

I graduated that school and went to my first duty station at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Within a year, I was back in Oklahoma to take an electronics maintenance class. In the Marines, units hated to send equipment out for repair because of the long down time. So, they sent operators back to be trained in electronics to prevent that from slowing down firing missions.

While I was there I visited the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge with a couple other Marines. We were young and foolish and thought it was funny to throw rocks at a buffalo, which was lying in a huge puddle in an opening. 

One of the other sergeants told us that the most the bison would do would be to pretend to charge. He informed us that this is where the term 'Buffaloed' comes from. 

Well, he charged and the sergeant I mentioned ended up behind a tree that the buffalo was continually head-butting to get to him.  Eventually it lost interest and we all left to find Meers, a famous hamburger place.

It was a shack, but it served foot-wide 'beefalo' burgers, which were made from bison crossed with longhorn cattle. I guess they were good.   We also went, the next weekend, to Medicine Park and ate at the famous Old Plantation Restaurant. You could order a huge steak that had been butchered that day, or a catfish meal made from fish you watched being hauled out from a man-made stream. Rustic to the max, with all the trappings that were there when the place was opened by a famous rodeo rider back in the 1920s.

Because meteorolgy and geological survey were in the same unit, cross-training was allowed so as to maximize the potential of the men in the unit. I was sent back to Fort Sill to attend the Fire Direction Course. This was an artillery target location and liquidation class which taught students how to locate areas on a map, plot their location, plot the coordinates of those spots, and the artillery pieces within a battery (company).  Then the unit computed gun data to send a huge bullet to an enemy location to go boom. Top of my class, of course.

When I had done all I could in Camp Lejeune, as a meteorologist and surveyor, I was transferred to Oklahoma as a meteorological instructor. I had been divorced and remarried within the last couple years, so I went there with my new wife and our one year old son, Adam. 

My daughter, Katie, was born at Reynolds Army Hospital. Therein lies a tale of medical inepitude and apathy which marks that evolution in maternity as a stunning argument for justifiable homicide.

The Army is socialized medicine at its worst. A woman will see a "doctor" during her pregnancy at various times. It will likely never be a gynecologist, or more than a physcian's assistant. The maternity ward had a sign posted that stated: YOU ARE NOT SICK. DO NOT EXPECT SPECIAL TREATMENT.  That was a policy they maintained as I felt they could not have cared less about my wife on her delivery day.

The nurses were never around, I found them smoking outside a door when my wife was crying for an epidural. It was always too soon until, in their extended absences, it was too late, and she had to give birth without it.

The doctor was unavailable, so they snagged an intern out of the hall to deliver my daughter. In recovery, the nurse told my wife that when she had rested for an hour, then she could walk down the hall, get sheets, and change her own bed. After that they brought our daughter and expected us to leave as soon as possible.

It was time to stop making babies so I had vasectomy while there. That's a story for another time.

While there I took advantage of the extra time not in the field to go to night school. I was able to finish an Associate Degree in Science at Cameron University before my three year tour there was over.

I requested to extend my stay in Oklahoma for another year, but I was instead given orders to Okinawa, Japan. So, I sent my family off to stay with her folks in Michigan, while I went on my one-year tour of the Pacific, which included a visit to Kuwait in a war called Desert Storm.



The book continues with Attack of the 50 States: Oregon. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.
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