Final Change of Command
General Bennett decided to make a big change.
One of his close West Point friends was Alexandar Haig - who was President Nixon's Chief of Staff. In a series of phone calls between Bennett and Haig, it was clear Nixon was 'in trouble.' Bennett thought he could help, to leave Carson and work in the White House. He left Carson so quickly, just promoted Brigadier Vince Gannon became 'intereim' commander of Fort Carson and the 4th Division.
As I heard the story Bennett became a custodian of the infamous Nixon Tapes. All that unravelled soon, Nixon resigned, the White House staff was dispersed, and the last thing Bennett did was retire to Alaska, where he had served before. He loved that state. He died there from an airplane accident.
The Army scrambled to find a new commander for Fort Carson, and it - I think hastily - appointed new Major General Hamlet, who had been an excellent repeat commander of aviation units in Vietnam. He was a black OCS graduate who learned how to fly. He knew nothing about the Mechanized Army and he was no man to continue the development of Carson or the Division as pioneers in the Volunteer Army. He did not last and was never promoted above Major General. He ended his carreer in the Inspector Generals Office at the Department of the Army.
Frustrated I decided it was time for me to get out. I had been at Carson 4+ years, had had four different Commanding Generals, through times of great turbulance.
I could have then, after having commanded a Brigade for a year having gotton to know the 'new' generation of soldiers and young officers - and having studied while at Carson leading predictions of the future of this country, I saw other goals I might pursue as a civilian. And those predictions - which in many ways became my 'Field Manuals' for running an Army base in the early 70s were Toffler's "Future Shock", "Neither Marx Nor Jesus", the "Medium is the Message" and Tofflers "Megatrends." Interpretations of change - and we were going through great changes.
When I was offered an opportunity to go back to the Pentagon, I said to the general running the Personnel Office, who knew my record
'Washington had become a great soggy log, floating down the Potomac with a million ants on it, all thinking they are steering that. Been there, done that. Change in this country starts at the bottom, the grass roots and main street America, not at the top. No, I am going to retire before I need to after my 27 years service - including West Point - service for which Congress refuses to credit against retirement, find a neighborhood in my nearby hoo me town of Colorado Springs - and if I can make it work during these times of great change economically, politically, culturally and technologically, it might become a model for many communities."
I changed command of the 3d Brigade to the officer who had followed me there. And General Hamlet awarded me my second Legion of Merit at the ceremony.
My Last Tribute by Soldiers
Soldier-editors of the Fort Carson 'Mountaineer' newspaper wrote this summary of my role at Fort Carson the day of the Change of Command ceremony
I was flown to Washington for several weeks in Lt Gen F orsythe's office - who was made a Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army working on the Volunteer Army. I was asked to deliver what I had learned pioneering the Volunteer Army at Carson.
Then I returned to be retired by the Army on the 31st of January, 1973.
To continue with my Military Years click…NEXT, Medals and Citations (1)