Our Family

These are some personal notes that describe some of my memories and opinions of the organizations that I served with in an Army career that spanned nearly 30 years. If you find this site by accident through a search engine you are welcome to contact me and share your thoughts. Thanks. My e-mail address is BradenClan@

Family Calendar
Family Album

US Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC)

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

CGSC was a fun time for the Bradens. To begin with, Fort Leavenworth was very accommodating to CGSC students. Checking into and out of the base, to include signing for quarters and later clearing them for the next occupant was a very smooth process, something not always found at every base. While there, we interacted with two groups of people, those in my classroom at school, and those who lived around us in the base housing, all of whom were also students.

    Neighbors: Bonnie and I had great neighbors in our government housing there on the base. We had court parties and tended to do a lot of things together.

    Schoolmates: The student body was broken into about sixteen sections of 60 students each. We stayed in the same section all year and tended to have section sports, section socials, and other section activities.

In general, the school was quite a change from the troop units in that it was a mostly relaxed time for reflection and fellowship. Of course there were the overachievers, students who were actively seeking to win the Marshall Award as the Number One person in the class of something like 900 students. However, most students agreed that it would look nice in their records, but that it wasn't worth the effort.

As to the sections and as might be expected, each section took on its own personality. Fortunately we had a really good section leader named Charlie Prichart, an armor major who was promoted to lieutenant colonel during the year. He handled the daily student announcements and other section administration. Because grades were involved, and by design every student was some type of overachiever, some sections took on a we-they attitude as regards the faculty members, who were military officers on a teaching assignment, just like I had back at Fort Belvoir. One day we must have been a little bit fiesty with an instructor, and Charlie pushed his chair back and stood up right during the class - something he never did. Charlie spoke soft and slow, and his words were something like this: "Fellows, we need to have a basic understanding of what going on here: Instructors have the responsibility to teach, and we students have the responsibility to learn. If we as students can stick to our business, then we'll all be better off." Then he sat down. Bam! No more student-teacher conflicts in our section, and we found out that the faculty soon learned that we were an easy and fun class to teach, so they always did their best for us.

Leavenworth was an interesting post. With the prison there we had the benefit of inmate trustees bagging groceries at the commissary and also mowing the lawns. Plus the inmates had small activities for vocational training such as wood finishing that made for good purchases.

Leavenworth was also the place where Karen took an interest in swimming. I recall getting her to practice at 5:30 a.m. so she could work out with the team before school each day. And we spent a lot of weekends at swim meets, often spending most of the time cheering on the team and Karen in the three or so events that she would be in.

Since Leavenworth is just about 50 minutes north of Kansas City, we did get down there occasionally. A favorite restaurant was the Lobster Pot that had an outstanding salad bar to go along with its dinners. The salad bar had such good eating such as shrimp and other delicacies that we typically filled ourselves up so when the waiter came to ask us how we wanted our Kansas City Strip cooked, we said very rare, as we would end up putting it in a doggie bag and further cooking it the next night at home for dinner.

One time we read in the paper an article from a writer or reporter who was big on a barbeque restaurant called Bryant's. The writer said that he traveled to Kansas City just to eat there. Well, based on such a glowing report, Bonnie and I decided to go there with our neighbors, Ed and Paulette Beville. Bonnie called ahead and asked if we needed reservations and the answer was no. On the night we were to go, Ed and Paulette came over to the house as I was driving. I had on a sport coat and tie, Ed was wearing an open collar shirt. Ed decided to go back and change. Well, we drove to Kansas City and we had out our map to find the place - no soft spoken lady in a Garmin GPS saying, "turn right in 200 yards." As we got closer, we got a bit concerned about the neighborhood. Car windows up and doors locked? Check. We pull up in front of Bryant's, which was located in what appeared to be a very rough part of the town. We considered no even getting out of the car except there was a police vecle there and it didn't have its bubble light or siren on, so Ed and I took a quick look, and then came bac for Bonnie and Paulette. Needless to say we left our sport coats and ties in the car, and hoped they and the car would be there when we came out. Bryant's served cafeteria style. Pick up a tray and get in line. The barbeque came with bread, and that meant four or five slices of white bread coming right out of the open bread loaf that one bought at the store. Once you got your meal and paid, the next task was to find a place to sit. I found a table that was open, but where the previous occupants had just got up and walked away, leaving paper plates, plasticware, napkins, rib bones, and everything else just laying there. So I went back and got an extra handful of napkins, knocked everything off the table and onto the floor, and cleaned the table top with some beer. No problem. Did I mention that the barbeque with its special Bryant's sauce was to die for? And yes we went back.

I found the time to meet with a group of students interested in Army training issues, and linked up with fellow student Paul Baerman to co-author about five articles on training and operations. About four of these articles were published in Military Review, the CGSC publication. Other articles were published in Engineer Magazine.

Despite not working to be the Marshall Award winner, I did get straight As in all the CGSC subjects, making me an Honor Graduate, one of about 20 in the class, and this fact was marked prominently on my Academic Evaluation Report.

Back to Army Stuff.