As promised, I’m gonna tell you a few of my stories (actual events) while I attended Basic Training.
When I arrived at Fort Jackson, S.C. for my training, it was dark and mysterious looking. Also quiet and civil. Until we unloaded off the bus that brought us (men and women) to the doorsteps of reception station. Didn’t even knew what that meant. After lining up, we were greeted by the drill sergeants and then as cool as they welcomed us all, they told us to begin separating allowed stuff from not allowed stuff. Then, with all the not allowed stuff, it was disposed into a large garbage can, never to be seen again. ‘Welcome to the military’, I said in my mind as we proceeded to be processed in. Now the men were separated from the women at this point because they have assigned barracks for them and the women have their own assigned to them. No fraternization, no intimate or late night hooligans. They made sure of that: by spacing us quite a great distance from each other. It was like there was no women for the men and for the men, there was no women. Out of sight, out of mind.
So here we ladies are. 50 of us living in an archaic 1940’s looking barracks that looked preserved for posterity. Twenty- five living on the first floor, twenty-five living on the second floor. So we’re being briefed on things we need to adhere, care packages was among the topic. Absolutely no exception were we to have ‘sweets’ (hard candies, cookies, cakes, etc- you know) in the care package or in your possession. So here we are into the third week if boot camp. At the end of our day, we gather for our mail and stuff.
The mail was distributed and all packages. The drill sergeants went to their office as usual before leaving. I was on the second floor when it all happened. Immediately, we heard the serious tone of the drill sergeants as we huddled into formation on the first floor. As he walked menacingly between the lines on the floor’s aisle, he asked us, “who does this candy wrapper belong to?”. All the offender had to do was confess: she had the candy and we could have gone on with our business. So after waiting and hearing all these women gripe on the air pleading with whoever the individual was who got the candy to just come forward, the drill sergeant came back with his own punishing resolution.
“All right”, he begins. “No one wants to come forward. OK.”
In my head I’m like, “ok? So you’re gonna let this slide, right?” Then his voice I declare went two octaves down as he commanded us “Half right face!” Next thing unpleasing was we all had to do pushups- wait, not just hand to floor pushups- with our toes on top of the footlockers near every bed. Every one of us was positioned so that we shared a corner footlocker in order to do it. And it was excruciatingly painful as we counted off. I think we got to 5 or something before the offender finally admitted it had came from her. There was only four care packages at that time. Since that incident, I told my folks don’t send me any care packages.
That was an interesting way to start off boot camp. Eventually that lady left boot camp. Yeah, I know I thought once you signed up yours stuck, but somehow she and the drill sergeants found a loophole and she left on a general discharge.
Well, I’ve got more stories to come. Someday I’ll read your stories too.