Wednesday, June 09, 2004

President Ronald Reagan- My Recollections of an Army Assignment

I served a short but interesting 2 year tour of service in the U.S. Army MP Corps. After my training at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, I was assigned to permanent duty at Ft. Carson Colorado, near Colorado Springs and NORAD. The very first duty that I had at Ft. Carson, just a couple of days after moving in, was to participate in the presidential security detail for President Ronald Reagan.

The president was to visit the Air Force Academy which was also located in Colorado Springs, and Army MP's were called upon to supplement the Air Force security personnel and the Secret Service. It was an exciting duty for a young recruit, one who was still trying to acclimate to the altitude and army life. It was a memorable couple of days done in traditional army style (with no sleep). I was impressed by the complexity of the security plans and the number of personnel and equipment that was utilized on this routine travel stop by our president. My specific task involved securing a rooftop from enemy snipers. None were permitted to set up shop there, and none did.

Later in my tour of service I helped with the security detail for the Arch Duke of Luxemburg. It was fun and memorable as well, but performed after a good night's sleep. My most difficult task on that day was to handle an unruly photographer in such a way as remove him from the area I was to secure, but without making a spectacle. Unbeknownst to me, I was being watched by my Command Sergeant Major at that moment. His comments about that incident were the only positive words I ever heard him say..."good job". Actually, he followed the chain of command and said it to my sergeant, not to me.

On those duty assignments, I was well trained, briefed, and comfortable with my assigned tasks. I do remember times however, earlier at Ft. McClellan where I was twice given an assault rifle and a loaded magazine and assigned to guard duty. First I guarded a payroll, and on the second occasion I guarded a ammo storage area. This was simple enough, except for the fact that I had never previously seen or touched an M-16. Thank goodness those assignments turned out to be uneventful as well.

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