Part 8

In 1967 I went through Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  They had high standards and absolutely no compassion for the Candidates.  In fact there was a system that allowed the worst to come out in people and really didn't do much but harass people.  I came to the Robinson Barracks area after completing an OCS Prep class.  I knew what to expect and it was said that I could put a shine on a sidewalk with a Hershey bar and a brick.  In spite of that, it seems that every time I turned around someone wanted to give me a paper slip with Demerits to keep me from being allowed to relax a little on the weekends.

The first punishment tour was what they called the Parking lot.  I don't think there was anyone that didn't go on that first punishment tour.  In fact I think the Tactical Officers (Tac Officers) looked at the data posted in the Orderly room and found reasons to pass out enough demerits to get everyone in on the fun.  I am not sure what was my offense was after the time between now and then.  All I know is that we went over to the Orderly room and drew our M-14's for the event.  We wore our old boots and worse Fatigues for the day.  We were marched around the parade field and made enough dust to plug up everyone's sinuses and make cleaning the M-14's an hour long project. As much as I loved the M-14 in basic, I grew to hate it in OCS.  In fact, we never fired the damn things in AIT or OCS. The worse part of the entire parking lot tour was that one big long legged guy started off on his right foot not his left like everyone else.  Guess who knocked the heel off my boot.  As busy as we were there was just almost no way to get a new pair let alone make them shine to OCS standards.   The guy who knocked off my heel had just purchased a new pair of Corcoran Jump Boots and they were too small for him.  He had blisters so bad he had to go on sick call.  The good news was that they just fit me and he gave them to me.  They fit just about as good as any pair of boots I ever owned.  I could spit shine the toes of those boots and almost blind people on a sunny day.

I managed to stay off the too many demerit list for the next parking lot tour, but the first Jark was almost mandatory.  From the front gate of Robinson barracks it was 2.2 miles to the foot of Medicine Bluff-4 (MB4) and we walked in a funny stiff legged march they called the Adjutant Walk.  At the foot of MB4 we broke ranks and ran or trotted up the bluff. Then we would march back to our Barracks.  It was a tradition that the first time we went up MB4 we picked up a rock and carried it back to our Area.  We would go over to the bunk of someone we knew and leave it in their bed.  God only knows what happened to the rocks and I'm sure that MB4 kept getting shorter.  I don't a memory of the person I gifted the rock with. 

From that weekend on, I managed to stay just under the number of demerits it took to make a repeat trip.  I shut up and didn't tell anyone for fear that someone might tell the TAC officers and get me a bunch of trips.  I continues to polish my boots, Brasso my brass and wear a new uniform as much as I could.   In fact Sundays were great when I could go over to the Day Room and eat a couple dollars worth of Fried Pies and drink Coffee.  When everyone else or nearly everyone else went for a Jark I would take a well deserved nap.  

One Sunday morning one of the guys in our Cubicle went to the day room and brought a Baby Ruth Candy Bar back to the barracks.  Food was highly discouraged as it was bound to attract bugs and that was the last thing we needed.  My buddy was right in the middle of eating that damned candy bar when someone downstairs called "attention."  Rather than get caught with that evidence he stuffed the wrapper in a 3 Inch binder on the desk.  It was where we were to store handouts from our training classes but he had one that was empty.  Who ever it was downstairs didn't come up stairs and after he left the candy rapper got put in a trash can that was emptied every day. 

Well to make a long story out of a short one, that damned candy wrapper had one small piece of chocolate and a half of a peanut in it and they fell out on the desk.  The binder was just enough out of alignment to catch the TAC Officer's attention the next day when he walked through the barracks.  He found that damned sliver of chocolate and that half of a peanut.  There on the Desk was a 6X6 for unauthorized food in the barracks.  That was six weeks of no pass and 6 jarks.  The guy that put the candy wrapper there had a wife in Lawton and had not been home for over 8 weeks.  He begged us to split the punishment and I took a 2X2.  I really didn't have any one to see in Lawton so other than the Jarks it was not a big deal to me.   The only bad part of the entire mess is that my buddy failed a test the next week and was "Set Back" to a class that had to go through the Meteorological Instruction to pass the MET + VE test.  I have no clue if he ever graduated  What that meant was that I was all the way up to 3 trips up that damned hill.  If that wasn't a record, it had to be close.  I am pretty sure that One Parking Lot and One Jark would have been a record.

When we were middle class about to turn upper class, My parents brought a Volvo dawn for me to have if I was free on the weekend.  Was that ever a game changer for me.  I worked doubly hard to get free of the Post on the weekend and made it pretty much through the rest of OCS.  The car was given a temporary permit when it first got there and I was given a booklet on what the inspections to get a permit was.   Damn, I had never had a car with seat belts and the Volvo was no exception.  The first weekend I free I went to a local salvage and they let me look through the wrecks for a set.  O found a shoulder strap set but no lap belt.  I put them in and when the Inspector asked about seat belts at the MP station I showed him the shoulder strap.  I got my post sticker and moved on smartly.

The real reason I loved the Volvo was it gave me the freedom to go to Wichita Falls on Saturday.   Right there on the north side of town was a Ramada Inn with a swimming pool and next door was a Mexican Restaurant.  That Restaurant had a wonderful platter of food and a giant mug of beer that just  filled me up and caused sleep like there was no tomorrow.  I would get up on Sunday morning, read the paper, drink coffee and them go for a swim.  It was pure heaven for me.  I generally took three or four guys with me and we would go back to Lawton, OK and stop at a Pancake house on our way back in to the barracks.  Then it was another week of doing what we could do and look good doing it. 


No comments:

Post a Comment