The 1964 Camp Hill Horse Show
This could really be a long story because it covers a time span from my sophomore year in the fall of 1961 to the day I graduated in May of 1964. I'll try to keep it as short as I can.
When I returned to LWMA in the fall of 1961 after my freshman year (1960-61) at Mount Berry School for Boys in Rome Georgia, I was very glad to be back where I had spent my eighth grade year in 1959-60. I returned with the rank of cadet corporal that I received at the closing ceremonies in May of 1960. General T. L. Futch (Commandant of Cadets, 1959 -1967) assigned me to an assistant squad leader in the first platoon of "A" company commanded by cadet captain David Lampe ('62). That meant I had to live on the second floor of Russell Hall and I was to be the assistant to cadet S/Sgt. Robert L. Rozelle ('64). This was fine with me because Bob was a classmate of mine who I knew from our eighth grade days.
Some of the other cadets, who had started the year of 1960-61 did not know me, and did not understand how a "new" (to them) cadet could start out with two stripes. That was their problem, not mine. They were "new" to me too. What skipping the 9th grade and going to MBSB did for me was put me one year behind my classmates in rank for two years. (Another long story!)
Anyway, Bob Rozelle had taken over as the "Crack Drill Platoon" leader the year before. As the new school year started and we taught the new cadets how to drill, Bob asked me if I wanted to be on the drill team. All the reasons why I did join have faded into the past, but I'm glad I joined what was later to become known as "The Silver Rifles".
Part of the special dress uniform we had for the drill team was a pair of thin white cotton gloves. These were only worn when drilling before an audience or in a parade. We usually performed at half time during the Homecoming football game and in parades throughout the state of Alabama. After a performance the white gloves would always have some amount of brown and black gun oil left on them. Bob told us never to send the gloves to the laundry with our other dirty clothes, because we would only get one glove back or they might be in the laundry when we needed them. He then proceeded to show us how to wash the gloves. You just put them on, grab a bar of soap and "wash" your hands in the bathroom sink. Believe it or not, this worked fine. All you had to do then was hang them up somewhere in your room to dry.
The 1963-64 Silver Rifles.
Far Left - Robert L. Rozelle ('64)
(Platoon at Right Shoulder Arms - Forward March.)
Front Row (L-R) - Charles Sweatt ('64), BVB, Charles Drawdy ('64)
Far Right - Dan Ttius ('66) with flag.
Photo from Mrs. Dorothy (Gabbett) Moore ('54)
in the Tallapoosa Hall Alumni Office.
Now we jump forward in time to May of 1964...
Bob is still the Silver Rifles team leader and I'm still on the team and it's two weeks before our graduation. M/Sgt. O. E. Wadkins, our Assistant Commandant and Drill Team Advisor, somehow arranged for us to perform for the Camp Hill population at the upcoming (of all things!) Camp Hill HORSE SHOW! It was to be held on the Camp Hill High School football field and we were to perform about half way through the show.
Bob thought this was the stupidest thing M/Sgt. Wadkins ever came up with, and told him so. He thought the drill team had worked hard all year and needed the time off before the end of the year. (Sometimes we would perform during graduation weekend, but I don't think we did in 1964.) Bob quit the team then and there, and I was asked to take over as leader for that one show. I never did take command because of my own misunderstanding about the reason Bob was not going to be the commander for that show. Charles M. Cook ('64), my roommate at the time, took over command of the drill team and I remained just a member*. There were other things going on at the time that led to my misunderstanding. If I had known then what I know now about Bob's quitting, I probably would have taken command for the horse show.
I have heard from Paul Tate (LWMA Faculty, 1965 - 1983) and John Strunk (LWMA Faculty, 1967 - 1974) in the recent past that the LWMA band and drill team marched in a Camp Hill Christmas Parade that was held during the years after I left. That sounds like a much better way to perform before the Camp Hill population than at a horse show. Let me explain why that could be.
It was bad enough to have to march behind horse units in parades, like the Mardi Gras parade in Mobile or the Veteran's Day parade in Birmingham, but to perform during half time at a HORSE SHOW! I knew we would all have horse manure all over our shoes and the straps that held our white leggings (or spats) to the bottom of our shoes, but I had no idea what was in store for me personally.
That night we rode the bus down to Camp Hill High School and Col. Kenneth Johnson, another staff member, took our M1903 Springfield rifles in the trunk of his car. I really don't remember if we had much time before our drill to look around or if we just fell in and went to it. But I do remember about half way through the performance, Charles called for us to execute the "twenty-one count manual of arms".Three of those "counts" are:
1. Bang the butt of your rifle on the ground / floor / street.
2. Bring the rifle up to "Port Arms".
3. Grab the butt of the rifle with your right hand and move it smartly to "Right Shoulder Arms".
I think you are beginning to see what I was about to do... On count number one I banged the butt of my rifle down on the football field after it passed through a large pile of horse manure. Followed shortly thereafter by count number three where I got a big hand full of horse S__T as I went to Right Shoulder Arms! Well, I did not let that slow me down, as "The Show Must Go On". Believe me I had been hurt during a previous parade and that did not stop me. I know everyone on the team had been through worse, but what a mess that was! I was very thankful that I DID have on those white cotton gloves right then! I think we put on good show in spite of the problems.
The next vivid memory I have is on High School Avenue in front of Camp Hill High. We were loading our rifles back into Col. Johnson's car and I was thinking how lucky I was NOT to be the cadet who had to clean those guns! At this point I also thought that I'd never need those gloves again, and I sure as hell was not going to wash my hands in them as I had for three years. So I carefully pulled them off and threw them into the ditch next to Col. Johnson's car. We had been given the option of staying to see the rest of the horse show and riding the bus back to school after the show was over or walking back to LWMA right then. I was pretty mad by then and never wanted see another horse as long as I lived. I'm sure a bunch of us walked back to "the hill" (LWMA) in the dark, just glad that drill was over with.
My next performance parade was the Veteran's Day parade in Atlanta, GA on 11/11/64 as a member of the "Blue Ridge Rifles" drill team from North Georgia College in Dahlonega, GA. I know I would never have been there had I not been a member of the Silver Rifles for three years.
*During the 1963-64 school year I was the highest-ranking cadet on the drill team. Bob Rozelle and Charles Cook were both cadet first lieutenants and I was a cadet captain. BUT, on the drill team there was no rank. It was just the leader and the members. This was an all volunteer unit made up of students from all the other companies.
I have three postscripts I feel I must add here:
#1. 05/29/64. The first is a mystery. I see by the picture below taken on the night of May 29th 1964 that I'm wearing white gloves! This is after I discarded my old ones. How did I get the gloves in the picture? I don't remember if I bought new ones or if I just borrowed them from someone. After all Sammy Chambers borrowed my parade Sam Browne and cadet sword for the senior lead out.
Tallapoosa Hall - Graduation Dance May 29, 1964
Miss Sarah Whitaker of Columbus, GA and BVB.
Cadets on Left - Front to Back
Victor Rumore ('65)
Louis E. Smith ('65)
John D. Pharris ('65)
Kenneth J. Jordan ('66)
Cadets on Right - Front to Back
John M. Allen ('66)
Henry Fisher ('64)
Sammy Chambers ('65) (unseen)
Charles E. Pope, Jr. ('65)
(I see from the LWMA Centennial History book that Henry Fisher did not go on to graduate, so I assume his last year at LWMA was 1964.)
#2. 10/23/99. After I went to Homecoming in October of 1999 I went to see Earl Langley (CHHS '64) in Camp Hill and he took me around to see Camp Hill High School. I could remember the football field somewhat, as I think I might have went to a real football game there during my years at LWMA. The ditch in front of the old abandoned High School building seemed really familiar! As I told the "White Glove" story to Earl, he said that I should put it up on the web. I hope you found some fun in it.
Camp Hill High School
- 1959 -
By Bill Eaton (CHHS '60)
Map of Camp Hill - By Bill Eaton (CHHS '60)
The Football field is to the east (right) of CHHS.
The entrance to LWMA is the forked road at the top left.
#3. 1/10/2000. Names used in this story:
- Brigadier General T. L. Futch (Commandant of Cadets, 1959 -1967)
- David Lampe ('62)
- Robert L. Rozelle ('64)
- Charles Sweatt ('64)
- Charles Drawdy ('64)
- Dan Ttius ('66)
- Mrs. Dorothy (Gabbett) Moore ('54) (LWMA Alumni Association Executive Secretary)
- M/Sgt. O. E. Wadkins (LWMA Assistant Commandant and Drill Team Advisor.)
- Charles M. Cook ('64)
- Paul Tate (LWMA Faculty, 1965 - 1983)
- John Strunk (LWMA Faculty, 1967 - 1974)
- Col. Kenneth Johnson (Buildings and Grounds - Builder of the indoor and outdoor rifle ranges at LWMA.)
- Miss Sarah Whitaker of Columbus, GA.
(Her later married name was Sarah Pearson. She passed away in 1995.)
- Victor Rumore ('65)
- Louis E. Smith ('65)
- John D. Pharris ('65)
- Kenneth J. Jordan ('66)
- John M. Allen ('66)
- Henry Fisher ('64)
- Sammy Chambers ('65)
- Charles E. Pope, Jr. ('65)
- Earl Langley (CHHS '64)
- Bill Eaton (CHHS '60)
#4. Bill Eaton and Earl Langley were both in attendance at that horse show.
Believe it or not this story is true. I can still fell the butt of that rifle in my right hand after it came up form the ground that night! I later thought this story could have been titled "White Gloves and Road Apples"!
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