Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Vulgar and Uncouth Men

I'm not sure why but this morning I was thinking about all the vulgar and uncouth men I have known. About 95 percent of those I've been around are included on the V&U list because much of my life has been spent around soldiers, politicians and lawyers.
In the 21st century it seems compulsory to choose a No. 1 whenever you make a list. This is easy for me. Without question it was my platoon sergeant when I spent 14 weeks at Fort Benning during the summer of 1952. This was billed as a Weapons and Leadership school but actually was infantry basic training.
The sergeant, whose name I have luckily forgotten, was in a class by himself in the matter of V&U. If they awarded masters degrees in filth he would have qualified as the instructor. Almost daily we were forced to stand in formation while he rambled on about every subject imaginable. The capper came the day he talked about his wife. He had recently returned from Korea so among the other things he said was, "When I'm overseas I expect her to get that itchy feeling. That's OK as long as when I'm home I'm head hog at the trough."
Those were his exact words and they are forever engraved on my memory. Even the most hard-bitten career soldiers (every one of them vulgar and uncouth) found the description disgusting and a little more vivid than any of us cared to hear.
A week or two later the first sergeant (the top kick in military terminology) had us standing at attention on an athletic field. This slender, sneaky, shifty-eyed man was as despicable as a human being can be. He was standing on the cinder track that encircled the field when the platoon sergeant approached from the left. He did not look pleased, although I can't recall that he ever did, so it came as no surprise when he flattened the first sergeant with one punch. For several minutes they exchanged blows while 200 men supposedly standing at attention with eyes fixed straight ahead looked on with unconcealed delight. They ended up rolling in the cinders, still slugging away, until the first sergeant went slinking off somewhere.
The reason for this unusual display was evident to all: the platoon sergeant was home but had not been head hog at the trough.
A few days later we were hiking back from a day in the field when the officer at the head of the column found the first sergeant in a garbage can sleeping off a drunk. I was never able to determine why the officer had lifted the lid from the garbage can.


Blogger STAG said...

Good story. Guys like your top sergeant were in every military.

I had one a-hole who ordered us all to jump off ten foot tower as part of his idea of "parachute training". ten out of eighty men were hospitalized with broken ankles, torn meniscus's and wrenched backs. He didn't show up the next day. Never saw him again come to think of it.

7:03 PM  

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