September 21, 2003

1973: You're in the Army now

Steve tells of a time his Dad volunteered for a job while in the Army when the Sarge asked if anyone had gone to college, because they were looking for intelligent people for the job. The job turned out to be unloading a shipment of typewriters. Such tale did bring back a memory of the only advice my dad gave me when I joined the Army. "Son," he said, "If they ask for volunteers to be truck drivers, pass on it." I, of course, could not understand why he told me that bit of information, but on the very first day, after we had gotten our haircuts, our uniforms, and told where we were to bed down, some Drill Sergeant asked for volunteers to be truckdrivers on the next day. Several people jumped out and raised their hands. I decided that my dad told me what he did for some reason, so I just stayed back. The Sargeant picked several fairly skinny guys, all of whom were a larger than myself. I was likely the skinniest guy in Ft. Polk* at the time as I was 6'1" and 121 lbs. The Sergeant told his five volunteers to fall out early after breakfast and be ready for their assignment.

The next day, those five were pushing wheelbarrows full of sandbags all over the place while the rest of us were busy learning how to march. I am almost sure, now, that when I my dad joined the Army, he had raised his hand that first day. I do know that his advice saved me from having to push wheelbarrows full of sandbags on my second day in the Army. I believe that episode was a lesson to all of us that it was best never to volunteer for what we thought were going to be easy jobs to get out of our duties. As for me, I was always careful about volunteering for anything. As it was, I got enough shit jobs thrown my way anyway. ;)

*I think my size was the reason I was given the M-60 machine gun to lug around instead of the 15lb M-16 all during basic training.

Posted by notGeorge at September 21, 2003 06:55 PM