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.

The Duck

Fort Sheridan, Illinois
Winter 58 - Summer 59
Submitted by: Richard C. McGee

While stationed at Fort Sheridan, Ill we seemed to have plenty of time on our hands. When we were not inspecting for the 5th Region Command Materiel Maintenance Inspection Team, or performing spot checks on Post, there was not a whole lot to do. I was assigned to the Post Ordnance Office and worked for a Captain whose name has slipped my mind. He did encourage work in the Missile Maintenance Shop but that was a civilian run shop and they had everything under control. So some of us looked elsewhere to keep us busy. We located in the salvage yard two WW II DUKW's (pronounced Ducks). I'm not really familiar with this vehicle except to say it was a Amphibious 2 1/2 Ton Combat Truck that was capable of traveling on land and with a shift of a couple levers it was water ready. We received permission from the Post Ordnance Officer to draw these out of salvage and have them rebuilt. It was our intent to form a rescue team to assist Fort Sheridan and local authorities for the occasional mishap from boats or aircraft in Lake Michigan. We naturally had to take the Duck out on many trial runs to insure seaworthiness. On one such occasion we had both ducks out when one of them lost a fan belt. Without the fan belt they were dead in the water and started taking on water. Someone managed to put together a towrope and what seemed like hours finely got the lame duck back to shore. Both vehicles were put in the automotive shop and from the two, they made one good one. The Post Automotive Shop did a great job not only in the rebuild but also repainting it. The Duck was put on display whenever a holiday rolled around and drew quite a bit of attention. We did actually use it one night to answer a distresses call. A light plane had crashed in the lake and we were called to assist in getting the pilot back to shore. I can remember going down narrow streets and the tree branches occasionally slapping us in the head. The pilot, somehow, had made it to shore by the time we got there. Not sure whatever happened to the Duck. It wasn't long before my Uncle sent me a letter, my friends and neighbors had selected me for a special assignment - Thule Greenland. But to echo Charlie Hancock, Ft Sheridan was a very good assignment.
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