When I first served in the early 70's, after basic training (BCT & AIT), I was posted to Fort Hood, Texas.
My job was fairly easy, at least during garrison duty, since all it really involved was field training exercises and some classroom time and the occasional oddball duty. One day the platoon sergeant assigned us individual duties. In my case, I had a agreeable nature so naturally I was assigned to what we called "Bad Word" duty. It wasn't real Bad Word duty which involved cleaning Bad Word cans but usually a duty that no one wanted, but had to be done. In this particular instance it involved patrolling along a outer but fenced perimeter. I don't what I was guarding, all I saw was a cinder block building painted a pale brown, with no windows and only one entry, past the inner fence.
My job was to patrol half the distance of the diameter of that perimeter, the other half was deployed by another soldier. I won't mention this other soldier's name since I don't have his permission to use it in the telling of this story. So, lets call him "Joe" (not his real name).
Anyway, we were to be on for 4 hours, then relieved for 4, then back on for 4. As it turned out, our relief never came. So we two went from 12:00 PM until 12 AM, with no food, only what water we had left in out canteens and nothing else for 12 hours straight. Before you ask why we didn't call in, or go for help, I'll say this, we used the call box, that was located near the only gate. However, no one picked up, it just rang and rang. We assumed the call box phone was connected to the building. So we figured the building was empty. Another thing, unless a soldier is properly relieved he cannot leave his post under any circumstances (under a normal situation). We did use the bathroom away from each other, since there were no trees or bushes within the confines of out patrol area.
The building wasn't in the woods, but it was remotely located, and within sight of some other buildings. The nearest building was about 500 yards (1500 feet) away, with few people seen during the day. So shouting and waving our arms didn't attract any attention.
As night fell, the only light to be had was from a overhead light located near the front door to the building. I wasn't patrolling that side of the building, so I was in near total darkness and I shuffled my tired legs and aching feet forward as I continued patrolling.
It must have been near 9:00 PM (2100 hrs) when I heard voices coming from the front of the building. I was near the end of the far point of my patrol, so I began to run. I say run and no doubt in my mind I was running, but in reality I fear it was but a fast shuffle. As I made my way back to the front along that fence, the voices grew louder, not that the people speaking were shouting, only that I heard them more distinctly. Finally, I came within sight of the other soldier and some guy kinda dressed like a soldier. At least that was my initial impression. As I approached them, I noticed the guy taking to my partner was on the other side of the fence and being vert careful not to touch the fence. I found that sort of strange. Anyway, as I neared them, I heard their conversation come to a close before the stranger turned and walked away quickly, to be swallowed up in the gloom of the night.
Curious as to what the stranger had to say and why he was dressed in such a odd uniform, plus I was hoping to hear of any change to our predicament, I asked the other soldier what the guy wanted.
At first, this other soldier seemed confused. I asked him again what the guy said, only in a louder voice, finally, looking at me, he said, with this mystified look on his face, "He asked where the 12th was located."
I'd never heard of the 12th, I mean maybe as part of some other unit, but not as a separate unit. Neither had this other soldier. The lack of my guard partner's knowledge concerning the 12th didn't go over well with this other guy. It's why I was able to hear them, not that they were shouting, but their voices had grown louder because of the discussion. The stranger had gone on to tell this other soldier that although he was drunk, there was no way he would've forgotten where the 12th was bivouacked.
Apparently, it was in the very spot where the building we were guarding, was located.
I thought it was some joke, and I told my erstwhile partner that same thing. He disagreed, since the guy seemed so earnest. To change the subject, which had grown boring to me by this time, I asked about the stranger's clothing. As it turns out it was cavalry clothing. I commented on how I'd never seen it's like before, and the guy turned to me once again, looking up into my face, with more a haunted look this time. He explained that guy said he was from the 12th Calvary and that was their uniform. I'm sure I looked quizzically at him, with some degree of disbelief, for then he said if I didn't believe him then I could explain it. Well, his language wasn't so polite, but that was the gist of it.
Several days later, I ran into my once guard partner, and after a brief greeting, we parted ways, but not before I'd asked if the guy we saw that night had given his name.
Turning, this guy looked back at me, saying, "Clark McDonald."
Although curious, I didn't take it any further, and eventually the incident was lost within the 40+ years of memories.
I had forgotten all about the incident until I ran into a couple of guys at the VA, I'd known back when.
After a few rounds of "Wow! Great to see you!" and the sort we got to discussing our past, some shared and some separate. Eventually, the mysterious incident came to mind, and after explaining it to the guys, I asked if they'd ever heard of something like happening before?
No one had, but one guy suggested, with the resources of the internet somebody else might know. So I posted a slightly different version of the story with one of the other boards that some of the older vets go to, and lo and behold who else did I run into, but the very guy who had experienced the incident.
After catching up, we spoke of the incident, and although he didn't know any more about than I did, and in fact had forgotten about it for all those years, I felt like someone else might know more about it. So here I am, telling my story. So if someone reading this knows something, or has heard of this before then please let me know. I am most curious.
Now, Fort Hood has other interesting and even terrifying ghost stories that I've heard while I was there and after I left, but no one that I ever spoke with ever heard of my story. So maybe it's a new one, and one that was never repeated.
Ethereal beings of love and light, scary places and strange happenings
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