OCS at Fort Sill, 1967 Part 7

I was a damned lucky guy to have completed OCS Prep and was I ready to for the BS and games they played when we got to OCS.  There was some story that the cadre wanted to see how we stood up to stress but I think deep down there was a tradition of screwing with people that just held on no matter how hard they tried to kill it.  It was clear that the young Officers going through the FA Basic course were not screwed with but the 23 week OCS classes we were fair game. 

Early Sunday Morning, three of us walked over to the Robinson Barracks area and reported to the Brigade headquarters.  We were marched down to one of the old wooden barracks and we were told to go in and get our gear in order.  I am not sure where they came from, but we were given a mimeograph paper with the lay-out in detail.  For the three of us from OCS Prep, it was just a matter of putting our things where they were on the new sheet and then help the others get ready.  I think it took me about 15 minutes and there were guys that were never ready.  If you  came from an Infantry AIT, your worn out stuff would never pass any inspection in OCS.  The bad part was that the PX in our area was closed and there was no way to get the stuff they needed.  We tried.  The only salvation in any of this was that there was one or two of the guys that were married and their wives were in Lawton.  After some serious work, lists of the needed things were made and the wives got together and saved our butts.  It was a blessing to have them to help but I'm sure that the fact the husbands couldn't even kiss them in the parking lot was a pain worse. 

The first two weeks were a blur and we spent that time making everything shine and be so clean you could eat off the floor.  The only good thing was that the first two weeks was called Motors and most of us could drive cars and trucks and knew the difference between Diesel and Regular Gasoline.  Even the short time getting a driver's license in basic helped me know some of the forms.  I think I slept through every movie we were given and passed that phase without no sweat.  The harassment continued and I had three guys in my cubicle that no matter how hard I worked could not get it together.  I am fairly sure that the fact my stuff looked good made theirs look worse.  Day after day we would come back to our barracks to find half of the stuff thrown all over the place and mine stuff was not messed with.  There was a system of demerits given and the only way you could work off the demerits was to do parking lot tours early and what we called jarks later on. 

From the start, it was easy to see that the barracks we were in while old, were so well maintained that we could easily make them look good.  I was the floor buffer and every day the last one out of the building.  We even made our class motto have notches where the heels of our boots and shoes would go so every display was the same.  I would sneak down to the mess hall and go in a side door when my duty was done.  For some reason I never was challenged on why I was late. It took the Battery at least 15 minutes to march down and get inside the mess hall. I would put that time to good use.  We were never given demerits for the shape of the floor so I continued that duty for most of the 23 weeks.

One day the Tactical Officer (TAC Officer) came in to our area and gave us a sheet so we could do a peer rating.  We took a roster of the names and put a number by each name for how helpful we had been.  The next week we were called into the TAC Officer's office and given our Leadership grade.  Keep in mind, I was squared away, worked hard and helped anyone that needed help.  The TAC Officer gave me a 69 for my Leadership grade.  In common language that was a failing grade.  He said that I was ranked in a three way tie for 1 out of 30.  He said I was too young and too helpful.  I asked him what the scores on the Motors test were.  He said I was scored  100 out of 100 and based on that he might give me a chance.  He told me that every time my peer rating went down, my leadership grade would go up.  It took me until the end of OCS to get that grade back up in the 90's.

It didn't take us long to get our Platoon attitude in check and make a motto.  We would shout cooperate and graduate and we worked hard to overcome any one soldier's short comings.   In fact, we made a banner on the end wall that said, "Iligitimi Non- Carborundum" roughly translated to don't let those of uncertain parentage grind you down.  When we were put on a bus to go to a new area, we would always start out with the group chant.  "We hate this fucking place."  Then someone would say Give me a Positive attitude check, "We positively absolutely hate this fucking place."  I don't know if that ever got back to our Battery but a lot of the drivers were old retired guys and they laughed at us - A Lot! 

Next update will be a couple days from now and I'll talk about the Demerits, the parking lot tours and the Jark.


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