“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham
We had the cream of the crop show up Memorial Day to perform the Changing of the Colors, out in front of the Hut. It was a somber ceremony respecting our flag and those who paid the ultimate price to defend it and all it represents. One gentleman pulled over and made it a point to shake every attending veteran’s hand thanking us for our service. I noticed many motorcycles and vehicles pass by looking surprised at our service out front. I guess for some folks it is about hot dogs and burgers.
Well, the flags have been retrieved, and our event leader Babo Carter deserves a big salute once again for running a great crew and logistics ensuring our community could see the patriotism all over the city and cemetery; honoring current heroes serving (Armed Forces Day) and past heroes serving the Supreme Commander (Memorial Day). Salute!
This week, I had the pleasure to interview a long time Hominy resident and exceptional soldier Louis (Lou) M. Hale Jr. Born June of 1947, he was named after his father, Sgt. First Class Lewis Hale. Lou joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Division famously known as the Thunderbird in August 1965. He was part of the famous 160th Artillery drilling in Hominy for years. Eventually, the unit transitioned to Infantry. Basic training was at Fort Ord in California. His initial training after Basic was cut short, as it looked like the US Army was going to ramp up manpower in Vietnam. Instead the Army, in usual military fashion, changed the plan and activated the Kansas Army National Guard. This surprised everyone as the 45th historically had always been the best and first to be activated.
We shared stories as we sat. I recalled being in the Oklahoma Army National Guard in 1975 as a young E-3. At summer camp at Ft Chaffee, AR; I was on guard duty on a back dirt road. They forgot about me, and that night at bed check realized the left me in the field. They came out and picked me up at my post. embarrassed. Lou perked up and related a similar story as a young troop told to go to the military hospital. He sat where they told him all day. Then at close time at 1700 hours (5 pm) they asked why he was there. He responded “Because I was told to sit here”. As young soldiers, it is drummed into you to do what you are told, follow orders. And you never ever leave your station when on guard duty. Ah, good memories (wink).
Well, Lou retired in 1980 as an E-6 accumulating rows of medals. The National Guard Achievement Medal, NCO Proficiency Ribbon, National Defense Ribbon, Army Basic Training Ribbon, and Oklahoma National Guard Good Conduct Medal to name a few.
Don’t forget our regular meetings, continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM (June 4th and 18th). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in May are still planned (if weather permits) and running starting around 0700 till about 0900. As always, much thanks to the crew for providing biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.