On Monday 9th November 1942 Eugene Preston Rosser had been working in Casper, Wyoming with the Stanolind Oil and Gas Company. Rosser was the new assistant to Marion Tate, general superintendent of the Rocky Mountain division of Noble Drilling Corporation. Rosser, like all oilmen at this time, was under pressure to find more oil for the allied war effort. At the coffee shop Rosser was having coffee with the Stanolind boys when he was summoned to the telephone.
Tate's secretary informed him that Tulsa was calling and that it would be better if he took the call in his office.
"What's up now" thought Rosser.
Rosser excused himself and returned to his office and the operator connected the call. The other end of the line was Ed Holt who had been in the meeting with Philip Southwell.
"Gene" said Holt "Lloyd wants you to come to Tulsa right away. He says pack up everything, bring Bernice and the baby and be in Tulsa by Friday morning."
That meant he only had four days to complete his immediate work in Casper and pack the whole family's belongings up. Train travel was difficult as everyone was moving around engaged in some sort of war work. Rosser immediately called his wife Bernice and told of his summons to report to headquarters. Three days later they left Casper and drove to Alvin, Texas to visit Bernice's mother whilst Rosser continued by train to Tulsa, he arrived Friday morning November 13th 1942.
He found Holt and Whitley Stark, one of Noble's top truck drivers, waiting for him.
Gene asked "What's the deal?". Holt told him that Lloyd Noble could not be in Tulsa but wanted to meet him in Ardmore the following day. "What the hell does he want me about?" said Rosser.
"That's something Lloyd will tell you tomorrow. He has the details." said Holt. Holt told Rosser to wait as he had a job to do but will return soon. Rosser waited in Headquarters and eventually Holt returned two hours later and moving down the hall rapidly, said "Come on let's go".
"Where the hell are we going" said Rosser. "You and I are going to the International Harvester place at Whitney and select some trucks and winch equipment to go with four rigs we are sending to a foreign country." Rosser now had a hint of what this was all about, but why the secrecy.
Rosser made a reservation on the train to Madill, Oklahoma and called the Ardmore office to have someone meet him at the station on his arrival at 4am on Saturday morning. He was met at Madill as arranged and driven to Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Signalling Rosser to his office, Noble inquired about the trip to Casper. Then leaning back in his office chair with his feet on the desk and pausing to nibble on the unlighted cigar he held in one hand, Noble asked:
"Gene, how would you like to take four drilling rigs to the British Isles?" Gene's knowledge of geography wasn't very extensive, he asked "Where the hell are the British Isles?" Noble informed him that he'll soon find out if he agrees to take the job and that he wanted him to take four rigs there for the purpose of drilling 100 shallow wells ranging from 2300 to 2500 feet. He said that Ed [Holt] and I would like you to take charge of the project and manage the drilling operation. Noble said:
"The work is going to be in a war zone and you will be working under war conditions and restrictions. It's going to be a really tough job. The British outfit we'll be working for is going to furnish the drilling equipment which we will buy new for them in this country. We will select the type of equipment and recruit the drilling crews who will be on our payroll as Noble Drilling Corporation's employees and subject to our supervision."
Noble went on to say that they would be working with the Fain-Porter Drilling Company. He continued:
"If you take the job, you should get busy right away recruiting the drilling crews because that's going to be tough. Available good men are hard to find, but I want every man who agrees to go to be told the facts of the job. I want them to know exactly what they are getting into. They are going into a war zone under severe wartime restrictions. Man power in the oil fields is getting short, but the men we talk to must know the facts of the job. We must not misrepresent the situation in any way."
Rosser was surprised and somewhat overawed at what he was hearing. Noble told Rosser that they would be running the operation, but that the whole deal is a highly secret matter. If the Germans ever found out where the drilling site was, they would, of course give it a hell of a bombing. Noble said that even he didn't know where the site actually was.
Finally Rosser said to Noble " Mr Noble, let me ask you one more question. Knowing what you know about this deal, and I guess you have told me all that you do know about it, would you take the job if you were me?"
Lloyd Noble's quick response was "I certainly would."
"All right" said Gene "I'll take it then, what's the first thing we're supposed to do?"
"As I said" Noble replied, " I think the first thing for you to do is to get started on a recruiting campaign. Ed Holt has convinced the British that four National 50 rigs with utilized draw works equipped with 87 ft Jack-knife masts working two four-man crews on twelve hour tours will get the job done."
Noble informed Rosser that they have priority over the military and should be able to defer men from military service. He told Rosser that it was up to him to recruit every man except one and that man was Don Walker.
So it was that Gene Rosser and Don Walker met in Lloyd Noble's office on the 24th November 1942 to begin the recruitment of 'The Roughnecks of Sherwood Forest".