Skinny Dipping, Army Style
From past experience, I began thinking of my five years in the military in World
War II, and I can always remember some odd things that happen during that time. While
I was still a platoon leader in the infantry, we were sent out on desert maneuvers into the
desert between Bend, Oregon and Boise, Idaho. There are approximately 100 miles of
nothing but severe desert between those two towns. Needless to say, we experienced a
lot of maneuvering out there walking 20 or 30 miles per day in that awful heat. Once
every two or three weeks, they would give us a day off as a rest period.
We could spend that day doing about anything we wanted to do. One of those
days, instead of doing calisthenics, I took my platoon on a rattlesnake on. There was a
little rocky canyon close by, and we walked through this canyon hunting snakes. We go
over 30 snakes, and the man thoroughly enjoyed it.
On another day off, we decided
to go swimming in the Deschutes
River which circles out in the desert
east of Bend, Oregon. It wasn’t a very
large river, and it ran through a rocky
terrain and had a very swift current.
There was an interstate
highway, going from Band, Oregon to
Boise, Idaho. We drove our trucks to
the highway bridge over the river, then
turned off and went up stream about a
mile to go swim and get a bath. The
men just stripped off all their clothes
and jumped in that cool water.
While they were swimming in the river, some of the men noticed that a little ways
downstream the river narrowed down to about 15 feet wide between high walls of solid
rock on both sides. The current became very swift at this point. Some of the man went
to the center of the river and let the current carry them downstream between the rock
walls. Once they started downstream, they couldn’t get out until they floated all the way
to the highway. It was so much fun they walked back to where all the troops were and
did it again.
All of the troops followed them this time. They were having fun the whole way
and left the stream when they reached the highway. Of course, they were all buck naked.
When a whole platoon of naked men started leaving the water, the cars in the heavy
traffic on the highway began to stop. People started getting out of their cars to see what
was going on. That’s when the commanding general drove up. He had been on a trip to
Bend, Oregon and was returning to his troops.
In just a few minutes we had all the naked soldiers running back up river to put on
their uniforms. The general drove up to where all the officers were and, boy, did we all
get a severe lecture. That was our last time to go swimming while desert maneuvers.
O. W. Chisum @ 2007