Veteran Salute: Artillery Meteorology in the Army and Guard

Veteran Salute

As we know here in Kansas, weather can affect many aspects of our lives, but have you ever considered how key it is on a firing range?

Veteran Roger Patrick showed us just how the meteorology section ensured units in the field artillery could hit their targets.

After his draft number came up during the Vietnam War, and he had a conversation with the Marine Corp, Patrick decided to go with the flow of the draft.

“They swore us in as United States Army,” Army/Army National Guard Veteran Roger Patrick said.

Once this first ID card was issued in 1969, Patrick was off to the Army.

“When I got to Fort Leonard Wood, I thought about becoming a helicopter pilot,” Patrick said.

The young draftee ended up in artillery meteorology.

“I thought okay, that sounds good,” Patrick said.

The soldiers would inflate a weather balloon, and then track it as it went up.

“We’d go up how ever high they were shooting field artillery and got the wind, temperature and density of the air, so they could adjust their fire,” Patrick said.

He said many artillery members thanked them for their information.

“Most of them wouldn’t even fire a gun, until they had that,” Patrick said.

He eventually got out of the Army, but he would soon be in fatigues again, thanks to a family trip to the Kansas State Fair.

“The National Guard exhibit, they had the equipment I worked with,” Patrick said. ” I got to explain how it worked to my wife and kids.”

The recruiter was so impressed he not only knew what the equipment was, but also how it worked.

“His eyes got about the size of silver dollars, seeing what my training was, and he talked me into coming in,” Patrick said.

He said when he got into the Guard, it was just a one year committment.

“It took me 24 years to complete that year,” Patrick said.

For doing far more than what he had signed up to do in the Guard, Patrick was awarded, even by a general in Kansas.

He said the most memorable was receiving the Saint Barbara Award, the patron saint of field artillery.

“It’s something not everybody gets and my years of dedication to the field artillery,” Patrick said.

His wife won the Molly Pitcher award for her support, and he says the two found a second family in the Guard.

“My commander actually gave him the oath, for enlistment,” Patrick said.

He was talking about this family trip to his Guard Unit, where the memory of a little boy and his biggest hero was captured.

Patrick was also certified to teach and spent time mentoring soldiers in the meteorology section.

He taught his own son a thing or two as well at the bowling alley.

The two have spent a lot of time over the years bowling, and Patrick even showed us his 300 ring to prove he’s good.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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