Ordnance Bomb
Ordnance Corps

Air Defense Artillery

The following was submitted by the listed author. The owner of this web site, Doyle Piland, cannot vouch for the accuracy of this article.

Inspection SNAFU
By: Allan W. Swank

     This event happened probably late in 1963. For three days our only assigned task was to prepare for some high level inspection, battalion at least. The 196 Ordnance Detachment shop in Worms, Germany was a beehive of activity, the ol' spit-and-polish routine. Most of us grunts were pretty much unconcerned with the inspection and were mainly concerned with keeping our own leaders off our backs and out of our faces, so everybody did his best to keep busy. Jim and I decided to test the theory that we only had to look busy. He and I each grabbed an end of a 50' cable (part of our prep was to wash, dry and wax the missile site cables we had on hand) and dragged it, first to one end of the shop, then back to the other. At one point, one of our leaders asked us what we were doing. "Dragging this cable down to that door." "Then what will you do?" Drag it back to that end of the shop". Seems inane but he left us to our inexplicable task. We soon got tired of that charade and moved on to something else.
     Since the missile sites we supported were so far away, we had a sizable fleet of vehicles. Our honchos assigned a place for each assigned driver to lay out his vehicle's equipment, including the two 12 volt batteries which we had to wash and polish, chains, fire extinguisher, etc.
     The morning came and so did the inspection team, three or four officers. All seemed to go well through the fairly intense scrutiny so we were eager for the final stage. On command we scrambled to reinstall our gear, hook up our batteries and stand by. Looking good! Another command and every driver climbed aboard to fire up his engine. Nothing, but clicks. Every battery was dead. Seems that the SOP we followed for displaying the gear had us set our shinny black batteries on the floor of our shop, which we did the night before. We learned that a battery will drain dead if left sitting on an earth-grounded concrete floor very long. Seems overnight was long enough.
     Machs nix.
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