Fort Hood, Texas

...The Great Place

   

New Recruit Brings Chaos to Fort Hood for Summer

Elvis in Army uniform

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Temple Daily Telegram September 18, 1960.

Never before, never since was there a day at Fort Hood like March 28, 1958. It was wild.

Generals come and go — two-star, three-star, four-stars. Congressmen and cabinet officers cause scarcely a ripple in the day-to-day routine of the Army post.

During World War II, and since, the greats and near greats of the entertainment industry have made stops here to perform for tens of thousands of soldiers.

Scores of name athletes and other nationally known people have trained here.

And the routine never changed much.

But on March 28, 1958, Fort Hood flipped - over a new recruit.

Recruit Elvis Presley.

It started as complete chaos about 5 p.m. that day when the bus with Presley aboard arrived from Fort Chaffree, and then quickly became somewhat disorganized.

But even rampant pandemonium cannot prevail against the Army. Within a couple days, order again prevailed.

More in hope than in confidence the Army declared:

"Private Presley will be treated exactly as all trainees are treated. Nothing is to interfere with his training while he is at Fort Hood."

It worked. Newsmen of this area accepted the ruling.

Except for a half dozen "short-stopped" Phone calls a day from New York, California, Canada, Australia and other unlikely places, and three or four bags of mail each day, no one tried to interfere with the training of Fort Hood's famous recruit.

Presley's platoon sergeant while the singer was a member of Company A, 37th Armor, was Sgt. 1st Class William C. Farley. Farley recalls that he "had a lot of trouble" while Presley was in his platoon, but quickly adds, "It wasn't his fault. It was caused by the people who came to see him."

Farley, now a member of Headquarters Detachment, 2nd Armor Division trains, remembers Presley as an "above average" trainee.

Much of the credit for Presley's successful completion of basic and advanced training belongs to him.

An official letter just before he left Fort Hood in September 1958 — a letter warning the information at the port of embarkation to prepare for the storm — noted that Presley "showed outstanding leadership trains from the start, and a fine attitude towards his service obligation.

He became an acting assistant squad leader early in his basic training, and still wears the brassard (chevrons)."

Presley left Fort Hood September 19, 1958, and joined the 3rd Armored Division in Germany, where he completed his required two years of active duty.

Fort Hood had sent another "good soldier" to Germany.

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