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Roster of TUSA Showmobile Members

Recollections of Douglas Crumpler

If each of you would provide answers for the following questions, it would help establish the overall framework.
1. When did you become involved with the Showmobile/Soldier Show?

The piano player and I played in the pit for a production of 'South Pacific' and they suggested we auditioned for the Showmobile when they were on base. I think that may have been the first or second tour by the 3rd Army version under Gil's tutelage. We auditioned in the fall of 1964 at Fort Bragg.

2. How did you become involved?

I was TDY to the showmo in January in 1965. The show was pretty small and the band was very small. I came with a piano player, (John Harris from Binghamton, NY) from the XVIII Airborne Corp (440th Army Band) in Fort Bragg. We were initially TDY for 2 90 day periods then moved to permanent staff. Due to my-lifer attitude, I was made the acting NCOIC so I got flack from both sides, but we were a very comfortable and friendly group who all felt we had the best job in the military. There was always the army griping and it was just a little before the VN escalation. I got married in July 1965 and matter of fact, when we got to Atlanta immediately following the wedding, we were in a studio for about 3 on more days all day and most of the night recording the album shown in the photos. When we had to leave for a tour, Gil allowed Joyce (my wife) to travel with us on one segment of the tour. I will never forget when we played at an auditorium at Tuskegee University (at that time 100% black students) and there must have been 3-5000 in the audience. Joyce was sitting in the middle somewhere, and when I looked out at the audience, she looked like a grain of sand as she was the only white person there. When she told the students next to her she was the drummer's wife they said, 'He's got too much soul to be white', I think that was one of the best compliments I ever got.

3. When were you with the show....how long?

I stayed with the show until I ETS'd in January 1967, then became a civilian employee. When the then Entertainment Director of TUSA, Bill Diamond, moved on, I was made the acting Entertainment Director for TUSA and moved to Building 219 with Joe Schneider and Col. Heckert. My job then took me away from the show so I lost contact with most everyone. I left civil service in 1970 and became a SCUBA instructor and commercial diver.

4. What functions did you serve?

My first job was as a drummer. However, John Harris and I took the responsibility for the sound system and we had a very small amplifier and I think 5 mics. We built a box that held the mike stands and had the amplifier on top, so it was high enough that I could sit on the top level of the band platform behind the drums and play while I controlled the amplifier with a free hand. The sets etc. were all developed by Ray Lacetti and we built most everything in a building behind the Service Club at Fort McPherson. I served as the drummer until we got more drummers and my job moved to NCOIC and more technical stuff until Jim Frey came along. About the same time we grew exponentially with a portable stage and curtains and went to Baker Audio and got a much bigger amp, speakers and mics. I think Steve Brinson came along with Harry Oder who took over the sound and lighting requirements.

5. In what productions did you participate?

The names are all a blur and I don't remember the first 2 shows, but Holiday was the first one and that's what we did the album of.

6. Have you maintained contact with any other show personnel?

Primarily with and through Steve Brinson. A couple of years ago I ran into Bob Shaw at the local Broward County Cultural center. He retired in Fort Lauderdale and had a part time job as Head Usher at the center. I met him for drinks and reminisced, but as I say with the trials that my wife Treena and I have got through, 'life got in the way'.

7. Do you have a website or other on-line presence?

I did have and will probably have again, but not at present.

8. Do you think your experiences as a member of the show had an effect on you post-military life?

Yes. The biggest impact on me was the ability to meet people with considerable life styles and races. I grew up in a small southern town with no black friends, only a 'nanny and her family'. The show gave me a real opportunity to become very good friends with a lot of people with whom I was very unfamiliar. Additionally it made me choose to do things for my subordinates that I would never have thought that I could. I remember once while the show was at Homestead Air Force Base and I was driving the station wagon. Several of the guys asked me to take them to a night club and when I got there the shows Officer In Charge, attempted to take the station wagon away for his personal use. I stated that I needed it to be able to respond the any emergencies that might develop with our personnel while on an AF base and left him at the club. The next morning he telephoned Col. Schneider and Col. Heckert and tried to have me court martialed. I believe that the Colonels understood my dilemma and backed my responsibilities to provide for the men and women for whom I was responsible. They arranged to have the OIC return to Fort McPherson immediately. I vaguely remember that I did have to take someone for medical care, but those details escape me.