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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Monday, March 13, 2006

KS - marching

3- It was late summer of 1959 and this segment continues my military file folder of memories. Contained is my immunization certificate that I carried with me through all three years of service. This was a record of all shots I received to ward off a multiplicity of germs and viruses. They should have had one to keep me from moral transgressions, because the results of these were starting to take their toll – a fact of which I was only slightly aware. I must not have gone totally heathen until later though, because in the file is an ‘order of service’ pamphlet from one of the post chapels dated 30 August 1959 – that would have been about halfway through basic training.

No experience that I had thus far endured in my life had prepared me for basic training. Being very naïve I had assumed that it would just be some exercises and marching – surely that wouldn’t be too tough. We did a bit of marching in high school ROTC, I was in the drum and bugle corps part of that group. We were “affectionately” called the drunk and bungle boys, and to a degree that name described this group’s expertise.

Our high school ROTC unit did “march” in at least one Christmas parade in downtown Augusta. The drum part of the unit didn’t sound horribly awful, but the required bugling came out sounding like a mass gathering of wounded crows – with an attitude! My position was as a bugler and a fill-in on the bass drum. My drum work wasn’t too horrible but my bugling was an embarrassment – even to my very low standards. Low standards also applied to my expertise at marching.

But then came army basic training and we learned to march to much more demanding standards, with many more consequences if you did not. Besides the nose to nose yelling, screaming and insistence that you were a lower form of life than any worm in existence, they had forms of punishment work that would take up most of a recruit’s waking hours and a lot of the ones that they should be sleeping.

The aforementioned lower gradient words that the sergeants used were already in the vocabularies of many of the recruits – unless they were just fast learners and picked them up from the ones in charge. It seemed that one of the requirements for being a sergeant was to be able to cuss a “blue streak” and enjoy doing it. If the officers needed some serious cussing done, they would call on certain ones that were proficient and they would excuse themselves before the real foulness started. Some language degradations started happening on my part as well, but I don’t remember the words getting really discolored until a year or so later in my military career.

TBC - ec


Blogger Bonita said...

Seems like our military today is having a tougher time finding good recruits today. Many of our youth are just too 'out of shape' to meet enlistment requirements:

3/13/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I'm not at all disappointed that I missed such goings-on.

3/13/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - Our country in general is 'out of shape' - physically, yes, but the worst is spiritually.

AC - I would not have been disappointed if I had missed it either - but didn't want to take a chance on getting called up later. ec

3/13/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Lis said...

I wonder what those "cussing fellow's" grandma's and mom's might have done to remedy the situation.......tobasco? soap? duct tape? LOL.
Once when my son was about 6 he heard a co-worker of his father's cuss a blue streak and promptly covered his ears. When the man asked Buddy what was wrong he boldly told the man that bad words he was using were damaging his hearing. From the mouths of babes!!!

3/13/2006 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

lis - Most of those cussers would have benefited from any of those solutions - especially duct tape! Great story about your son, you must have trained him right. :) ec

3/14/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Mr Eddie ~Seems as though it was not a whole lot of fun. But despite all the cussing and marching etc you got through it all OK. Cheers, Merle.

3/16/2006 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

merle - We made it through and were different on the other side of it - some for the better and some not. ec

3/16/2006 09:53:00 AM  

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