Segment 1


Robert Christie was interviewed at his home in Hanover, New Hampshire. Christie was born on Long Island, New York. Christie came from an all New York family. His mother’s family had lived in New York for five or six generations. His father came from Scotland. Christies father worked for the Standard Oil Company of New York. Christie grew up in a small town called Freeport on Long Island. He did the usual things that kids do. Sandlot football and baseball Boy Scouts and camping trips. Boy Scouts taught him a lot of formative skills. He still uses some of these skills today. The skills that he picked up to include map reading were very helpful to Christie in the service. Christie was not a distinguished student. His father was a pilot in World War I. His father could see war coming from a mile away. His dad advised him to go to college because of his personal experience seeing how the enlisted guys were treated. There was no way Christie was going to get into West Point to become an officer. Christie did not have any political connections either. Christies father worked with another guy who worked at Standard Oil was a trustee of Norwich University. He told Christies father that it was a top tier educational institution and that he should send Christie there. A lot of Christie’s peers were going to school at Harvard and Princeton and other Ivy League institutions. Norwich University was where Christie ended up going. Norwich University was about the same size as Dartmouth for a little bit of time. There was a lot of animosity between the two schools. The guys at Norwich wore uniforms and the Dartmouth guys did not. This led to the Norwich guys getting the women. The barracks at Norwich mysteriously burned down in 1856 and there was some debate as to who the perpetrators were. Christie got dropped off at Norwich and he remembers that it was on top of a hill and there were no trees. They had a parade ground and a few administrative buildings. The Army’s first ROTC unit was at Norwich University. It was a horse cavalry unit. Christie got his ROTC training in the horse cavalry. This is how he eventually ended up at Fort Knox for tank training. Christie went with his entire class to Fort Devens. From there his Army career started. The Army formed its armored divisions from the old horse cavalry units.


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