Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fort Sam Houston Vignettes

After Germany, I was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. I worked as the finance clerk (and did the Morning Report) for Brooke General Hospital's patients. For some reason or other there was a brief period during which there was no NCO in charge of this small personnel area, and the staff was managed by a First Lieutenant we'll call Jones. (I can't use "Smith" because that was his real name. Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha.)

Today, I can't seem to get a handle on his personality, but my recollection is that I couldn't get one forty years ago either. He was formal without being prissy or a martinet, neither particularly friendly nor particularly unfriendly.

During the time when there was no NCOIC, one bizarre incident occurred. It was part of my job to spend some time in the office on Sundays, nearly always alone, sometimes with Lt. Jones present, in order to produce the day's Morning Report. One Monday morning he called me into his office and accused me of not having been in the office at all on Sunday. I had in fact been in and could prove it in two ways: most importantly, the Morning Report was done, and secondly an enlisted man from another department had been in and we had chatted over a cup of coffee.

I pointed these items out to him and offered to walk down the aisle and get the enlisted man right that minute, but he declined, and much to my astonishment threatened to report me to my Company Commander to be disciplined for failure to report to work on Sunday.

"Lieutenant, you're going to look like a fool when you have to explain how the Morning Report got done. Incidentally, how do you think it got done?"

No response to that, and although he gave up on the idea of reporting me, he never backed off the position that I had not been there on Sunday. To this day I don't understand what was going on. There had been no incidents of any kind between us and I don't know why he got dug in on the idea that I hadn't been there.


One morning I awoke with some pain on each side of my groin. I went to sick call and the doctor asked me a few questions, among them whether I had a cat (I lived off post). I did, and he sent me to the Brooke Army Medical Center Maternity Ward.

A doctor there asked me whether the cat might have scratched me. I told him that the cat often scratched me, as we did a little friendly roughhousing. A nurse drew a little blood, they ran a maternity test on me, and I tested positive. This meant I had "cat scratch fever," and an antibiotic, tetracyclene, was prescribed, which soon did away with the infection.

I'm sure other men must have gone through this, but I don't actually know any other guy who has tested positive for pregnancy.

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