My American journey to ol’ Rocky Top

There are so many major issues going on in our country and across the globe, but this day I am seriously taking a break from it all. Today is a special day for me and I’d like to share my reflections with you — a simple American journey.

Thirty-five years ago during late summer-early fall, we all loaded up in Dad’s — Buck West’s — 1976 silver and gray Lincoln Continental town car and headed north on I-75. We were on the road to “Rocky Top,” Knoxville, Tennessee — home of the University of Tennessee.

Growing up in Atlanta, Saturday SEC football and basketball were staples in our home. I learned SEC school fight songs just as I did Sunday hymns. Of course I was a big-time Georgia Bulldog fan and ol’ Coach Vince Dooley was an icon.

However, to the north, there was something about this Tennessee Volunteer school. I remember the days of the first black SEC football quarterback, Condredge Halloway. And we all were enthralled with the “Ernie/Bernie” show of Ernie Grunfeld and Bernard King. I somehow found myself being attracted to that Tennessee orange.

And being a history nut, the story of the Tennessee Volunteers and Davy Crockett captured my imagination. I will never forget the epic movie, “The Alamo” with John Wayne and Richard Widmark and the famous statement by Crockett after losing his congressional reelection, “You all can go to hell, I’m going to Texas” — a sure-fire confession of the indomitable individual rugged American spirti in the fight for freedom.

And then my mom Snooks’ sister, my Aunt Brendalyn, along wth her husband who was an FBI agent, moved from St. Louis to Knoxville due to reassignment. And so I got to visit Aunt Bren, and will never forget the first time I saw Neyland Stadium on the banks of the Tennessee River.

Then as a senior at Henry Grady High School in Atlanta, my homeroom and physics teacher, Ms. Carolyn Payne, was a big-time Tennessee alumni. And when she gave my parents and me the information on the exceptional UT Army ROTC program — well, the dye was cast — and it was orange and white for my college.

So in 1979 we took the trip to Knoxville. This time it wasn’t to visit Aunt Bren, but to start my life. I was assigned to Hess Hall, 7th floor, and it was truly a barracks-type living condition, two students to a room. My folks dropped me off after some tears from Mom. Now, these were the days before personal computers, iPads, iPhones, you know all that fancy tech stuff — no mini TV. Dad had gotten me a clock radio and doggone I thought I was in high cotton. Then all of a sudden the door knob turned and in walked the fella who would be my roommate. Keith was from up there in the Cumberland Gap and by the look on his face, he probably hadn’t seen too many black kids. There was complete silence except for my introduction, and two days later I saw his room transfer request.

Right in front of his face, I tore it up and told him we were roommates and he needed to get to know me and I him. Well, it came to pass that Keith was a solid basketball player and in those days I was pretty good myself. That was our bond, and as a matter of fact, our intramural team ended up winning the dorm league championship. I lost track of ol’ Keith but perhaps one day we will reunite.

My days at Tennessee Army ROTC were fantastic — of course you can learn more in my book, Guardian of the Republic. I remain close friends with two of my ROTC buddies, Logan Hickman (with whom I served in Desert Storm) and Gary Potts.

The saddest part about my time on Rocky Top was losing my best friend, Bill Scarborough. I met Bill when I landed a part time job at a music store called Record Bar– minimum wage folks and it was an entry position to learn responsibility, not to be my career.

Bill and I would go back down to Atlanta because he was a big Atlanta Braves baseball fan. My folks loved Bill. He was a witty and charming fella with a sharp intellect. On graduation day, there was Bill taking pictures with my folks and me — we had adopted him.

Unfortunately Bill did have an issue, it was a cocaine addiction, and we often talked about it and I implored him to stop. Right before graduation Bill confided in me about his job offer and that it was time to turn a new page — however, just a couple days after our graduation Bill, my best friend in college, died from a drug overdose. I was crushed.

Thirty-five years ago I first stepped onto Rocky Top and today I have returned. As I did my morning run all the great memories came back, Stokely Athletic Center is gone but I will never forget the Army ROTC department and the basketball games I watched there. Neyland Stadium still stands as grand as ever, but much larger. As a matter of fact, it was in my sophomore year that they closed in the lower north section making the capacity some 98,000. At the same time Knoxville hosted the World’s Fair, and God’s golf ball still stands.

I’m here in Knoxville for the Alabama-Tennessee football game. I remember my last “Buck Fama” week at UT when I was a senior in 1982. Bama came in highly ranked — as always — and we hadn’t beaten the Crimson Tide in some 12 years. It was one of the most incredible games one could ever see — a true SEC classic — and I had gotten a ticket for my younger brother Arlan to attend with me. The Vols took the lead late in the 4th quarter with a 35 yard TD run which put us up 34 to 29. However, in typical Bama, fashion they drove the field as time was running down. The Tide was rolling and was inside the 10-yard line with seconds remaining. And the miracle happened: the Bama QB threw an interception IN THE END ZONE to my buddy from Atlanta’s Northside High School, reserve linebacker, Mike Terry. We went nuts and stormed the field — however, the crowd parted like for Moses at the Red Sea when Alabama Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant walked off the field. Little did we know then, but it would be the Bear’s last season coaching and within a year he would pass away.

One thing I will never forget about that game in October 1982 was the tradition of pre-game prayer when the pastor beseeched the Lord God to help us beat Alabama! I will never forget that resounding roar from the crowd — and God answered that preacher’s prayer! Folks, that’s why the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation needs to go somewhere else to intimidate. We love the Judeo-Christian faith heritage down South, right along with our SEC football.

I come back to Rocky Top 35 years later holding many memories, but mostly I return the man this great institution set on a path to success. I return a Tennessee Volunteer, another in that lineage of men who stood for freedom and were willing to give their lives for that fundamental American value.

So all you folks out in Texas, remember, there is only one UT — the one who sent its Volunteers to ensure you could become the great state you are today.

Go Big Orange!

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47 Comments on "My American journey to ol’ Rocky Top"

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Adetoz
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This is lovely

Wayne Hubbard
Guest

I enjoy reading your post. Thank you for your service to our country and thank you for standing for what is right. I am glad you are getting to visit your Alma mater . Now I will close with a Roll Tide!

Nippycat
Guest

You are an inspiration. I am an Alabama fan, 2nd to Auburn, living in FL but I must say
Alabama fans need to learn how to be humble. Love you .

Greifreiter
Guest

Col. West, you are truly an inspiration and you need to return to congress, but “Roll Tide” and “No fruit sucks like a Big Orange”.

SB_Smith
Guest

Thank you for sharing about your visit to Knoxville today !
Hope you have a great time !

chicken plucker
Guest

enjoy your time to refresh yourself, there are battles to be fought in the future. Thank YOU for YOUR service to us ALL

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Judy Selich
Guest

Thank you for posting about your young years. It sounds as though your family believed in what we used to refer to as the American Work Ethic. Most people have not heard of this but I too grew up with the understanding that we had to have goals in our lives; we had to do the things required to achieve those goals and excuses were unacceptable. It was not about money, it was about achievement and commitment. It worked then and it will work now.

meljs
Guest

Excellent! Thanks for the story; the only thing bad about it, I learned that I am a year older than you!

Noel Royse
Guest

Great story sir. I think we served at Bragg at the same time. Your a great man! Thank you!

batlcrewzer
Guest

Where did he go wrong? Who could have far seen it? Was there tell tell sings of looming disaster? A promise totally unfulfilled, a missed chance, a losers lullaby! What a contrast to HIS successful and dynamic president. Maybe he can chauffeur the first lady after they leave office. Baby steps Alan, baby steps.

Ray - Jesus is the Son of God
Guest
Ray - Jesus is the Son of God
The signs of the end times are everywhere… As we witness such things as the spread of globalism, the building of a one-world church, the increase of wickedness, the breakdown of the traditional family, the destruction of that priceless bastion of liberty called America, the normalization of homosexuality, the callous murder of babies, the filthy pop culture, the breathtaking increase in governmental surveillance, we become fearful, uncertain, frustrated, angry, and discouraged, but this is because our minds and hearts are too focused on things of this world rather than things above. Too often we have the same short view that… Read more »
Earl Lee
Guest

Interesting that you mention that Satan is the GOD OF THIS WORLD….if that is the case why are soo many so called CHRISTIANS so concerned with the matters of THIS WORLD?? A true CHRISTIAN would know that the matters and the going ons of this world does not matter because it already belongs to Satan until Christ returns

canucksam
Guest

Go troll on another site. Are you jealous that Col. West is a bigger man than you are or could ever be?

Earl Lee
Guest

Bigger than I could ever be….I have too much character to purposely mislead people with lies. I could never be a bigot. I was never RELIEVED OF COMMAND when I was in the US ARMY! I could never mislead people so they can donate money to a fund that doesn’t give out the money like he claims it does! No…mr west is not BIGGER than I…he is a DISGRACE!

canucksam
Guest

You are the disgrace for printing such false things about him. He was relieved of command after he reported the incident but he was not and is not a disgrace. You said you were never relieved of command while in the army. Are you claiming to have had command of a unit? Were you deployed? I would suggest you check out
http://www.militarycorruptin.com/LTCWest-1.htm

Earl Lee
Guest

FALSE THINGS??? HE did not report the incident a different solider did! Yes I had a unit and yes I have also seen combat! Sorry dear but these things you can look up yourself. THis man is a DISGRACE!!

LadybugJ
Guest

I like the reason WHY he was relieved of his command. He did retire with an HONORABLE DISCHARGE!! YOU are misleading people!

oldagg
Guest

WHY?? I haven’t heard that….what happened?????? Why was he relieved????

Earl Lee
Guest

WHY?? Because he let his men beat a man who he thought had information on a ambush and that turn out not to be true. After being beat for almost a hour allen (rob these loons blind) west…lost his cool and fired a shot next to the mans head. Allen (rob these loons blind) west was relieved of command and didn’t fight the charges….the men serving under mr west lost rank and pay. The man is a DISGRACE to the uniform!

Earl Lee
Guest

So you like a person that was trained to lead to throw all of that training out of the window? You like a person that will jeopardize the careers of the men that’s under him?. You dishonor all the officers that served with HONOR when u make a dumb statement like that.
Hundreds of officers in Iraq was in charge of protecting their me…they did it with honor…Allen west did not and the men serving under him paid a price for his lack of judgement
I honor those that seved with respect and HONOR…Allen west did not!!

Tony Hunt
Guest

Come on, Earl! You know they have to have SOMETHING to be paranoid about! Everything is
Always
“A sign of end times”. I’m sure people
thought the same thing when the black plague was killing off the world.

Earl Lee
Guest

Hope your parents aren’t still alive to see what a DISGRACE you have become to the black community!!

Tony Hunt
Guest

Now that might be a little harsh, Earl. I might even say, a little biggoted.

Earl Lee
Guest

Sorry but it is what it is…the man seeks fortune and fame at the expense of the black community……DISGRACE!!!

phatazz
Guest
C’mon Earl Lee, Allen West is NOTHING like the Democrat Party. You know the Democrat Party that was formed to defend and expand slavery. You know the party that passed and enforced Jim Crow laws. The party that enacted poll taxes to keep the black community from voting. The party that rode around with the pointy hats and sheets covering their faces like the cowards they are. The party that couldn’t muster up enough democrat votes to pass the Civil rights Act of 1964. The bi partisan action of the Republican party helped push this legislation through in spite of… Read more »
Earl Lee
Guest

And you go back to the 1800’s and the 1960’s? I’m talking 2014! The man is a DISGRACE!!

phatazz
Guest

Yes, since the formation of the Democrat party, that has been their Legacy – to seek their fortune and fame at the expense of the Black community. Back to the 1800’s to the present. As I stated previously, the democrat party was formed to defend and expand slavery. THAT is a DISGRACE!

Tony Hunt
Guest

That may be true, but such can be said in a civil manner. Just gives people here ammo as proof that liberals are all “angry mean people.”

Earl Lee
Guest

Reading the articles that this man has put out would make MLK himself ANGRY! Allen (rob these loons) west is trying to become wealthy by stepping on the necks of the black community. His parents are rolling over in their graves right about now…the man is a DISGRACE!!

Tony Hunt
Guest

I guess in the end, I’ll have to take your word for it. I’m not black, and can’t claim to know everything about the community.

Earl Lee
Guest

You don’t have to take my word for it….look at the post this man has made to his blog…none has been positive about the black community. Instead of using himself as a example…he tears down the black community and offer no suggestion how the black community can get better!

John the Libertarian
Guest

hey earlie [rhymes with girlie]: take a hike

Earl Lee
Guest

I’m here to stay!

ANONYMOUS BARB
Guest

YOU ARE A GREAT AMERICAN AND I JUST KNOW YOUR PARENTS WOULD BE SO VERY PROUD OF YOU. I LIKE YOUR WAY OF THINKING, YOU WOULD BE MY FIRST PICK FOR PRESIDENT.

LadybugJ
Guest

My Dream Team: Cruz/West, U.S. Attny General: Trey Gowdy, U.S. Surgeon General: Dr. Ben Carson

cann2017
Guest

AhhhhhMEN !

tarini540
Guest

Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. You are a great man and a great American.

Carrie Geren Scoggins
Guest
Carrie Geren Scoggins
@Alan B. West, I had no idea you were from TN area. I have lived in middle TN, Nashville, TN for years now, working in Nashville music industry, and now run the END TIMES PROPHECY NEWS UPDATE, Carrie Geren Scoggins Political Newsletter, [program now on webcast now and YouTube], ran TN libertarian party for 22 years, and am leaving Murfreesboro, TN, home of MT [MTSU], due to anti Christian hate and being bullied and ran out of town by gay activists in law enforcement, daily religious and political harassment, and moving back to east TN, near UTK area. I am… Read more »
cann2017
Guest
That is so sad Carrie. My family goes waaaay back in the south. They had/have voted straight ticket Democrat since voting began. All are dead now. They passed that on to many of their children, me included. If you can get a southern on your side, neither heck nor high water can move them. I, however, moved up North with my family, for the jobs (50”s). They are a prideful lot, the Southerners. I love southerners, they are just hard-headed. Up here I learned to watch and weigh. Southerners do that to, but only about who you are and what… Read more »
theresa951
Guest

My Uncle Adrian got an awesome 9 month old Mercedes E-Class Diesel only from working part-time off a macbook… navigate to this web-site ……..>> -> INCREASE YOUR EARNINGS!! <-

Republic
Guest

Just vote for the Dream Candidate if invited in the 2016 program.

MotherBatherick
Guest

Thanks for sharing, Col West! As much as they try, progressive socialists will always come up as the losers. Kudos to Tennessee and kudos to the cheerleaders of Oneida High School in Tennessee for leading the ENTIRE stadium in a pre-game prayer!

Maxwell
Guest

You’re a good man Allan. Thoroughly enjoyed that story.

Earl Lee
Guest

Question for BLACK REPUBLICANS WHY?

carol862
Guest

my mother inlaw just got a nearly new cream Jaguar by working part time off of a pc online. website link ……>> -> ONLINE WORKING OPPORTUNITY!!! <-

Tom Olvey
Guest

Col. West. I too went to UT and lived in Hess Hall. Bill Scarborough was my good friend as well. Loved the guy. Hurt so bad when I heard of his dying. Your story about Rocky Top gave me chills.