An Army of One (+29)
I used to be a soldier. Every now and then I get these flashbacks (not war type thank goodness) of my life and times as an employee of the Uncle’s Army. Here is one brief excursion I went on while living on the west coast.
Ah, the memories:
At 5’5” I weighed in at a scale-breaking 110 lbs. While some said I was tough as nails, I was a far cry from She-Ra. I was stationed at Ft. Ord. Ca (they fool you with the beautiful locale) attached to an Infantry unit in the Signal Battalion. Yes, I was the one who made sure you had phone service and also made sure to eavesdrop when bored.
I personally would like to slay the person who decided that 30 mile road marches build character, strength and a positive attitude. I’m sure he was the one who rode in a jeep with a female driver (that’s another story because I was that driver). We (my platoon) were tasked with a lovely stroll through the hills of our base. Serious… Walk up, down, around the damn base in the wooded parts. I have yet to figure out the necessity of a 30 mile road march.
We met up (they call it ridiculous names like formation, I call it meeting up when sane people are asleep) at O’Dark thirty and were sectioned off into groups. Of course, I get in the group that everyone is 5’10 and taller.
Yes, I see the hand writing on the wall. My four steps to their two. Then they test to make sure your rucksack (that’s backpack for you non-military types) weighed at least 35 pounds. If not, you got sandbags. I got two sandbags. I had packed socks, washcloths and cookies.
Off we go. Hup-two-three-four. Oh we are all gung ho, marching proud as can be. About half way in, my legs were crying. No I am serious. I actually heard them say, “If you do not sit down now, we will run away..Without your body attached”. I ignored the cramps, sweat in my eyes and kept pushing onward. No way on God’s green earth I would stop and have the guys talking about me. Yes, they are brutal like that.
By mile 25, I saw Jesus twice, called for my Momma a half dozen times, threatened to kill the guy behind me if he pushed me one more time. My little back was being held together with sweat and dirt. One push from my heel-stepping buddy would have sent me face down in the dirt. I saw the jeep ahead (with the asinine rule maker I’m sure) and knew we were home free. There is no recollection of actually stopping. I think my legs moved invisibly for a good three days afterwards. I had blisters on top off blisters. My face was red as a beet, and I smelled like a jungle monkey. I do recall laying in the parking lot for a good hour trying to will some strength into my legs.
While in the throes of this flashback, I wondered how in the hell did I ever keep up with all of the GI Joes?
Then the answer came to me. It was because of this snazzy award 10 years earlier.
The old President’s Physical Fitness award. Now I know why they gave those out.
Subliminal things really preparing us for battle. Well, probably not but it sounded good.