This is a quick look at part of my military service. It's part of my "Gump"-ness...
This is me in Basic Training as a Private (pay grade E1).
I enlisted as a 76Y10 Unit Supply Specialist - like Radar O'Rielly from the TV show MASH.
Six weeks into the program and I started having problems with several of the other trainees. I talked to the priest and the next day the Major called me up in front of his table in the mess hall. He said he wanted to see what a man looks like that would rather talk to a priest than talk to his drill sergeant.
I wasn't sure if he was being mean so I just stood at attention. After about 20 seconds he ordered me to return to my seat.
Four months later, as I was finishing AIT school, one of my fellow Basic Trainees said there had been an investigation in Fort Knox because of me, and an Officer and more than a dozen soldiers had been arrested in an assassination plot that had been uncovered.
Well golly, Molly – Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!!
So a couple of years later I was in the ROTC program and serving on Active Duty Training in the desert of California. My driver/assistant was Staff Sargent "Blackberry Brandy". He had taken me to Tent City for a platoon beer run, then left me standing by the side of the road as often happens to ROTC Cadets.
A Three-Star General pulled up, saw my insignia and offered me a ride part way to camp. I didn't seem right to say no to a 3 Star General, so he told me to get in the back with the gear. I couldn't believe my luck!
No one was going to believe me, and I got my camera out, but when the General saw it his face got all wrinkled and I realized it was not right to take his picture in the field, so I put my camera back. He told me to cover up my dark blood-red bag and then I sat back and enjoyed the view, sitting behind and above a 3 Star General.
It was awesome!
We arrived at a T-intersection of two dirt roads and stopped. I got out and gave the General a crisp salute. He told me to carry on and then they drove off. I never did get his picture.
I stood there in the middle of the desert, no one around, for about an hour, until I saw a jeep making its way across the shimmering desert sands. Sure enough it was SSgt Blackberry Brandy! He said that lieutenant Hiram Walker had given him the wrong grid coordinates, a story often heard by ROTC Cadets in the desert...! It was all good.
One other note: If you see my jeep above, well, SSgt Brandy and I got lost at 3:30am on the opening day of war games. It was Before Dawn Nautical Twilight when we wandered out into the middle of No Man's Land, right in the heart of the valley, before realizing we should have taken that left turn a few miles back.
I could almost hear the COM lines crackling as the pre-dawn sun pushed back the dark of night and there was this strange looking radio jeep (we had a deuce and a half canvas top for a canvas jeep top on our vehicle) sitting in the middle of the battlefield.
Yep, that was me and Sgt Blackberry Brandy. He wanted to pop a canister of smoke but I was too scared. In retrospect I wish we had...
After a slow turn-around (Sgt Brady recognized the markers for land mines) we headed back the way we came.
"Dang! You must've had an angel siting on your shoulder to get around all these land mines!" Sgt Brandy exclaimed, spitting out a blackberry seed that he had been savoring for hours.
I knew it was better not to mention that it was actually more like a hundred angles, in front, back and on both sides, lighting up each explosive device with a small flame of blue-white Heaven fire (the opposite of red-orange Hell Fire).
I learned a long time ago that most people just don't get it, they can't understand that we are not alone, so why should I try to blow their minds?
Just as we reached the foothills we got blanketed in about six inches of snow! It certainly was an experieince I will never forget!
AS for the General, he did pretty good for himself, too, eventually leading his troops into battle and gaining two more stars for his uniform!