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The invention of an Army recruit

This can be hard to believe, but I do not think there was ever a doubt in my mind like a child who would one day become a soldier who served in the U.S. Army. Some of my earliest memories, with photos to confirm, are my uniform in a small with a toy gun or a U.S. flag in my hands. I even vaguely remember digging a hole in the front yard of my grandmother's house as a defensive measure in case attack. The only attack that came was from my grandmother when she saw the hole.

Throughout my childhood and pre-teens who participated in war games with my mates and friends. Among these games, movies and television, I learned a lot about small unit tactics. I learned that well-planned movements is cautious more efficient, which can never have too much ammunition, surprise your opponent is a great advantage, the pain is not a good thing (especially if you own), everyone can not be the leader, while fire and maneuver teams or individuals they are often very effective and that a direct frontal attack against a dug in position is only effective if much more numerous than the enemy.

There were, of course, obvious reasons that I and my male friends were so in jeans and military "and the Indians' game games. Born in the midst of a war the likes of which the world had never seen before or since. Many of our relatives had served overseas and talked about their experiences. The radio, television, movies and newspapers were full of stories, photos, features and even more blown films about the war. While at the same time, westerns were popular in Film and Television. Even before television took over our radio kept us enraptured mind once a week with the adventures of "The Lone Ranger."

During my adolescence had more pressing matters "Soldier" to occupy my mind. It was not my new interest in girls, football, school work, girls, driving, tennis, track, girls, search new ways to drive my parents crazy, books, chess and girls. It was only after high school to really face the idea of being in the military. This issue was resolved the first year of college. At Jacksonville State College (NY) participation was mandatory ROTC for two years, after which one can participate for two years and graduated as a Reserve second lieutenant in the Army.

Apart from having a military career that really necessary (Doctor, lawyer, chaplain, etc) which could get a direct commission to believe that the university Course Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is the least traumatic for a commission. I, of course, took the hard way, Infantry Officer Candidate School (OCS).

There is another way to get a commission that I would not recommend. When I was in college I switched back and forth seventeen miles from my hometown of Oxford with friends who were about my own start and end of classes. On one occasion an older man joined the pool for a while. He was a retired Army colonel full return to finish his studies, he was interrupted by World War II. On the way to school one morning I asked him how he got his commission, and that, from conversations, I knew he did not go through ROTC or OCS. His response was that he had been a soldier serving in the Battle of Guadalcanal. He was the only survivor of his company gave him a battlefield commission as second lieutenant in charge of the company as it was back open. Now that is the way really hard to get a commission.

It was not beyond the requirement of two years of ROTC because I took a part-time work and dropped a full time student part time. I was going to be in school and spent the four years normally required as a full time student to graduate. After five and a half when it was clear that had the required quality point average and the points required for graduation was again seriously consider the military options.

It was 1967, the Vietnam draft was in full effect and had been postponed to attend college. Knew that shortly after graduation I was going to get "Congratulations, your friends and neighbors have selected letter —-" local draft board. There has been but I had been in service for several months at the time.

I looked in all services, including the Coast Guard, spoke to his recruiter and took their tests. The only service search for agents or had an ROTC program that does not train the officers was the Army. It was not smart enough to understand at the time that this was the number of Army officers who were killed or seriously injured in Vietnam. Since I was a college graduate and spent his series of tests that were eligible for OCS if you made it through Basic and Advanced Infantry Training. At that time, it sounded like a great idea so he signed on the dotted line.

From an intellectual perspective, I knew that military life would be very different than it was accustomed, but soon I realized that when I made that agreement with the Army, which basically sell not only my soul but my mind and body as well. The change was fast, almost like a train rail switch is activated just before the train arrived and ordered me and the other passenger-train recruits in a completely different direction in life.

That was one of the few decisions of life that a person does in his life that set or define what that person will be the rest of his days. I have often thought about what a word can describe the initial years and sometimes all loved the military life was. I think the word "surreal" fits more adequately.

My initial two years of experience ROTC in college was fashion field and classroom activities. This was nothing like what was put in the active Army.

My first obstacle is jumped was to pass the medical examination, psychological evaluation and official interview Review Board. Each of which may have a paper to explain so they just say they were not particularly nice and I spent the three.

I was given a ticket for a bus ride in Montgomery, Alabama, where he was exam center located a few blocks from the station in a warehouse along the railroad tracks. Upon arrival I was assigned a bunk bed for testing three days ahead. There were no walls in place, only partitions and double-decker bunk beds, at least a couple hundred berths were in a relatively small area.

It turns out that my fellow lower bunk berth was one of the good guys from somewhere in southern Alabama. He was in a National Guard unit and had not been attending the meetings so that the unit had turned on his behalf to the draft board. He boasted that he would be safely off due to medical problems. He listed all his aliments from the vision in one eye, knee problems and several others I've long forgotten.

I saw him later on the day sitting on his bunk after our physical was completed and was not smiling. I ask him if he had turned down. Not down and in fact added insult to injury by inducing him to the Marines.

As for me things were going well, and soon found myself on a plane for the first time and went to Fort Dix, New Jersey for basic training. I remember that after landing in Philadelphia and be bused to Fort Dix was dying cold. Not being smart enough to see the weather forecast in Jew Jersey, who had taken only a short-sleeved shirt with a sweater.

It was after midnight when we got a quick meal in the dining room and a distribution center where our team issued clothing and TA50. For civilians TA50 implies that all combat equipment such as a helmet, backpack, half of the housing, dining, disaster kit and so on. We were given a barracks to sleep at about 2 am.

Luckily I have spent over a week waiting for the next basic training class to start which means not much of anything to do and, in general, being bored. Then, on Friday before going to start training on Monday, we were all standing in line at the dining room for lunch, when we had a couple of surprise visits.

This high class first sergeant skinny (7 bands) wearing a hat full of smoke the bear came walking up to us with a skinny little body in tow. Announced that it was our assigned instructor (DI) and as such was the new mother and father that the U.S. Army has seen fit to question the duration of our training base. He also told us that he had to choose a squad leader in training. When they pulled out the small forward and said that the corporal was a veteran of Vietnam and a mean son-of-bitches. He said that the corporal was the recipient of a silver star value.

The sergeant then challenged us with the treatment which would one step forward and touch your ass would be out the platoon leader in training. Shortly after this great muscle Alabama National Guard to recruit a step forward, punched in the mouth out and threw it in the ass. In fact, almost knocked him out.

There we had our practice squad leader. The only problem was that he was not the brightest bulb on the tree. In fact we realized if she had two points in their IQ test is considered smart as a rock. No last long as leader once the training started.

Early Monday morning we started the training course and were bused to our barracks and assigned rooms There were several of us to a room which means that cooperation and the organization were a need. From this moment, none of us would be able to return to what we were yesterday. We were on the threshold of becoming soldiers.

We would like to see the world differently and from a very different perspective. The world would never be a safe and comfortable place to live and raise a family. From now on we see a world of war, death and destruction made by nations that pose a potential threat to our nation. We learn of the many ways to kill other soldiers nations with our hands, knives, explosives and weapons of all kinds.

William J. Bennett, in a lecture at the U.S. Naval Academy on 24 November 1997 society broke down in sheep (most people), the wolves that eat sheep and sheep dogs to protect sheep from wolves. We training to be the shepherds of society and learning ways to protect the sheep to death. Also quickly learned that the sheep did not particularly like shepherd dogs because they were like the wolf in many ways and the sheep were afraid of them. Also, if there are no wolves in the tree line when you need them, are dangerous, not so well-mannered and annoying.

The "it needs soldiers in peace time" mentality has been around since they have not been armies. I my favorite poem "Tommy" by Rudyard Kipling says it best. "Its Tommy this and Tommy and that" Chuck him out, the brute, "but his" Salvador is " country when the guns begin to shoot. "You see, Tommy / Mr. Atkins was one of those pesky sheep dogs too.



About the Author

Mr Green has a B.S. Degree from Jacksonville State University (AL) and a J.D. Degree from Birmingham School of Law. He served in the U.S. Army from 1967 through 1987, 5 years of which were on active duty serving in Vietnam and Germany for a total of 3 years. Retired as A Reserve Major in the Military Intellegence Branch. He has worked with NASA, Defense Contracts Administration Service and USAID. He Served outside the the United States as a Civilian for approximatly 8 years mostly in the Middle East. He also worked for the University of Alabama at Birmingham AL for approximately 1 year. He is now retired.

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