When Fort Sill was established in 1869, the Union leadership of the Civil War, which had ended only four years earlier, was completely responsible for its creation. U. S. Grant was president, William T. Sherman was commander in chief of the country’s military, and Phil Sheridan was the commander of the forces dealing with the greatest threat to the country militarily — the finest light cavalry in the world, the tribes of the Plains Indians. Literally dozens of forts sprang up throughout the southern plains of the country as a consequence of the Indian wars, but today, only Sill remains — the home of the Field Artillery and the site of our 2010 reunion.
Few of us, particularly those who are regular reunion attendees, are not strangers to Fort Sill. We are familiar with its heat, its humidity, and its dust, and we have maneuvered, “dined” and slept in it! For us, if we had any Army “home,” Fort Sill was it.
In June 2010 we had an especially good reasons to be present at the reunion. The dedication of one of the Post’s buildings to the late COL. Jack Callaway, under whom many Hard Chargers served, is one. The Association made five requests for building dedications since 1998, beginning with Seaman Hall in honor of LTG Jonathan Seaman, who commanded the 30th FA Group in the early ‘50’s. In 2003, Abrams-Snyder Hall and Townes Hall were dedicated for our three posthumous Silver Star winners from Vietnam, and of course Vernor Auditorium was dedicated just two years ago. Additionaly we were granted our request to rename Building #758 in honor of COL Callaway and the ceremony took place during the time we were there. The building houses the office of the chaplain as well as the United States Field Artillery Association. As Dan Gillotti has put it, we are “5 for 5” in getting approvals for dedications in honor of our past Hard Chargers!
At the June 2010 reunion our Association sponsored the dedication of the statue of Artillery’s patron saint, St. Barbara, described elsewhere in the website. The ceremony surrounding this impressive gift to the post from the membership of the Association was indeed a highlight.
At our reunions we count on the usual assembly of interesting sights and attractions that members such as John Hoetker always manages to find for the entertainment of our attendees. In recent reunions, we have taken the tram up Pikes Peak, been to Lake Tahoe, visited the site of the Oklahoma City bombing memorial, and traveled to the Jack Daniels Distillery, among others. We are Field Artillerymen...No One Forgotten - No One Left Behind. -end-