LONG BEFORE THE CURRENT STORM, BUT 'REMEMBER THE PUEBLO':

It is a chilly February Sunday in 1967 on the between-tracks median at the Rail Transportation Office (RTO) in rural Waegwan, South Korea. Private First-Class Phil Ross, soon to have his Specialist Fourth-Class "bird" patch sewn on to his winter O.G. (olive green) woolen fatigue uniform, pauses while waiting for the scheduled evening train before tossing a small, weekend load of stateside-bound letters and parcels onto the mail car. The seemingly mundane chore of handling outgoing mail from and incoming mail to the 44th Engineer Battalion's Camp Carroll Depot, three miles away, always was haunted by the spectre of North Korean agents anxious to "commandeer" (in the words of Army Military Intelligence operatives) U.S. mail, containing sensitive documents, postal money orders and other valuable material, from sluggish, M35 2 1/2-ton Army trucks -- "deuce and a halfs" -- like the one pictured here. Army postal clerk/guards like Phil had strict orders never to ride alone in the automatic-transmission slow-crawlers, and were required to have a loaded sidearm, like his .45-cal. pistol, holstered and ready. In between the driver and passenger seat of the cab of this World War II relic-on-wheels was an at-the-ready, similar-WWII/Korean War-vintage, M1, carbine rifle. During the Vietnam Era between 1960-75, Army postal unit troops also had to re-qualify on the shooting range with the two basic combat rifles on which they had qualified in Basic Training -- the M14, and the more-modern, but less-reliable, M16, the latter which often jammed unexpectedly when its barrel was adulterated by locks of hair or dust specks. Although Phil never had to pull his sidearm or fire any of his rifles in use away from the range, he proceeded daily with the knowledge that he had qualified Expert (the highest accuracy level) on all four weapons. Less than a year after this photo was taken, and just two months after a lucky Spec. 4 Ross had rotated back to the States, the Communist North Korean Navy commandeered the U.S.S. Pueblo, an intelligence vessel, off the coast of North Korea in January 1968. For a 70-year Ross, it was truly astounding in June 2018 when President Trump & Chairman Kim met in the Singapore Summit to begin the process of hopefully bringing peace to the Korean peninsula. (Photo by Pfc. Roy Kistner)

Death of Legendary Play-by-Play Man Dick Enberg Triggers Personal Memories for Author Phil Ross

Dec. 23, 2017

Former SoCal Sportswriter Relates 1-on-1 Dealings with Late Broadcaster, One-Time L.A. Rams' 'Moles'

Here is a firsthand set of recollections, dating back nearly a half-century, by Colorado author Phil Ross, based on the death earlier this week of legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg:

Many positive tributes on Twitter the past couple of days, based on my firsthand dealings with Dick Enberg from the 1970s, ring true. As a young sportswriter in my early 20s, I worked for a daily rag in suburban Orange County; I covered the old L.A. Rams, in same the old Coliseum where the new, Stan Kroenke-owned L.A. Rams play until their new stadium just down the Harbor Freeway in suburban Inglewood is ready. Enberg and future Mariners HOF "mic" Dave Niehaus, who died in 2010, couldn't have been nicer to the youngest pup on the beat.

On a Thanksgiving '71 trip, for instance, when we covered the first Turkey Day game in then-new-but-since-imploded Texas Stadium, they invited me to a poker game on a big table in Dave's hotel suite the night before the game.

Seeing tribute Tweets showing Dick with longtime TV partner Merlin "Father Murphy" Olsen of HOF and Fearsome Foursome renown, also hit my nostalgia button. Merlin and Marlin McKeever, both also having passed to "The Other Side," were my main, anonymous moles, feeding me inside info, which I'd confirm with others, that allowed me occasionally to "scoop" the Big Boys like the L.A. & L.B. dailies, and the Orange County Register. Marlin & I would meet weekly during the preseason at Shakey's Pizza across from the training camp at Cal State Fullerton, where he dished out juicy rumors with the pepperoni & bell peppers, then we'd huddle whenever warranted during the regular season.

Not quite the Grand Canyon, Kennecott Copper Mine at Bingham, Utah, which bills itself as the World's First Open-Pit Copper Mine, is nonetheless impressive in its own right. (Photo by Phil Ross)

Just Like Back at Anaheim's Western High School (Download Gallery Now)

The downloadable photo gallery here is explained in detail below.

Retrospective with Rockies, Former WHS Pioneers

In the eight downloadable photos in the accompanying 10th-anniversary gallery above, Colorado Author Phil Ross and old high school buddy John Schumacher of Bakersfield, Calif., hook up after many years, at a Texas Rangers-Colorado Rockies interleague game at Denver's Coors Field in summer 2006, then spend time on Daniels Park Road, south of Denver, taking in panoramic vistas, watching a local buffalo herd, and re-living images of Ross's two-decade career as a college and prep baseball umpire.

Ross is garbed in the cap of his favorite college football team, the Texas A&M Aggies, and a T-shirt, part of his collegiate collection, from Louisiana's Northwestern State University in the old historic town of Natchitoches.

The pictorial and balloon captions are from a 2007 calendar produced by Schumacher and his wife, Joan Knowlden Schumacher. In the one on-field game photo, it is during the between-half-innings break in the eighth inning. Colorado's California-bred southpaw reliever Brian Fuentes tosses warm-up pitches to catcher Yorvit Torrealba, a native of Venezuela; plate umpire Joe Brinkman, a Floridian, checks his ball-strike counter, and second-base umpire Derryl Cousins, also from California, awaits the resumption of action in the distant left background. The inset at bottom left of the warm-up photo is Dinger, the Rockies' dinosaur mascot.

Both Brinkman and Cousins have since retired. Mentors over the years of promising Latino umpires from the U.S. and several other Western Hemisphere countries, each is the subject of anecdotes in BLUE HOMBRES: The Life and Times of Major League Baseball's Latino Umpires, First of a Trilogy, which is available at amazon.com, bn.com and goodreads.com, among other outlets. The First Edition's Spanish-language version, HOMBRES AZULES, will be available to the public in early 2017. (Photos by Joan Knowlden Schumacher)

A BRIEF RESPITE AMID THE BOOK STORM:

In above photo, about a half-day's drive south of his Colorado home, Author Phil Ross lets volcanic rocks at Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque, provide an appropriate backdrop for him, garbed in one of his several Aloha shirts to mirror similar formations on the big island of Hawai'i. As a primary hobby (discussed more at length on the Updates on Phil page), the author also collects drag racing tees and button-down shirts (bantered about on Phil's Other Passion page), but the major dimension of the hobby is something altogether different. When your joyful journey concludes on the Contact Phil page, take to heart what Mark Twain said regarding reviews of his own work.

Remember to travel through the images and content on the News on Phil's Books and Praise from Others pages. Please invite everyone you know to visit this site and Like it. Phil and his old Army buddy, Roc Butterfield, together (the author is wearing a N. Dakota State T-shirt from his college collection in the below photo) near Roc's Phoenix home in 2011. Roc and his family moved in late 2016 to Woodland Park, Colo., a picturesque little community west of Colorado Springs, on the back side of Pikes Peak. (Photos by Maria Ross). Enjoy each page on this website.

Kind regards

Phil Ross