Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Father's Army Pictures Part One -- Fort Sill, OK, 1949

This is my father, Louis Santoro (1928-1988), about 1949, in New Kensington, PA.  He sold his beloved black DeSoto when he enlisted as a reservist. He took all these pictures with his Kodak Retina 35mm, which I still have.
I know he did his basic training at Ft. Sill, OK, but I don't know where this was taken.  As there are other pictures in front of this building with the same guys who showed up in later pictures, I assume these were part of the initial army experience.  I wish I had the T-shirt he's wearing below.
The cool cat on the left is my father.
I never saw my father ever wear anything like this surfer T-shirt.
 My father always had a cigarette handy. The same buddies show up over and over.


AirBeagle said...

Hi ... fifth generation Okie here; was looking for some pics for my own father from late '40s/early '50s and saw these. They're wonderful.

The two you mention that were taken in front of a building you can't identify look very, very much like the Oklahoma Memorial Union building at the University of Oklahoma. The street number on the steps and design of the windows and brick/stone work are telling (the union is at 1005 Asp Avenue in Norman). The building was renovated in 1951 when north and south wings were added; when I was a student there in the early '80s, I think the diamond-paned windows were there, but have been replaced. Unfortunately that's just a guess. There are many buildings in this style on the OU campus.

It's highly possible recruits went to a central point like Norman/Oklahoma City before being bussed to basic. My father went in the air force in 1951 and went to Oklahoma City and then was sent to Lackland AFB in San Antonio for basic.

I positively do know the location of the other pics, since I've spent many happy days hiking/climbing/rappelling, etc., out there: Most of them were taken on the top of Mount Scott, to the north of Fort Sill/Lawton. Highest point in southwest Oklahoma, it has a road which winds around to a parking area on top. Great place to get away from heat in the summer, so people have been going up there since Geronimo days. The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge lies around it and has great spots for hiking, etc.

I lived in Duncan, 30 miles east of Lawton, and so these pics were very familiar territory. Great to see and thanks for posting!

Scott Santoro said...

Many, many thanks Air Beagle. I am very grateful for this information!