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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Monday, October 19, 2009

What a difference a word makes

Today over at that excellent site,, James Lincoln Warren wrote how one word can make all the difference in the military. This is all too true, as I learned at the age of 18 when I was a radioman in a rifle company in Europe back in 1944. I was not thrilled with the job because the radio weighed 38.8 pounds and that was on top of the 65 or more I was already carrying. With that kind of load it wasn't easy to follow my system for staying alive: move fast, keep low, stay mobile. Hit the ground and roll? Forget it with that thing strapped to your back.
A big offensive by three infantry divisions was planned so the night before our battalion's code name was changed from Apple to Queen. The battalion commander was Apple 1, his executive officer Apple 2, Easy Company Apple 3, Fox Company Apple 4 and my company, George for G, was Apple 5.
By morning I had forgotten we no longer were Apple. For weeks we had gotten four hours of sleep on a good night, none at all on some. We had eaten nothing but field rations intended for short term use. We had hiked countless miles, fought in major battles and in general lived worse than any dogs. I should be worrying about Apples and Queens?
The time for the offensive arrived and passed and we were still there on the Line of Departure. To find out what was going on I followed orders and time after time called, "Apple 1, this is Apple 5. I have a message for you. Over." Nothing. Dead silence. An hour went by and nearly another when half a dozen majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels arrived. They did not have nice things to say to me.
Why, I have often wondered, if they were so smart did it take them two hours to get to the source of the problem? The offensive was a complete failure and they probably blamed me for that too. I had two words for them, but kept them to myself.


Anonymous Chet Headley said...

Dick, 19 Oct 09

As the saying went in the military, crap (not the real word) rolls down hill. That’s why it pays to have a commission; you start midway up and watch it roll by.

During my last tour of duty I came up with an idea to hopefully lessen the tension between the career-oriented sailors (lifers), whom I lived and worked with, and myself. Each time I became involved in a conversation regarding reenlistment and a Navy career I would say: “Yes, I’m thinking of making a career out of the Navy.”

This worked and served me quite well. When I reported aboard that ship I had 11 months remaining on my four-year enlistment. We operated in the Atlantic and Med. Had a lot of fun that last tour, lots of interesting people and places. In November of that year we headed back to the States for overhaul.

Once we were in dry dock (Hoboken, NJ) things wound down, five-section duty with relatively little to do aboard ship. I met with the XO and asked for a transfer to the US Navy Receiving Station in Brooklyn to await separation, about 40 days away. He gave me a funny look and said: “I thought you were thinking of making a career out of the Navy.” I replied: “Yes, O. U. T. out.”

Just one little word made a huge difference. I wonder if that was anything like Clinton’s grand jury testimony where he argued, "It depends on what the meaning of the word is is.”

Take care,


4:03 PM  
Anonymous Leigh said...

Gee, Dick, could those 2 words be the same Governor Schwarzenegger used in his memo?

I'm still chuckling about Chet's comment.

2:29 AM  

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