After Action Report
NCOs, Troopers, Civilians, Munchkins, and Canines (sorry, no canines this time...Gunny Daisy remained behind at Fort Mungo to guard our stores):
When writing an after action report (AAR), I always try to find a way to open the report with a big bang. Unfortunately, this time I have no "big bang." Why, you ask? Because Bob Haberman stole it...no, that's not true. The real reason...simple, I am literally drained after spending the best weekend of my reenacting career in Gettysburg, PA. Just think...we just came home after camping in Pitzer's Woods for two nights and three days and after performing the best mounted and dismounted drill of our unit's history. 'Nuff said.
But, don't despair; I still might have a few "small bangs" left in the rest of the report...
Before I begin my description of the weekend, I would like to address something that has been bothering me since Sunday morning. Namely, I would like to address the fact that we have a new member in our midst for less than three months who already possesses more nicknames than all of our members combined. I am referring to none other than The Tapp. Or, Mr. Universe, Pepe' Lepieux, AHRNOLD, Lou, Hulk, etc. I mean, how many nicknames can one person have? And, to add to this bizarre collection of nicknames, we mustnt forget to add the word, "Red" to the beginning of those nicknames, i.e. The Red Tapp, Red Universe, Red Pepe' (although this combo is also a name for a bizarre French act that is illegal in the states), Red AHRNOLD, etc. Why Red? Well, let's just say that Red Dave Mungo and He With Too Many Nicknames are eerily (and, I might add, scarily) close in perspectives. And, in all seriousness, thanks Eric for being so gracious with all this heckling. You are truly a great addition to our unit.
Now, on to the report...
Early Friday afternoon, Corporal HAZMAT, Trooper Ken Brown by day" Bag Man" by night, Trooper "I've never seen a Civil War medal that I wouldn't buy" Kesterson and I arrived at Pitzer's Woods. We had a difficult time finding the place because Corporal HAZMAT kept looking for Pisser's Woods. I mean, we were all over that park looking for Rangers peeing in the woods and couldn't find nary a one. Eventually, we realized that we had added our WV'ism to the name and were able to correctly locate the site. And, lo and behold, we were the very first troopers on site. After Cpl. HAZMAT did a thorough inspection on the sinks, the Mad Canuck Sgt. Poustie and his superior General Bev Poustie arrived.
After that, it was a madhouse of arrivals and departures. Eventually, the entire registered contingent of the Sixth OH arrived. Did you hear that? Everyone who registered showed up. Usually, our unit, like most units have last minute dropouts or unscheduled things come up. Not this time, every trooper who registered, arrived at Pisser's, oops, I mean Pitzer's Woods on Friday. Our total count was 18 troopers and NCOs, not counting civilians and Munchkins.
After a night of pizza, beer, and colas, everyone settled down for the evening. The only sounds heard that night were crickets, ghosts talking, [and other sounds].
Saturday morning arrived none too soon for most, especially for Bag Man's messmates. Everyone was keyed up to get on the horses and show the other units what we had become. After a series of changed orders, the time arrived for our first drill. We were assigned as the 1st Squad of the Second Platoon, with the Loudoun County Rangers being the 2nd Squad. Together, the two units mustered 25 Troopers. Our first drill went very well. It was easily seen that many troopers had put in time with their mounts before the event and that as a whole we had just participated in a unit drill two weeks before. Our own 1st and 2nd Squads were very well drilled and both did an excellent job.
Before proceeding, I would like to take a few minutes (OH MY GOD, here he goes again....) to recognize a few individuals....
On Friday evening, Cpls. Red Dave and HAZMAT were informed that they would be leading their respective squads for the weekend as their squad Sgts. (Mad Canuck and Trumpeter) would be performing other duties. Well, I am very pleased to report that both Cpls. not only did a good job of leading their squads, they did outstanding jobs. Thanks Dave and Aaron.
Also, I would like to personally thank Batman's Robin...err, I mean, Ken Brown's sidekick, Wingnut, aka Bobbi Bernatt. This was WIngnut's first event with our unit. Initially, she was only going to drill with us and then sit out the demonstrations. However, she did such a good job in the drill, I asked her (in my very persuasive way, i.e. threatened to force her to read every AAR that has ever been written for the Sixth) to take part in the demos. too. She agreed and did a great job. Thanks and welcome to the unit, Bobbi.
After the morning drill and a short break, we performed our first demo. It was during this demo that we realized that all Ohio and WV road signs must be assbackwards. I swear we went right on right wheels and left on left wheels but we must not have been doing correct PA right and left wheels. It seems that we were a bit discombobulated... which in some situations is a good thing, but in a mounted demo, is not such a good thing. Anyway, after the first demo, we all realized that all riders would require more precision. We took a short break between this demo and the second demo. During the break, I was fortunate enough to meet my first real outlaw...Ma Riley. Ma Riley (as in VT Amber Riley's real mother) was visiting the site to see her daughter perform in the demos. Field and Stream Riley, aka Amber, had agreed to ride with the Sixth Ohio for the weekend. She did an excellent job and was a true asset to our unit. But, I digress...Ma Riley was in camp and was weaving a story for several troopers about her latest crime spree. It seems that in VT, you are allowed to sit on tops of hills and pick off random animals and people. Ma Riley was describing a scene where she was on top of one of those VT hills with her 95 caliber, tank-busting rifle with 100X scope, looking for.... get this...a woodchuck. Yeah, I am sure she was looking for a woodchuck...just keep telling yourself that Ma and it might come true. Anyway, she was on top of this hill scoping out her next victim, when...whoosh, a bullet came flying past her. It seems as if another one of those lawbreaking Vermonters was on an opposite hill looking for their "prey", too. However, the story did have a happy ending. Only two motorists were winged and Ma Riley escaped to her lakeside home to cook up some good woodchuck.
The second demo went much better than the first. However, again, us Buckeyes and Mountaineers had a hard time telling right from left, and wheels from turns. So, we all made a mental note to go into town later that evening and pick up PA road maps. We thought this might help us with our confusion.
After the second demo, the unit split three ways to tour the park. Several of us took the short "Mungo" ride to the Round Tops. This short, 11-hour ride was uneventful; if you don't count the fact that we rode on every road in the park to get back to camp. Long story, short...we got lost and took the "shortest" route home, led by our infamous Red Dave. Speaking of, I wonder if Red Dave has any ancestors from the famous Kansas Red Legs cavalry??? Hmmm?
The other group went on the shorter, 3-hour ride with the rest of the cavalry bunch from PA. The third group consisted of the Munchkins. This group, led by recently demoted Colonel to Trooper Markijohn, went to the Round Tops to accomplish something that Lee and Longstreet could not do 144 years ago...take the Round Tops. And, I am pleased to report that they did indeed take the Round Tops, along with giving Trooper Markijohn the best Tai Bo workout he has ever had. For more information on this Munchkin victory, please see Trooper Markijohn's AAR.
After all the groups got back into camp from our short and long rides around the park, we went into town for some food, drink, and good times. Although I wasn't in this group, one group did seem to have a better time than the others. Specifically, on my way into town that night with Bag Man, HAZMAT, Medal Man, Wingnut, Carbine Oakley (aka Robin Shields), and Medal Man's significant, "I can't quit you" other, Donna, I noticed our Trumpeter running down the main street of Gettysburg. Behind him, about 2 city blocks and fast losing ground, was the entire Gettysburg Police force (all two of them). It was later learned that Trumpeter was blowing his bugle indiscriminately. It seems as if he was suffering from Post Bugling Stress Syndrome (PBSS...or for those from WV...the Peebees) and he felt the urge to blow his bugle every time the truck carrying him and his group turned, stopped, sped up, slowed down, etc. Well, eventually he was reported to the police as a public disturbance and when they tried to apprehend him, he blew "Trot" and took off running. That is where we came riding by in our car. Feeling pity but also encouraged by his selfless determination, I cried out, "Run, Forrest, Run!" which in turn caused the Trumpeter to sound "Charge."...You could say that I was a bit caught up in the moment. This story, too, had a good ending, though. The Trumpeter was picked up by Ma Riley and was taken to a Saturn car dealership. Seeing all the Saturns brought the Trumpeter back to reality and he put his bugle up for the evening.
All parties had a great night of dining and entertainment. That night, sleep was the first and last order of business. Well, it was for everyone but Bag Man and Wingnut. These two individuals stayed up all night talking about how to raise the Titanic from it's deep ocean grave. And, lo and behold, they did come up with a solution. (For that solution, you'll have to personally ask them.)
We all woke up Sunday morning to a chillier but sunny day. It was cooler because the wind was steadily blowing. In fact, it blew all night and caused some tents to fall down, e.g. He Who Has Too Many Nicknames and Trooper Markijohn...although the jury is still out on what actually caused Trooper Markijohn's tent to collapse.
With the wind still blowing, the troop rode out for drill to the lyrics of The Doors, Riders on the Wind no, thats not right. We went out to drill to the lovely lyrics of Medal Man singing a period Irish song and, in all seriousness, it was great. This time drill was not drill but a game. The Loudoun County Rangers described this game to us. Basically, sets of four had to ride stirrup to stirrup and catch the "it" group of fours without breaking contact with each other. This game was both fun and aggravating...and will be a game that we'll definitely be playing at next year's drill.
After the game, we had our first demo of the day. And, this demo went like the rest...fairly good but still we had difficulty with PA turns and wheels. As a result, Captain Dout asked us to be the lead, right hand platoon for the final demo. And, I must say without any bias whatsoever, this was clearly the best drill of the weekend. It seems that OH and WV turns, wheels and charges are less difficult to perform and maybe a bit simpler in execution. Bottom line, we looked damn good.
After this final demo, we headed back to camp to pack and leave. And, when we arrived, we were ambushed by the Munchkins. This time, the Hobbits of Munchkinville, were decisively defeated by throwing Oreos on the ground to distract them. While distracted, we flanked the small, but powerful force and caused their surrender. Soon after the Munchkins were paroled it was discovered that our Civilian Corps and Tippecanoe and Tyler Tapp, Too had completely policed the picket lines. WOW!!!!! Was this ever a lifesaver. These selfless acts saved all of us allot of time and helped us to get on the road quicker. On behalf of the troops, thank you!!!!
All in all, a great weekend. No, not a great weekend, but to most, the BEST weekend we have ever had as a unit.
Have a great May and hope to see everyone at the Boot Camp.