143rd AAA Gun Battalion - World War II
My Army 'Book of Memories'


143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 39

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Our first game was played under sunny California skies with Onderak pitching and "Ike" Pratt catching. At Muroc, with the dust almost blotting out the famous sunshine, we found that in our Communication Section we had another pitcher called Stanifer better known as "The Tazwell Twirler" the Communications Section also contributed "Gunner Choate" for heavy duty behind the plate. Both proved to be quite handy in their respective "chores" and with this added strength we won a few games. However, our best softball memories are of the Camp Haan days and shortly before we boarded the train for the POE. At that time, we won nine straight games. Stanifer winning most of them with his pitching although the hitting of "Pretty Boy" Shannon, Chuck Olzeski and the fielding of "Father" Petrucci and "Louie" Youngblood was near perfection.


Paris was the location of our first four games. We wound up the season by beating the French team of La Garrene ( champions in their league ) in a decisive match for which we were each awarded a very fine medal. Dick Olson and Rudy Vazmina collaborated under or rather, alongside of the basket to rake in plenty of points. Our "Young Skyscrapers" six feet five used their altitude to good advantage but they are never-the-less suprisingly agile for the amount of weight they carry on the gym floor. In the same game, the fine passing and shooting of "Pop" Davison, "Carrot top" Carpenter, "School Boy" Rehage and Shannon plus the scintillating performance of Stanifer and Olzeski all added up to the decisive victory. Our record of 24 wins against 8 losses for the season attests to the consistency of their performance.


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