Rambling with ramblingbob, an introduction

Howdy! I have a Johnny Cash Album more than 45 years old called,  Ride This Train.  On it he ties the ballads he sings together with commentary about different parts of the history of this land.  So this is my invitation for you to grab a seat and ride along with me on my 67 year journey through life.  See the things I have seen, meet the people I have met, and do the things I have done, misspelling and all.  I've lived the life of a small town hick as a child, served this country in the US Marines (you know once one always one). Did damn near fifty years hard labor in a factory, while trying to raise a family, done 1840 Mountain Man, Civil war, reenacting, and played Cowboy all my life.  Somewhere along the line I'll stumble through all of this.  This is my first shot at this so it may seem clumsy, but at the urging of my Daughter I'm sure gonna give it a try.

How about I skip being born a second floor apt.  and jump forward 18 years.  I was in my second year of service in the Marines Corps.  I was a shop Marine a small arms repairman.  I volunteered for everything to get into the field and out or the shops.  Most of the guys thought I was crazy, but I hated being cooped up in a shop all day long.  One day the company First Sargent walked in and said "I need five volunteers, Put your hand down (last name which will never mentioned in this mess) I've already got you on the list".  Next thing I knew I was being interviewed and checked out by the FBI.  Two weeks later I was sitting in the middle of the Las Vegas desert waiting for them to put an Atomic Bomb off over my head.  After roasting my butt off in the daylight hours for two weeks I found my self freezing my tail of at 3:00Am riding in the back of a cattle truck to go squat in a six foot trench.  We were in the trenches for over a hour when we were told to kneel and cover our eyes with our arms.  The count down began from ten to one.  After zero was announced nothing happened.  After 10 minutes they announced "misfired hold your positions" –  they could not have dragged us out with tractors.  Thirty minutes later they told us to leave the trenches and board the trucks.  What we did not know was a truck had ran over the detonation wires and cut them.  While we were boarding the trucks a scientest was climbing the tower to disarm the device.  A week and a half later we were in a different area with a bomb hanging from a balloon five hundred feet in the air.  This time every thing went as planed, we were kneeling  in a six foot trench, Two miles from ground zero.  We were on our knees with our regulation Field clothes on, plus a sweat shirt, field coat with liner, a gas mask over cheap dark glasses, and a towel over our head under our helmets.  As I said we were kneeling with our forearm across our eyes and resting on our knee.  My eyes were closed in the bottom of that trench, but people, when that damn bomb went off I and two hundred other Marines all swore we saw red and the bone in our forearm.  They later took us down into the area of devastation to show us the results, but I now know they wanted to test us for radiation fall out residue, cause they kept checking us with Geiger counters.  The devastation was terrible but I will not go into details cause I do not know how much is still classified.  I worried for years about the radiation but my Dr. told me he gets more fallout reading X-rays every year than I got, so I have laid it to rest.  This was in the late 50's, and what we have today is so much more power-full, it's scary.  Well thanks for rambling with me tonight, will try to get a little more interesting at a later date. ramblingbob


7 Responses to “Rambling with ramblingbob, an introduction”

  1. Raven Says:

    Hey RamblingBob –

    Nice start on your blog and a great first post! You’ve definitely done a lot in your time – it will be fun to read about your adventures 🙂

  2. Steve lightner Says:

    Those were the good old days wern’t they Bob, put another Ramblin Jack Elliot record on and tell me some more

  3. ramblingbob Says:

    Will get around to more Corps crap later, mostly writting this for my daughters enjoyment and to introduce her to some of my past travels through this rocky life. Thanks for the feed back Bob

  4. Steve Lightner Says:

    Reading about your life brngs back a lot of memories,29 Palms, the Lighthouse,Big Jack.Corrigianville,Gilbert,and 8MM movies.

  5. Sheryl Says:

    Bob, your sister told me about your blog. This will be fun for your daughter as well as your other friends and relatives. I will probably learn some things about your Dad that I didn’t know. I will keep reading – this should be fun.

  6. ramblingbob Says:

    Is this the Sheryl that went with me to pick out a sweater for my sister for Christmas, who panicked when I stopped by my workplace cause she thought I was going to try making out?

  7. The life, times and adventures of Rambling Bob » Blog Archive » Back to Yucca Flats Says:

    […] I'd like to go back to Yucca Flats and the marine core one last time before laying the subject to rest.  When you set down to write you always forget some things until you read it over several times.  The first time I ever flew was out of El Torro Marine Air Terminal in Cal.  They loaded us in old C47's, cargo planes left over from WWII.  The one I was on still had a few bullet holes left over, maybe from Korea.   They piled our duffel bags in the middle of the floor and strapped them down and placed us along each side of the fusulauge in little hard fold down seats.   When they cranked up the twin engines the things shook like they were going to shake apart.  Rivits in the sides were popping like they were going to jump out.   The noise was intense, we had no ear protection and could not hear each others complaints.  Finally, with a final roar we were charging down the run way and with a jerk were airborne.  I twisted around to look out the window and saw orange trees and a pickup truck rapidly getting smaller.  I turned back around in my seat and rapidly fell asleep.  I have always had the ability that if I was not driving I could sleep anywhere.  I have slept on trains, planes and automobiles.  Also troop carriers and the back of dump trucks- dosen't matter how much they shake or how much noise they make.  People have always laughed at my ability to sleep under most conditions.  Hell I have even slept during night marches just one foot in front of the other with my eyes blinking open and shut, unless I was too scared to sleep.  When we landed it was at an Air Force Base in Nevada called Indian Springs.  It was the first time I had ever seen anyone wearing millitary uniforms that were shorts.  They loaded us into those semi-trailers we called cattle cars.  They had a row of seats down each side and if you were lucky you got one of those, if not you got stuck in the middle row back to back, your knees were interlocked with the guy facing you and in the middle the only support you got was the guy behind you.  This was about a seventy mile trip to the Army Base VCamp Dresrock, where we spent the next three weeks in tents in July in the middle of the Nevada dessert.  It was hot and we were for the most part idle and bored.  Our Slop Chute (PX) didn't open until seven PM, it sold stale sandwiches, sodas and barley cool beer.  We discovered the Army PX was airconditioned and had cold beer.  It was off limits. They had strung up a three strand barbwire fence between the camps.  Did that stop the Marines? Ha! Army MP's couldnt stop the Marines.  They wound up locked in a Dimpsty Dumpster.  The next night the fence was manned by two Marine Corps MP's, Not a Marine made it across the fence. Back to warm beer and sodas.  I had made friends with a Big Black truck driver from the motor transport group  that was a part of our unit.  I was a small arms repair man.   Jackie Robbinson was a big guy, a good six foot three, and just plain big, he had a roaring laugh like my german grandfather.  I really don't know what he saw in a skinny white kid but he liked me somehow.  He drove what we called a PC (personnel carrier), which is the military equivalent of a pickup with a canvas cover on the back.  Jackie said "come on" one night – we climbed into his PC and made a big circle out across the desert and came up behind some barracks on the outskirt of the Army camp.  Turned out it was the cooks quarters.  I was the only white face in a room full of older black cooks.  Jackie got involved in a poker game,  the old guys treated me good and fed me like I hadn't eaten in days.  I finally went to sleep until Jackie woke me and drove us back to our camp late in the morning.  We did this three times while we were there.   I lent Jackie money each time which he promptly paid me back.  We also had an old seargent named Jensen in our outfit who was with us on the field, problem was they classed this type of thing.  Sgt. Jensen was a WWII Marine, who had served in Carlson's Raiders.  Jensen was one of four old seargents in our outfit who had served with the Raiders.  They all had seen service in the Islands and Korea, all were messed up in the head and the Corps was just letting them serve out their time until they could be retired.  I guess a service battallion was a safe place to billet them for their duration.  Sgt. Jensen would come and wake me in the middle of the night and borrow two dollars from me while playing poker, never more than two.  He would come back in a couple of hours wake me and give it back. I always wished he would wait until morning, but no he had to pay me back while he remembered where he got it. I'll go back and talk about these old guys at a later date because they were some treasured characters also.   We had an old Seargent running the slopchute, that I had never seen before or after, he had massive shoulders and arms with veins that stood out on them like a weight lifter.  He told us he had developed them by doing issometrics. I had never heard of that before, but he would sit around and push or pull on muscle against the other all the time.  They gave us liberty to Las Vegas one weekend. We all dusted off our summer kakies and hopped aboard ten army busses and headed to town after a lecture about not talking about what we were doing out there in the desert.  Hell when we got to town all the people in the restaraunts and shops were telling us when and what we were doing – we didn't even know when the bomb was scheduled to go off and they did!  Almost every one of us were too young for the casinos or gaming.  Wasn't much for us to do.  There was no strip in 1958, just the old down town but the lights were bright, and I guess if the stories I later heard were right, the working girls worked overtime.  I had not started trying to drink yet so there was not much for me to do.  Wound up going back to the room five of us had got and went to bed in a real bed early.  Next I and several hundred Marines crowed into the only movie theater in town and saw Jack Webb in The DI, I felt sorry for any civillians in there with all the cat calls and laughter we experienced watching a bunch of actors doing what most of us had experenced a short while earlier.  Let me tell you no matter how good the movie, they can never capture the true experience, ask any Marine.    We returned to camp on that Sunday and settled back into our boring routine.  So lets get back into the trench one last time and close out this chapter of my life.  When they set off the bomb I told of the bright flash, but we heard no explosion at all – all I remember is a rumbling – I'm not sure if I heard or just felt it.  It started from where the blast occured and seemed to slowly travel toward us – the ground felt like it was tipping up toward the blast area.  The rumbling grew in intensity until it reached us and as it passed us by, it felt like we were going to be sucked out of the trench – rocks, dirt and dust was thrown down around us.  The rumbling and vibration passed us by and continued on past us.  Finally we could sense it coming back and more debris was thrown in around us as it passed again.  When it reached the center of the blast area we heard the terrible grinding roar everybody associates with the Atomic Bomb – once you have heard it you will never mistake it for something else.  Shortly we were instructed to leave the trench.  We observed that tall column dust, debris and smoke that was topped by a gigantic fireball of oily rolling smoke and flame – like an oilfire gone insane.  Then the mushroom cloud began to form.  Shortly three saber Jets flew through the cloud, I suppose they had sensors and collectors mounted on their extrerior.  Like I said we were shortly driven closer to the blast area.  And that is about the extent of that experence.  One side bar, My friend Steve lived upstairs with his wife and first daughter maybe four or five years later.  I was working an off shift and slept during the day.  Steve bought an album that started off with an Atomic Bomb blast.  He had built a large speaker box which he laid on the floor face down and turned it up full volum and set off that bomb.  I was sound asleep- you know how a sound can trigger instant dream?  I came awake in full panic, this was the days of early sixtys and the cold war was in full swing.  It took me a few seconds to figure what was happening.  I had a portable stereo with detached speakers on ten foot wires.  I grabbed my Victory At Sea album, cranked it up full blast and pressed the speaker to the celling by standing on a chair.  Victory at Sea starts off with nine inch naval cannons firing a bunch of blasts.  Steve's fiveteen month old daughter was setting on the floor.  He said she was bouncing across the floor with a startled expression on her face.  Luckly for us we had a landlady who put up with our crap.  Well my wife has Dixie playing on her PC's CD player so guess I'll quite and go shoot some yankees. adios! ramblingbob […]

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