Wednesday, March 16, 2005

basic training (part 2)

We were rudely awakened the next morning before sun up, dressed and took our place in line outside the mess hall while it was still dark. I wasn't used to eating breakfast at night. I expected to be issued uniforms and shipped over to the training facility that day, but we hung around the barracks for several days before trading our civilian clothes for the Army's olive drab. I was beginning to understand the "hurry up and wait" phenomenon, of which my uncle Bob Zielke (a Korean War veteran) warned me.

It seems the Army was drafting so many boys (40,000 the month I was drafted) that there was a bottle neck in the flow of bodies into the training area. So we laid around the barracks, went to the movies, the px, etc. for days before anything happened. Finally it was announced that we couldn't start basic training there; it was just too crowded. We were divided into three groups. One group was flown to Ft. Lewis, Washington, another to Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and the group I fell into went to Ft. Hood, Texas. After a short bus ride to the Monterey Airport we boarded a small propeller driven craft from Neptune Airlines, and after an engine coughed, sputtered, and caught on fire, we were finally airborne for a turbulent flight to the Lone Star State. Once again, we arrived in the middle of the night and went through the same procedure as at Ft. Ord.

I was drafted on Dec. 1, 1965 and by the time I arrived at Ft. Hood it was just before Christmas. The Army, the efficient organization they are, decided to let us go home for Christmas and gave us a week of leave. So, onto the Greyhound bus we go, spending two and a half days on the road to Los Angeles, two days home for Christmas, then back to Texas arriving, you guessed it, around midnight. The next morning at 5:00 am we started basic training in earnest.


Envoy-ette said...

You were going in just as my dad was coming out. 1945-1965. He saw alot...WWII in the Pacific, invasion of Korea, Vietnam, and two nuclear blasts on Bikini and Johnson Island. He was there...and I wish I had asked him more questions before he died at the young age of 59. I'm glad you're documenting your military experience through blogging.

wally said...

Your dad had a more interesting military career than mine. Although I served during the Vietnam era, I never had to go there.