The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 671
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of the Texas State Library; Fort Mason, by Harold B. Simp-
son of Hill Junior College; and Fort Sam Houston, by W. C.
Nunn of Texas Christian University. An introduction by Rupert
N. Richardson of Hardin-Simmons University provides infor-
mation on two score other forts, as well as additional informa-
tion on the eight installations emphasized.
Enhancing the text are eight color reproductions of paintings
of the old forts and their occupants by Melvin C. Warren of
Fort Worth. On the other hand, a notable shortcoming of the
book is the absence of an index.
Joe Frantz's account of Fort Bliss, an imaginative presenta-
tion, deserves particular attention. Frantz's history is not simply
a recital of facts, but a creative, interpretive account, written
in a lively manner, of a fort that has continued to make an in-
creasing contribution to security even to the present. Founded
in 1848, Fort Bliss was occasionally abandoned but always re-
opened; became a storied cavalry post; then, after the day of the
horse soldier had faded into history, was the site of the concep-
tion, in 1944, of the first air defense missile.
"Notable is the fact that the fort's mascot and symbol is not
some army mule or cavalry stallion, nor even some wild wolf
or soaring eagle," Frantz writes. "Instead, Fort Bliss men bow
before a synthetic, twentieth-century creature, the Oozlefinch, a
rare featherless bird that flies backward, the same as the Nike
missile it carries in the crook of its left leg. By flying backward
it keeps the dust out of its eyes, and it cannot be surprised. In-
credible? Fort Bliss men will tell you that the Oozlefinch takes
better care of its adherents than any mortal animal that could
have been devised by Nature. And flying backward, with its large
protruding eyes open and unblinking, it knows exactly where it
has been, and it won't miss a thing as it continues its flight. The
Oozlefinch belongs to the twentieth century, but so does Fort
Bliss, for all its historic beginnings."
Except for one other fort (Sam Houston), however, the
places written about here belong to a colorful, painful past-
to the vanished days when men signed up for soldiers' pay of
thirteen dollars a month or so to, fight Indians and other ma-
rauders, the scorching Texas sun, thirst and hunger, boredom, and
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/703/: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.