Fort Hood, Texas

...The Great Place


Louis L’Amour - Officer Candidate Recalls Life of Adventure

Editor’s note: This article ran March 4, 1943 in the Hood Panther.

Soldier, adventurer, fighter, writer and poet — that’s Candidate Louis L’Amour of the 24th Officers Candidate School Class at TDS. A merchant seaman, a miner, a lumberjack, a tourist guide in Egypt, a soldier in the Chinese Civil Wars, a prize fighter, who fought in rings in more than one odd corner of the world, Candidate L’Amour has worked in the mines of Arizona and Nevada, on the docks of San Pedro and in the saw mills and lumber woods of Oregon.

In China, held a ragged, hard fighting band of guerrillas over the northern hills, a force allied in interest to the force of Chiang Kai Shek. He has sailed down the Red Sea to adventure, has been a magazine editor, and finally, a writer of poetry and fiction.

That his writing has been successful is illustrated in the fact that for four consecutive years he has been included in the Index of Distinctive Short Stories, and his volume of poetry attracted national acclaim when it appeared a few years ago.

His wanderings in the East Indies provided him with intimate knowledge of the lonely coasts of New Guineas, Borneo and Celebes.

It was in Borneo, in a port scarcely more than a cove, where a wild-cat oil well was being drilled that he met up with a great experience. He had jumped his ship to get a job at this well and on the job was a huge man, untrained as a fighter but possessed of unusual strength and a great physique. He claimed he could lick any man on the job. L’Amour, the stranger, was pushed to the front as his most likely opponent. A purse of five hundred dollars, winner take all was raised among the men and a ring was set up on the beach, 40 feet back from the sea. Lights were rigged from the oil well’s power plant, and there, on that lonely beach, watched by only seven white men and 40 natives, the two staged a battle, that under any other circumstances might have made ring history. The two fought to a finish with five-ounce gloves.

Outweighed by nearly 50 pounds, L’Amour found himself facing a fighter who made up in sheer ferocity and strength what he may have lacked in skill. It was a brutal, desperate battle, see-sawing back and forth until finally in the 26th round, L’Amour finally broke through the giants guard to land a succession of swift, heavy punches in his opponent’s stomach in such a rapid fury as to wilt the giant, who suddenly slumped to the floor, unconscious, long after the count.

Candidate L’Amour came to OCS from Camp Robinson, for his bars, and with a TD Battalion, eager to write another chapter in his colorful life — a chapter of final victory for the Allies in their war against the dictators.

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