Friday, February 22, 2008

Life History of William Ricketts Smith, Part 9: Gifts from God and Family Life

(Part 8 is here.)

Several months previous to this time, a detachment from our company had been assigned to service duty on a tank driving range where trainees were taught operation of tanks. There were several areas used and I was assigned to one of them. One evening as I had parked my truck and was walking to our shop, we had a building in an old rock quarry where we met to take a truck back to our barracks, and Sergeant Bass and one of the mechanics was trying to find a problem with the electrical system on one of the trucks. I inquired concerning their problem and the answer came to me immediately from thin air, which I later learned to be the Holy Ghost.

When our company was reorganized, the sergeant that was in charge of the electrical section was relieved because of a minor disability and Sergeant Bass remembered the above incident and I was given the position as Non-Com over that section and promoted to T4 (Sergeant). I know that this was a gift from God!

Living off the post was a new experience for me. West Point is about seven miles from Fort Knox and about 25 miles from Louisville. Durwood Sheets lived in Louisville and James Nunnallee lived in West Point. Durwood had a 1936 Ford 2-door and James and I would meet him each morning in front of the store in West Point and drive to Fort Knox and return to West Point each duty day, except some days when we had to stay on the post for some special duty. It was pretty much of a hassle trying to be a soldier and a family man at the same time, but I was able to spend some time with my little family.

Our house was small, there was a kerosene cookstove and an oil burning heater. Trudy had to walk downtown to buy groceries and do their laundry and carry oil for the heater and kerosene for the cookstove. A couple with a boy about our son's age lived in the other half of our house, so the two wives and boys became friends, which helped to pass the time.

(To be continued next Friday)

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