A Tattoo of a Different Sort: SP4 Arthur J. Worrall, USA, 1957-1958

Posted By: John Grenier Professional Content,

By: Dr. John Grenier

Each year since 1984, with only minor exceptions, the US Field Artillery Association (USFAA) has offered a tattoo—a musical celebration traditionally performed by military bands—at the association's annual meeting.  The USFAA tattoo honors the life, work, and accomplishments of "a truly remarkable Field Artilleryman who has served in a truly outstanding standard."  You can find the names of whom USFAA, and by implication the FA Branch, have vested with this high and well-deserved honor at the association's webpage.  Not surprisingly, all past recipients, except for two CSMs (Henry J. Goodwin [1994 recipient] and Anthony J. Williams [2012 recipient]), have been general officers.  The list offers a litany of some of the most influential and renowned Redlegs over the last several generations, to include GEN Raymond T. Odierno (2023 recipient), the most recent CSA who had been a field artilleryman earlier in his career, and GEN Tommy R. Franks (2002 recipient), the USCENTOM commander who in 2003 oversaw the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

            Despite the dominance of senior ranking officers and NCOs on the tattoo list, it is entirely possible—in fact, it is the norm—for Redlegs of all ranks to serve both the Branch and the Republic at a "truly outstanding standard."  Note that for every Soldier who enlists in our Army and volunteers for (or is assigned to) FA duty, only between 30% and 46% of Soldiers across all the FA MOS re-enlist after fulfilling their initial commitment.  At the same time, NCOs recognized as holding primarily FA MOS make up only 5% of the Army's NCO corps. [1]  But while these Soldiers professionally and with unwavering determination serve the Republic, far too often, we, as a Service and a Branch, quickly forget them, especially after they leave the Army.  We less than adequately make the effort to honor even the supposedly outstanding among them.  I suggest that we can do better.  I therefore offer this informal tattoo for one of the many, many faceless Redlegs who over the years served our Branch, our Army, and our Republic:  SP4 (E-4) Arthur J. Worrall, USA, 1957-1958.[2]  Arthur's brief time in the Army, I'd suggest, offers an exemplar of the quiet but professional dedication that is the hallmark of the experience of literally tens of thousands of young men and women who over the years have answered our nation's call to service, served honorably and with various degrees of aplomb, and took the lessons of their experiences in the Army back to civilian life where they continued to serve, and in the end deservedly lived lives well worth living.

Arthur was born in Havelock, Ontario, in 1933.  His father, an immigrant to Canada from Ireland, was a carpenter turned ordained Episcopal minister.  At fifteen years old, Art moved with his family to Camden, New York, where he graduated from that town's high school.   He went to the University of the South, a small private liberal arts college and seminary of the Episcopal Church.  The college offered him a break in tuition because he was the son of an Episcopal minister.  After earning his B.A. in history, Arthur chose not to follow his father's footstep and become an ordained minister, but, as his eulogy noted, "he insisted on a due respect for authority exercised in a prudent and responsible way."  Arthur's tenure in the Service was not unlike many others who found themselves in the Cold War military between the end of the Korean War in 1953 and 1965 when the Army began sending large numbers of Soldiers to Southeast Asia.  Despite holding a B.A., he made no effort to become a commissioned officer when his draft deferments for college ended in 1956, and he instead chose the enlisted Soldier's path when his draft notice followed in the mail.  The Army inducted him, still a Canadian citizen, in 1957.   Arthur attended basic training and FA AIT at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas.[1]  I once asked him about his military service, and he responded, simply, "Oh, I was a typist in Japan after Korea."  He "did paperwork" in the Tokyo Ordnance Office, I learned later.  He added, "You know, we went into Korea with a pretty bad Army and came out with a pretty good one; we went into Vietnam with a pretty good one and came out with a pretty bad one."   That sums up exquisitely the Army's experience between 1953 and 1973, and it offers an invitation to engage with one of the many abstract riddles for which Professor Worrall was legendary among his students.

            Arthur devoted his professional life as an educator and history professor, first at Howe Military Academy, and then at Colorado State University (1967-2001), where I first met him in my sophomore year, 1986.[2]   After his honorable discharge from the Army, and with his Good Conduct Medal as recognition for his service on his DD-214 and his G.I. Bill in his pocket, Arthur became a US citizen, and then attended graduate school at Indiana University, where he not only met his wife of 52 years, Janet Holasek (later Professor Worrall in her own right), but he also earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in history.  The Redleg-typist returned, metaphorically speaking, to his roots and specialized in the history of the colonial Northeast and religious history, with a particular focus on the Quakers, the Protestant dissenters/pacifists who refused to swear oaths of loyalty to the English/British monarchy or the Anglican Church of England (his and his father's Episcopal Church in Canada and the United States) and found themselves subject to arrest, trial, incarceration, and often worse forms of persecution for their convictions.  We cannot help but admire those who unwaveringly stand in front of their beliefs and willingly risk and sacrifice all for them, especially if the story ends well:  see the 2016 film Hacksaw Ridge about conscientious objector CPL Desmond Doss who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroics as a combat medic at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.   But it's always more complicated than it seems, isn't it?  At least Arthur would have suggested it was and is. 

One of Art's questions that I grappled with, both while taking his essay-only exam and still to this day, essentially asked how the Quakers (men and women who refused to pay taxes because the authorities might use the money for guns, and the same people who became some of the first to protest against the enslavement of Africans, African-Americans, and Indians in colonial America) reconciled making fortunes in their "Counting Houses" by owing ships and other business enterprises enmeshed in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.  Such was a "Worrallism," one of Art's brilliant attempts to serve by inspiring a new generation to think, and to think deeply.   Art would drop the question like a bomb and leave you to answer it with a terse "There you have it."

            Indeed, you had better be ready to think hard—and write quickly—if you wanted to succeed in one of Arthur's classes.  Three times a week, he appeared at the lectern, in one of his signature herringbone-pattern blazers, with a white shirt and a subdued tie.  In his droll but never sarcastic manner, and with a penchant for spiraling into abstraction, he dished out a narrative imbued with analysis, argument, and significance in 50-minute blocks.  My experience as one of Arthur's students predated PowerPoint and the internet by almost twenty years, but he didn't need them to make his points.  Instead, he'd write a few words in chalk on the blackboard, and he'd start lecturing at 9:00 a.m. on the dot.  Sometimes the macro themes of the lecture lasted only a 50-minute class period; sometimes they lasted several class periods.


A case in point regarding the latter:  I walked into his classroom one morning to find that Art had written "Wm of Orange/III," "Glorious Revolution," and "Jacobites" on the board.  Arthur then spent what seemed like weeks (it was probably just one) explaining how William Prince of Orange (the hereditary ruler of a small city-state in seventeenth-century Holland) became the champion of the Protestant cause in England when James Stuart, the Duke of York (New York, which the English took from Holland in 1664, is named after him) and a Roman Catholic, became king James II of England in 1685.  James wanted desperately to return the state-approved religion of England back to Catholicism and away from Henry VIII's (r. 1509-1547) and the English Reformation's creation, also known as Anglicanism.  Arthur explained to us how the struggles over religion inside England eventually devolved into the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689, the relatively bloodless coup d'état that saw the Prince of Orange, ironically James's son-in-law, replace him as William III, King of England.  You're probably wondering at this point:  why should I care about the dynastic history and family squabbles of the kings and queens of England?  The answer:  because the Glorious Revolution became the seminal event on which Englishmen/women defined their "Rights of Englishmen."  You should also know that our "Founding Generation" enshrined several of those rights in our Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution that you—unlike a pacifist Quaker—took an oath to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. 

Professor Worrall also explained to us how William, as Prince of Orange, had been at war with Louis XIV of France, and when the former became king of England, his war with France became England's war, too.   The Nine Years' War (1688-1697) followed, and after a short peace, so too did the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714).  At the end of those two early "world wars"—English and French armies fought in both Europe and in their respective North American colonies, with Native Americans as allies and proxies on both sides—the United Kingdom emerged with the beginnings of the powerful world-wide Empire "on which the sun never set" in the nineteenth century.   But, as Arthur explained, all was not well at home:  the followers of "The Pretender" James II (they took the name "Jacobites" from the Latin "Jacobus," or James), then his son, and eventually his grandson, refused to go gentle into that good night.   The Jacobites were a cancer on the British monarchy and nation state, and they rose in rebellion, most significantly, in 1715 (aka "The Fifteen") and 1745 (aka "The Forty-five").   After its victory over the French-supported Jacobite army at Culloden in 1746, the British Army, led by the Duke of Cumberland (Scots remember him to this day as the "Butcher of Culloden"), brutally suppressed the Scots Highland clans in the most successful counterinsurgency of the eighteenth century, through application of what we know today as unconventional warfare and by waging unrestrained war on women, children, and the elderly.   Of course, if you were paying attention, it wasn't hard to see that the rebellions almost occurred in a generational—every thirty years, that is—pattern.  1685 … 1715 … 1745, and thirty years from 1745 took you to 1775, when North America erupted in rebellion because King George III's American subjects believed that the British monarchy and Parliament conspired to deny them their Rights of Englishmen.  Clearly, Arthur set the stage for another Worrallism, and we, his students, all got to try our hand at answering "How did the events between the Glorious Revolution and the suppression of the Jacobites in 1746 prejudice Americans to believe that violence was a legitimate means of political and social protest?"   Wait, What? 

            I do not want to give the appearance that only esoteric questions about the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries consumed Arthur's life.   Rather, his was a life filled with love for his family, and the joy that comes with being a husband, father, and grandfather.  Art, to the end, was a wiry old dude, just as you'd suspect from a high school and college cross-country runner.   Frankly, I suspect he identified more as a high school track star than as a Redleg, but in the end, what does it matter?  He reveled in coaching his daughter's soccer teams:  it didn't matter if they won the match or the league title because the lessons were about effort, sportsmanship, and grace in victory and defeat.  When his daughter no longer played, refereeing youth-league matches across northeast Colorado, and ultimately heading up Ft. Collins's youth soccer leagues, became his athletic passion.  

Arthur's other great passion was orchestral music, not just as a listener but as a singer.  He performed in chorales from boyhood until his late seventies.   Because what I know and understand about orchestral music fills only a thimble, I often became lost in our conversations when Art spiraled into discourses on various performances and their relative quality.   Yet, somehow, he managed to lead me to see a larger significance in George Frederic Handel's "See, the conqu'ring hero comes!", part of the 1746 oratorio "Judas Maccabaeus" that Frederic, Prince of Wales, commissioned Handel to compose to celebrate the Duke of Cumberland's return to England from Scotland after his decisive victory at Culloden.   So, here's SP4 Worrall's tattoo:  "Voces para la Paz (Músicos Solidarios)."  There you have it.             

[1] Ft. Chaffee is named after MG Adna R. Chaffee, Jr., a WW1 Redleg.  In the immediate post-WW2 years, the Army designated it as "The U.S. Army Training Center, Field Artillery."  The Army centralized all field artillery training at Ft. Sill in 1959. 

[2] The Howe Military Academy was a private, co-educational, college-preparatory boarding school founded as Howe Grammar School in 1884 in Howe, Indiana.  It became a military academy in 1895.  It closed in 2019.  See: https://www.howealumni.org/howe-military-school-history/.


[1] The Army averages 40% for re-enlistments.  FA MOS percentages are: 13B (46%); 13F (30%); 13J (37%); 13M (43%); 13R (45%).

[2] On 1 JUL 1955, the Army created four grades to different specialists from NCOs, with ranks SP3 (E-4), SP2 (E-5), and SP1 (E-6) specifically designed to reduce the number of NCOs among the enlisted force.  The WW2 and Korean War armies were bloated with NCOs.  SP3 became known as Spec/4 in 1959.   When Art transitioned to the USAR—his reserve commitment lasted until 7 JAN 1963, but the Army never activated him—his rank changed to Spec/4, which is reflected on his DD-214 and DA-1270.  In 1985, the Army converted all Spec/4 to SPC.