General comes to visit new units

Published 12:18 am Monday, February 4, 2013

During part of my active duty career, I was assigned as an advisor to Army Reserve units in Baton Rouge, which included evaluation duty at Fort Chaffee, Ark., during the summer months.

Every two weeks a new set of Army Reserve and National Guard units would arrive from Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas or Oklahoma for the annual training.

Fort Chaffee had a set of range regulations which included the following, no garbage, trash or debris would be left on the reservation, but would be delivered to the post sanitary dump where it would be covered by a bulldozer each day.

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During the time units from Louisiana were there, the Fourth Army Commanding General from San Antonio, Texas, Fort Sam Houston, came for a visit, and he wanted to see the units in the field.

He was assigned a helicopter and was flown around the reservation to observe the units in field location.

There weren’t many trees on the reservation but one valley had a nice timber sheltered campsite, which was used as a spot to locate a field kitchen. True to nature, General Dunn wanted to check out the coffee, so he instructed the pilot to land on a clear spot on the ridge nearby and proceeded down the slope toward the kitchen. As he proceeded, he came upon a solider digging a hole nearby. General Dunn demanded, “What are you doing, soldier?”

This young lad replied, “I’m digging a hole. Can’t you tell?”

“What’s your name, solider?”

“I’m Pierre LeBlanc from Thibodeaux, La. What’s yo’ name?”

“I’m General Dunn from Fourth Army.”

The young man leaped out of the hole, grabbed the general by the elbow and said, “Sir, you better hide you’re a__. The first sergeant’s been lookin’ for you all day!”


Erle Drane is a Natchez resident and U.S. veteran who is working to collect stories like this one from veterans for publication in a book. He can be reached at the Natchez Veterans Service Office in the City Council Chambers.