We Artillerymen are indeed a very privileged group. In addition to the protection of our Patron Saint during life, we can look forward to our own special heaven after the sounding of TAPS. I refer, of course, to FIDDLER's GREEN.
Down through the ages, all purveyors of the fire, members of the ancient profession of stone hurlers, catapulters, rocketeers, and GUNNERs, better known as Field Artillerymen, have discussed this special place in the hereafter, where someday each of us will be privileged to roam. There are as many tales of the Green as there are old Artillerymen; stories rich with the smell of gunpowder and campfires; and flavored with a taste of Artillery Punch. Imagine, if you will, a starry night, many years ago...
In Gun Position 15 (which for you youngsters is now Artillery Firing Area 31) just after a coordinated illum mission, nestled in the shadows of the Regimental CP is a battery of smoothbore cannon camped for the night. As the campfires dim and the flasks of rum and lemon empty, the conversation turns to life in the hereafter. A rugged old section chief is surprised to learn that not all present have heard of supplies of GRID SQUARES, ST-1's, B-1-RD's; few have ever been sent to fetch a hundred meters of gun target line or for the combination to the firing lock; fewer still have been availed of the highest of knowledge; the greatest piece of Artillery lore; the Special Destiny awaiting all Artillerymen. As the young cannoneers listen intently, he shares with them the Legend of FIDDLER's GREEN.
It is generally conceded, he explains, that the souls of the departed eventually end up in Heaven or Hell. Heaven lies about six klicks down the dusty road to eternity and can be reached by turning left at the first crossroad. From that same junction, Hell is about eight or nine klicks straight ahead. The road is easy to identify; it's the one paved with good intentions. A little way down the road to Hell, there's a sign pointing to a trail that runs off to the right of the main road which reads:Fiddler's Green (Artillerymen only)