Part 5

This is after the rifle range and I had earned a pass.  I went beyond the pass limits to go to Pruitt Arkansas but I figured what the hell.  When I got to my Grandparents house, my dad asked me to come outside and talk.  He had been told by my girl friend's uncle that Donna had married a sailor.  Had I known that, I would not have sent her any money I had saved from my first pay day.  I wasn't crushed because during the time I was in the Army she had only written me one letter and that was to ask for money. She said she was pregnant and Dad said she told her family that it was the Sailor's kid.  I went back to Basic training with a renewed feeling that I had things to do and a new future.

When I managed to get back to my Basic Training Company after my trip to the Ozarks, I was one dehydrated guy and had a headache that felt like it could kill.  About the time three aspirins kicked in, a group of guys that went to Springfield on the bus with me showed up.  There were black eyes and bruises all over them.  The Guy I had pulled KP for took off his Class "A" Jacket and all that was left of his shirt was the collar and it had just enough of the collar to tie a tie on.  When he took off his hat the top of his head was the home to new stitches and what little hair he had was shaved like a monk. 

The group went to a cowboy bar in Springfield and harsh word were exchanges with some of the locals over a girl and when one of the heroes shouted "Kiahaa" and took the hand to hand stance he was promptly hit over the head with a beer bottle.  From there, the fight spilled out into the street and the soldiers were promptly ass kicked and sent packing.  Only Weldon, my KP Friend had to go to the Hospital. He seemed to be wounded with a 40mm beer bottle at least half full.  Because the guys got back in time for their passes to end, they weren't punished for the fight.

The next morning, the Company commander called several of us over to his jeep and we were asked if we would wanted to go to Officer Candidate School?   He told us that if we did, we needed to sign some form he had.  I figured that I had little else to do so I did.  After we signed the paper he told us that we would have to go before a board of officers in a couple of days.  If accepted we would have to spend 23 weeks in OCS and then sign up for an additional 24 months.  I figured out that it would give me enough months to finish my college on the GI Bill and besides, that little Police Action in Vietnam would surely be over soon.  Wrong!

A couple of days later we were all spit shined up and told to report to  the day room over at the 2nd Brigade Headquarters.   Sir, Private Petty Reporting as Ordered...  The senior officer returned my salute and I was told to take a seat.  The asked me a couple of questions and then the question of the day was asked.  If selected, what OCS would I like to attend.  I had been told in ROTC that I should go to the sound of the guns and when I saw the Field Artillery Brass on the senior officer I told them that Field Artillery was my first choice and Infantry was my second.    When we got back to our barracks, we were told that about half of us had been selected to go on in the process.  I was immediately scheduled for a Pre Commissioning Physical over at the Hospital.  That process took a couple of days and when I got back to the Company, I found out that they were out in the field on Bivouac.  I was sent over to the Mess hall to load the truck to take the evening meal out to the field.  I went out with the mess team and fed my friends.  They told me stories of throwing the grenades and the live fire assault course.  I was kind of bummed but when I got to go back to the barracks to sleep. I promptly got over it.

The next week our Drill Sergeant asked us if we wanted to be a drill team for a football game the next weekend.  For the next couple of days we practiced and drilled.  We could do the Queen Anne's Salute and at least looked like we knew what to do.  Sure enough the next weekend we were inspected and loaded into a couple of Vans and taken to Springfield where there was a football game. We did a great job and the crowd clapped for us.  It impressed the drill Sergeant so much that we were taken to a liquor store and allowed to have a beer (or two) on the way back. 

I went in to the Orderly room on Pay day and because I knew where to look I saw the board with the points applied.  I saw that I had been credited for the bivouac and the hand grenades.  There was even an automatic weapons score that I had no clue had been done.  There was a string of 10s across the board and the only one short was a 9 1/2 for the rifle range.  It looked like a perfect run of tens and I noticed that there was a soldier named Burden that had the same score except he had a 10 for the rifle range.  I went over that day and told him that he must be a hell of a soldier to be perfect.  He had no clue what I was talking about.  I told him about the score board and his perfect run.  We shook hands and went back on our way. 

When we got to the end of Basic, a select few were promoted to PVT E2 and I saw that I was on that list.  I also saw that PVT E2 Burden was on that list also.  Shortly after that. The orders for Advanced Individual Training were posted.  My name was listed for Fort Lee, VA.  I went over to the orderly room and asked what had happened to the OCS orders.  I was told to hang tight and there would be orders for Fort Sill sent over.  I missed the bus to the Airport for the trip to Fort Lee and was told to get my butt on the bus for Fort Sill.  I did not have any orders in hand but they were to be at Fort Sill. It wasn't the first lie I was told in my Military Career but one that almost cost me a trip to OCS.
Tomorrow Advanced Individual Training (AIT)

PVT E-2 Mud

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