Below is an email we received from Galen Stallings, who recounts his time at Fort Ord. It is always fascinating to hear such recollections. At the end is a piece he wrote in 2001 entitled "Fort Ord Remembered." Maybe it will draw up some of your own memories... Enjoy!
My name is Galen D. Stallings and I had the honor of taking basic training at Ft Ord from 15 May 1965 to 18 July 1965. My grade was SP4 Galen Stallings, US56391258, MOS of 76E20, assigned to the 552nd TC (Sedan), USARV, Republic of Viet Nam.
My story there and subsequent Tours of Duty are rather long, so I won't go into much detail. I will attach a paper I wrote for an Army historian posted at Ft Ord called "Fort Ord Remembered" for you to read.
We were the first basic training troops in Ft Ord in two or three years due to meningitis. Due to that we had to wear a blank name tape above our name tape which identified us as Trainees, and we were restricted to barracks unless training. As a result I did not know Ft Ord at all. When I moved to this area in 1999 I began exploring the base and taking pictures so I could remember it as it once was. I have taken a little over 4000 pictures in the last ten years. My barracks was building 4446 on 7th Street or as we said, Up on the hill. The barracks with the ornate door frame with the poem on it is incomplete (this barracks is right behind mine). In Viet Nam the poem was recited as follows:
Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil, For I am the meanest son-of-a-bitch in the Valley.
I was very happy to see your web site as most of the buildings I have explored have not been barracks, so I have not seen much artwork. I have downloaded all of your pictures. Many are virtual duplicates of mine, but that is cool.
If you are still going through barracks and other buildings, I would love to go with you sometime........or anywhere on the base for that matter.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Photo by Galen Stallings.
Fort Ord Remembered
07 August 2001
My induction into the US Army was really ironic due to my
intense desire to leave home. At 18 years of age I attempted enlistment with
both the US Army and the Marine Corps in Denver, Colorado. Neither branch was interested due to my
height and weight of 6’, 128 pounds.
I was determined to leave home and I moved to San Jose, California in
June of 1963 and two years later at 20 years, 10 months, the Wyoming draft
board beckoned. By then I wasn’t
interested or ready, but what could I do?
12 May 1965 was my induction date and I shall never forget
it. Even though it has been 36
years I remember that day every single year. My induction processing was at Oakland California and I also
remember that day and wondering, with apprehension, what the immediate future
Processing at Oakland took most of the day and late in the
afternoon we boarded buses for Ft Ord.
The trip seemed to take forever and upon arrival we were assigned to our
barracks and had evening mess. As
we learned later we were the first training troops in Ft Ord in two to three
years due to meningitis and because of this we were assigned to the new cinder
block barracks on the “hill.” The
barracks on the hill isolated trainees from the main post. I was assigned to 5th
platoon, Company B, 4th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, or B43.
Due to the meningitis scare, we were required to have 8
hours of sleep per night (unheard of for basic training), and we slept with
every other window open. Also, due to the meningitis scare, we had a blank
nametape above our name and were restricted to barracks unless training. Ironically, two civilians died
from meningitis in “sperm” village during our stay. One platoon member died in his sleep but not from
meningitis. With every other
window open at night (of course my bunk was next to an open
window), the barracks became rather cold at night. We were issued two blankets and I put everything I could
find on me and I was still cold.
We graduated from basic on 17 July 1965 and it seemed to me I was cold
the entire eight weeks.
CG was Major General Edwin H.J. Carns, CO was Captain Cecil
Elder. Our DI’s were SSG Henke and
SSG Nance. SSG Henke always seemed
too nice to me to be a DI. Senior
DI was MSSG Lewis Montoya who always called us meatheads. I still use the term today.
At the beginning BCT was difficult mentally and physically,
but once you adjusted to it and became physically fit, in retrospect, it really
was not that hard. At the time
eight weeks seemed like it would last forever, and now 36 years have gone by
and I really do not where those years went.
I earned Marksman in train fire, but I am not sure how as
the rifle assigned to me would not “zero” in. Despite that, I missed expert by five points.
During the eight-week basic tour, we were taken to Camp
Roberts for weeks six and seven for the NG to allegedly train us…. Camp Roberts
was pure hell…extremely hot and the NG had no clue… However, we did manage to graduate from Basic on schedule in
July of 1965.
Because of the meningitis restrictions to base when we were
not training, I had no idea what Ft Ord looked like or where anything was.
After the base was abandoned, I began to explore the back areas and eventually
found my barracks. I sincerely
hope that my barracks does not become a casualty of the closing. I have found Ft Ord to be a very
interesting and beautiful place…the empty barracks stand as silent testimony to
the thousands of men who spent time there, good or bad. I play roller hockey at
the old Gym and Ft Ord at night is an eerie ghost town. Very sad… Even though I hardly knew Ft Ord while
there, I shall never forget her.
From Ft Ord I went to Ft Lewis in Tacoma Washington to spend
six months with the 4th Inf Div, Headquarters and Headquarters, Div
G5, clerk typist. I was earmarked
for reassignment to the 552nd TC Company (Sedan) for the Nam. But that is another story…