THE DAY I CLOSED HERZO BASE - 2nd LT. John Caruso Jr. 
   Being a junior officer meant getting all the extra duties no else wanted to do, especially being OD over the weekend. The Bttn. had duty on Saturday morning so if I pulled OD on Saturday morning or Sunday your weekend was ruined. 

    The person who made up the roster was the Sgt. Major. He disrespected (probably for good reasons) junior officers and like Col. McFadden would ride around the base on a bike to catch anyone who wasn't doing their jobs and chew out their butts. 

   More than once the Sgt Major would pass me and not salute. One day I stopped him in front of the mess hall and asked him what was his rank.  He loudly said Sergeant Major and I replied he should be proud but understand hat he wasn't a Major and that I was an officer and he should salute me. He was very PO and I pressed him further by telling him to address me as Sir and to salute me before I dismissed him . 

   His plotted revenge was to ensure that I always got OD on the weekend.  I suffered for about two months never having a  weekend off.  It was in late January 1965, bitter cold and damp nights with little snow and I was OD again on the weekend.  Payday, that glorious once a month celebration fell on that day.  Everyone was anxious to get their  hands on the greenbacks and head to town
after duty hours. Col McFadden was away  and the base CO was Major Friedlein (sp?) but as OD after 430 I was legally the base CO.

   It started to drizzle at about 1600 hours and the road to town became a little icy.  Black Mercedes diesel taxicabs were waiting outside to pick up the guys who were heading out to the bars and restaurants.

    I sent an MP patrol to Herzo town and told them to report on road conditions. They returned about 15 minutes later and said "Sir, the roads are icy."  I replied since I am the Base CO I order you to "seal off the base." The MPs were stunned and I repeated, "seal off the base."  They went outside to close the heavy iron gates but they were stuck in  inches of asphalt that had been added over the years. 

    I told the MPs to get axes and chop the gates free and then to padlock and seal the front gates.  They did and I retreated in the Guard House and had to be protected by two MPs  from the many men who wanted to **** the  **** bastard who sealed off the base on  payday. 

    Major Friedlein came over and told me to open the gates and I said "with all due respect sir, as OD I am the base commander for the weekend and have decided to protect the safety of everyone by sealing off the base."  He was fuming but could do little.

    The next morning I ordered the gates to be opened as the new OD took my place.  Guess what – for the rest of my tour –about 6 months I NEVER pulled OD duty again.  I think  Col. McFadden told the Sgt Major never to put me in charge of the base again. 

2nd LT. John Caruso Jr. 8/6/00 

A Special Thanks to Paul Marshall for sending this so I could share with everyone.

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