When most people think of Hawaii, they think of a tropical paradise, but for my husband, Bob’s uncle, Butch Schulenberg nothing could be further from the truth…at least not during his days in the service. When we think of Hawaii, snow does not come to mind, but in reality, “It snows here every year, but only at the very summits of our 3 tallest volcanoes (Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Haleakala),” says Ken Rubin, geology and geophysics professor at the University of Hawaii. “The snow level almost never gets below 9,000 feet in Hawaii during the winter, but since these mountains are taller than 13,000 feet, 13,000 feet, and 10,000 feet, respectively, they get dusted with snow a few times a year. It rarely stays on the ground for more than a few days though.”
I had no idea, as I’m sure many of you could also say. I don’t know if Butch knew what he was getting into when he and the officer he was driving for, went to one of those areas where there was not only snow, but it was cold…really cold. In fact, the only way that Butch could even begin to stay warm was to bundle up in his sleeping bag. He probably would have tied it all the way over his head, if he could breathe that way. It was a complete shock to his system, as it would have been to mine. Being stationed in Hawaii would be the dream assignment, and here Butch was…in the snow. In fact, I can just hear him telling his parents, “It’s freezing here!!” The thought is almost laughable, or would have been if it weren’t so cold.
Butch told my husband, Bob and me several stories about his driving days in the service, when we were there for a visit about a month ago. It was interesting to listen to the details that a driver would have known about the situations that the company would have been in…and probably a lot of responsibility too. Much of the details of the movements of the company and the battles they engaged in, were classified, and to say anything at the time could have put people in danger or get them killed. A good driver would have known when to talk and when to keep quiet. Butch was a good driver, and well respected. I am proud of his service. Thank you Butch. Today is Butch’s birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Since my oldest grandson, Chris Petersen turned eighteen last February 28th, and had to register for the draft, and my grandson, Caalab Royce will be registering in June after he turns eighteen this year on the 25th, I have wondered a little more about the making of a soldier…in any war. Since the draft is something that almost never happens these days, it was not a real priority in my mind, however. Then I started looking at my Aunt Bertha Hallgren’s journal again, because she was such a great writer, and because I haven’t referred to her work in a while. I stumbled across a reference she makes to the experience of a World War I soldier. Since my grandfather, George Byer fought in World War I, that part of her journal made me curious.
The story Aunt Bertha wrote was funny to a large degree, although I doubt that the soldier she wrote abut thought it was funny exactly. I suppose that as a eighteen year old boy, at a time when education was not always the top priority, he did not always understand the new to him words that were being thrown at him, being asked if you were an alien, might make you wonder if they were asking if you were sick right now, but the humor was somehow lost on the officer who was asking the questions. And when he asks you your name, and he has known you all your life, because he’s your milkman, it might be hard not to say, “You know my name.” Nevertheless, you must quickly learn that knowing you in life and knowing you in the military are obviously two very different things. You had better just answer the question and not act like a smart-aleck.
After getting past the registration area, and getting the feeling that these guys didn’t expect you to make it past the first week in combat, you might start looking for the door, and wondering if there was any way to make them believe you were only seventeen after all. Nevertheless, the line moved forward, and there was no way to get out of it, so you followed along. At some point you were issued a uniform, which the soldier Bertha was talking about described as one of two sizes…too small or too big. He pointed out that the pants were so tight that he didn’t dare sit down, and the shoes were so big that he could “turn around twice, and they didn’t move”. Sadly, I think that is the way it was during World War I. A guy could probably deal with the loose fitting clothes, but those tight ones wouldn’t last long. And to make matters worse for our particular soldier, he passed an officer, who immediately asked him if he had noticed the uniform the officer was wearing. In his typical eighteen year old mouthiness, and his lack of understanding the meaning of the question, our new soldier, asked why the officer was complaining. Hadn’t he seen how ill fitting the soldiers uniform was after all. I seriously doubt if the officer saw the humor in that.
After another mouthy session, the soldier found himself digging a hole…then being told to dig another one to throw the dirt into. I guess you can see where this task was heading. If our soldier didn’t figure out pretty fast that he needed to keep his sarcasm to himself, then it is my guess that he spent a lot of time peeling potatoes, scrubbing floors, and digging holes…when he wasn’t fighting for his life that is. As time went on, I’m sure he figured out that they didn’t care about his opinion, and if he gave it anyway, he was going to wish he hadn’t. While this type of soldier would not really make a great soldier, he would probably have made a funny movie. I’m sure he got over the need to be funny once the bullets started flying too. By the way, I really don’t recommend that any of the soldiers, who might be coming up the ranks, act this way. I think that while sarcasm in school might make you the class clown, and make you popular with your friends, because that’s what kids do, it will not have the same affect on your commanding officer in any way, shape, or form.
Our family has long been proud of my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock’s outstanding career as a police officer, first for the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department, and then beginning in 1997, for the Casper Police Department. Years ago, while working in sales, Chris found himself disenchanted with how that career was going, and saw it as basically a dead end road for him. He told my sister, Allyn that he didn’t think medicine or paramedic work was for him, but he had a desire to help people, and he really thought he could do so as a police officer. It was a big step, and one that my sister wasn’t sure she wanted him to take, but for Chris, it has been the best move he could have made. At that time, the family was living in Pueblo, Colorado, so they made the move back to Casper, and he began pursuing his chosen career.
Not everyone is cut out to be a cop…either because of their temperament or their ability to handle the situations that can some up as an officer of the law, but Chris was the best candidate for the job. He is level headed, especially under pressure, and at 6’4″ tall, he is a daunting presence to anyone considering the foolish act of resisting arrest. Even with his ability to strong arm a perpetrator, Chris is always considerate of their feelings, and often that is all it takes to calm an agitated situation without the use of force. I know this, because on numerous occasions I have taken the opportunity to ride along when he was working, and have seen him in action. I’ve watched him keep his cool, when the person he was up against obviously had a gun, and Chris was able to defuse the situation, and apprehend the man without incident.
Chris worked as one of the school officers following so many school shootings and other school related issues around our country. It made many parents feel much better about sending their children to school, knowing that the police would be there to make sure it was a safer environment. Before long, the Casper Police Department saw the leadership skills Chris had, and they promoted him to sergeant. Of course, this was not without action on Chris’ part, because to qualify for the promotions the department offers, Chris had to take a test, which he passed with flying colors. Chris did very well in the supervisory positions that being a sergeant entailed, and was so well respected, that he was offered the position of training officer. This led to the time when Chris was involved in recruiting and training the new recruits. Toward the end of his career as a Sergeant, Chris worked as a Detective Sergeant in investigations.
Friday marked the next step in a long and successful career for my brother-in-law, when he was honored as the newest Lieutenant for the Casper Police Department. His new position will place him in charge of the sergeants in Investigations. It is a position that Casper’s police chief has wanted to place Chris in for some time, and so expressed in his speech at the ceremony. Then, the long anticipated big moment arrived, when my sister, Allyn Hadlock, Chris’ wife, as given the great privilege of pinning on the shiny lieutenant’s bars and the new shield. The journey Chris has taken is a remarkable one, and we, his family are so very proud of him. He is looking forward to the next part of his career as a peace officer, and I know he will excel at it too. We all want to wish him the very best as he begins this new phase. Chris, we are so very proud of you, and all you have accomplished. Congratulations!! We love you!!