Posted: Jun 29, 2012 at 5:35 PM [Jun 29, 2012]
Broadcasting is a lively entertainment medium and a daily source for news, sports and weather provided by a simple group of independent idiosyncratic personalities.
I know, I was one and so was my U.S. Army roommate, "Babbling Bill Bingsley," 1972-73, at Fort Greely, AK. (You were safer with Bill and yours truly protecting the 49th State, weren't you?)
Standing in an early-morning, rainy Army formation at Ft. Richardson, Alaska, Babbling’s dark Foster-Grant sunglasses drew the ire of a superior ranked soldier who, inches from his face and without reservation, informed the Babbling one that his specs were not Government Issue.
Bill proceeded to do what came natural to the insane: with his right-hand he brushed it across the Sergeant’s face and uttered these immortal words, “Well, write me up.” (Or, should I say "immortal last words.")
Months later, after spending time in the brig and busted of any rank, his voice and face appear in the pristine air everywhere at Ft. Greely, Alaska over the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) outlet. Our signal went 100 miles to somewhere. TV reception was especially clear to the elk herd with their large antlers as antennas.
Ring! Ring! An important hot line telephone call early A.M. in the office of Captain Donald Cantrell, a helicopter pilot and, appropo to Army assignments, the manager of the post’s radio/TV station/newspaper, from the post commander, Col. Angel Torres. “Captain, where did we get last night’s newscaster, soldier Billingsley? He looks like he’s 50-years-old!” His observation was on target: compared to Bill, I looked and felt 18. I was 23.
As fun-loving roommates, Bill and I were rivals in creating the most novel practical jokes. After I tripped him, he would stare and point his finger at me and say, “Leslie, I am going to get you. And, get you good!”
One week when it was his turn to seek revenge, he strung me to the end, and I was forever looking over my shoulder and sweeping my bed for any Alaskan wildlife or large mosquitoes.
Finally, the suspense killed me, “Bill, what is your revenge?” He replied, “Just that, you were worried all week about a non-existent revenge plan.”
In the summer, the whole radio/TV/newspaper staff would square-off daily in a brutal croquet match on the station’s narrow side yard. What inhumanity to man! (No women present.)
As you recall, in croquet you can send an opponent’s ball into Kingdom Come by striking your ball against his/hers. Many a player, including Private Billingsley, found their ball in the middle of the dirt road (50 feet off course) running parallel to the station. “Leslie, I’m going to get you. And get you good,” Babbling Bill says smiling.