Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Military History in San Antonio, Ft. Sam Houston - Tues., June 2, 2015

Susan, Darren and I were going to walk at Ft. Sam Houston on Monday, June 1. I thought they were going to pick me up at the RV park and I waited in front for them. About five minutes after the time they were supposed to be here, I got a text asking where I was. They were at the start point at Ft. Sam Houston. I explained I was waiting for them in front of the RV park. We had a mix-up in our communication.

Both Susan and Darren are retired military. If I went through the Ft. Sam Houston base gate in the car with them, I wouldn't have to go through the base Visitor Center and do a 1/2- to 3/4-hour background check.

Anyway, arrangements were made to meet Tuesday and do the walk then. Meanwhile, since they were already there, they decided to go ahead and walk. They later told me it wasn't a very good walk -- it was hot, humid and the directions were confusing. They got lost quite a bit.

Fast forward to Tuesday...they picked me up at the RV park office and we zipped onto base with no problem. That's how easy it is when you ride with two retired officers: one Army, one Air Force.

The 10k Volksmarch started at the IHG Hotel on base. The first mile or two we walked next to the Parade Ground and passed the 1941 Eisenhower Quarters (where Colonel and Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower lived in 1941) and Krueger Quarters (Walter Krueger, commander of 2d Infantry Division and Third U.S. Army here, and Sixth U.S. Army during the Pacific Campaign during WW II lived here in 1939-1941). Talk about a who's who of historic military personnel.
Eisenhower Quarters (1941)
Below is the Foulois House. It was erected in 1908 as a Bachelor Officer Quarters for permanently assigned male officers during the period 1908 to 1968. It had other designations over the ensuing years, but the interesting part is about Foulois himself.

This facility was designated the Foulois House in 1981 in honor of Benjamin Foulois, pioneer military aviator. Military aviation was born March 2, 1910 when Lt. Foulois made the first military flight at Ft. Sam Houston in Army Aircraft No. 1. He enlisted as an engineer in the war with Spain and was commissioned for gallantry in the Philippines. He commanded air service troops and was Chief of Air Services AEF in 1917. He was the sixth person named to the National Aviation Hall of Fame as the first Air Corps Pilot.

MG Foulois retired as Chief of the Air Corps and lived to see his Air Service become the mighty USAF, and his one-hundred-foot altitude flight of 1910 expand to outer space. What a life!
Foulois House (Quarters named in honor of Benjamin Foulois)
As we continued our walk, we passed the old laundry services row, then came to officers row.
MG Foulois Quarters 1910-1911
Next we came to the grandest house of all, the Pershing House, named in honor of General John J. Pershing. In 1917, after his return from the pursuit of Pancho Villa, General Pershing assumed command at Ft. Sam Houston. While occupying these quarters, he was chosen to command the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. In 1919, he was appointed "General of the Armies of the United States," the only person hold the rank.

General Pershing's Quarters
More walking along parade grounds
Darren and Susan - happy walkers today
M-48 Medium Tank, 90 MM "Patton"
Another view of the M-48 Medium Tank, 90 MM "Patton"
From the parade ground and display of military tanks and cannons, we headed into The Quadrangle, the oldest building on the post. Built in 1876 as a supply depot it is the Headquarters for the Fifth U.S. Army. This was my favorite part of the Volksmarch. The Quadrangle encompasses eight acres.

Entrance to The Quadrangle

Here's why this enclosed quadrangle was my favorite part of the walk...I fell in love with the peacocks!

A strutting peacock
The colors are awesome

This place is just amazing. In addition to the landscaping, peacocks, ducks, geese and deer, there is a beautiful tower.

The Tower is 90 feet tall and measures 16 feet square at the base. It was built to hold a water tank and a watchman's station at the 60-foot level.

Cannons have been displayed
at the Tower since 1895.

In 1882 a clock replaced the water tank
One more peacock
From The Quadrangle our walk took us past the Gift Chapel which was built with donations from local citizens and soldiers. The Chapel was dedicated by President William Taft lin 1909.

We made our way back toward the start. Darren and Susan wanted to see the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Museum. (Bob and I had already toured it.) We spent 45 minutes in the lovely air-conditioned building learning about the part the Army Medical Department has played throughout U.S. History.

Many different types of vehicles have been used to transport wounded soldiers from the battlefield. Here are a few of them. I bet you've never seen the last one before!

Model T Ford Ambulance
1942 Willys MB (jeep)
The following conveyance is a litter load carrier. "It was dependent upon ground effect to keep it afloat, assisted by strong skirts around the periphery. It was known as a gemule (ground effect mule) and could carry a 400-pound load. The engine and fan were at the rear, and the 5 horsepower was enough to boost the platform up to 12 inches to clear obstacles. The goal for the gemule was to carry supplies into forward combat areas, and to provide evacuation to the rear. Gemule was probably built by the Vertol Corporation circa 1950s." (Quote from sign in the AMEDD Museum)

Gemule: Litter carrier, ground (experimental)
After the museum we finished the walk by passing the Old BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center).

After the walk, we ate lunch at Freddy's Steakhouse. Darren and Susan wanted to see "Tomorrowland" which Bob and I had already seen. I opted to see "Far from the Madding Crowd." Darren and Susan enjoyed "Tomorrowland." I thought "Far from the Madding Crowd" was a good period piece. The best part about it was Carey Mulligan. I loved her character and the way she portrayed her, although she was quite stupid in her choice of husband. I agree with the critics on this one, the audience knew who would make the best match for her long before she figured it out. It got quite tedious toward the end.

This was a great day with friends. I learned a lot about the military doing this walk with two retired officers. Travel Bug out.

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow what an afternoon walk. The General Pershing's Quarters are gorgeous and the peacocks too! Glad yall were able to work out the mix up and have a nice day together :D


Please let me know what you think, your experiences, and constructive criticism to make this blog stronger.