Ft. Riley, KSFt. Riley, KS


The Trip to Ft. Riley, KS
A First-Hand Account

        Some things don't come easily to mind.  One has to dredge in the muck and mire at the bottom of our memory.  In 1951 after completion of Basic Training, Advanced Basic Engineer Training, and several weeks of concrete construction at Ft. Belvoir, VA I was transferred to 5th Army at Ft. Sheridan, IL.  After 2 weeks at their 5422 ASU Reception Center I was reassigned to what would be my permanent company at Ft. Riley, KS.

        On August 17th in the company of 5 or 6 other young men we left Ft. Sheridan for Ft. Riley, KS.  All strangers to each other, the only common tie was reassignment to various units at the new station.  One of them had a car just off post at Ft. Sheridan and we had joined together in order to increase our available funds by decreasing the cost of travel.  The driver made out fine as we each paid him a flat amount for the transportation.  The rest of us also did all right since what we paid him was maybe half of the amount we had collected from the transportation officer for the travel.  Little did we know as we left Ft. Sheridan what was to befall us.

        At first we proceeded without any difficulty.  We took turns driving so that each could take a break and get some rest.  By the time we reached Missouri we were making good time, stopping only for "rest stops" and hasty stops at a number of White Towers (Local forerunner to McDonalds; can you remember them?) for bags of burgers and drinks.  As night fell so did a light ground fog that occasionally got thick enough to slow us down.  We were traveling down a stretch of highway (I have no recollection of what highway) when we broke out into a relatively clear area and quite a distance ahead of us we suddenly saw taillights spinning and tumbling off to the right. Upon reaching the spot there was gravel spewed across the highway, dust was in the air, and resting in a shallow swale down the right shoulder was a yellow convertible, upside down with its wheels still turning.

        As we all bailed out of the car and ran toward the convertible we could hear moaning and crying.  We immediately determined that the sounds came from beneath the car.  Apparently the two occupants were not thrown out of the car but instead were trapped beneath it!  Don't ask me how, but we were able to actually lift the vehicle until one of the group was able to drag the two people from underneath the wreckage.  While we attempted to help them, the driver of our car went for help.  He returned shortly and told us he was able to stop at a house several miles away and the people called for the police and an ambulance.  When the authorities got there and an ambulance came, the two injured persons were taken to a hospital.  After the police interviewed us and determined that we did not actually see the cause of the accident they took our statements and we were allowed to go on our way.  We never did find out who the victims were or if they survived or not.

        On our way again we finally arrived at Kansas City, MO.  Did we now have clear sailing?  Oh no, of course not, as we found that due to flooding we could not go any further.  We located the local recruiting office and they contacted Ft. Riley for us.  We were given temporary housing at the YMCA and told to contact the recruiting office each morning for further orders.  It must have been two or three days before we could cross into Kansas on our way to Ft. Riley.  On some of the roads it looked like we were driving between sand dunes.  Graders and dozers had cleared the roadway and deposited the spoil (mostly sand) on each side.  I was scheduled to report to the 2nd Loudspeaker & Leaflet Co. not later then August 23rd but it must have been 1 or 2 days after that until I actually arrived at Camp Forsyth, Fort Riley, KS.  An interesting trip, but one I would never want to repeat.


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Second Publishing:  27-Sep-2005 04:18 PM   -   Last Update:  25-Feb-2006 09:15 PM
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