Letter From Basic Training – March 8, 2004

Monday
3/8/04

      Today was horribly mis-spent.  We woke up at four, stood outside in formation, ate breakfast, got issued BDUs (all the camoflage stuff) and boots, hats, glove, you name it.  We had to inventory a lot of our stuff in the slowest, most time consuming process possible.  We poured all of our stuff out into a bin and then held items up as the sergeant called them out.  Then we put them in our laundry bag.

[Get used to this method of issue/inspection/packing.  The US Army – where a few morons ruin it for everyone]

 There’s this kid they call Gump who’s kind of inbred, always has his mouth hanging open and talks slow like Forest Gump.  Gump would always hold up the wrong thing.  The sergeant would say “two gloves” and Gump would hold up his socks.  I think he was excited to finally be getting clothes of his own.  There’s another kid who’s only 17 who they call “Pyle” like Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket, only he’s not really a screwup and he’s not suicidal or anything, he’s just a goofy exuberant kid who seems to be psyched to that he’s away from home for the first time.

[looking back, I get that he’s supposed to be Gomer Pyle, the namesake of Leonard “Private Pyle” Lawrence from FMJ.  At the time, I’d seen Full Metal Jacket 50 times, but never seen the Andy Griffith show]

  Other characters are a big black guy called Jolly Green Giant, a little annoying putz they call Malcolm Tex or Spud, a guy called Captain America, this big Asian guy they call Kong, and others with nicknames like High Times, Sweetheart, and Perv.  I don’t have a nickname yet, but I hope I get a good one and not a shitty one.

[I wonder how many of these nicknames gotten in the first week of the Army followed the guys through their careers?  I’m sure many were quickly forgotten]

    After we got all our gear we had to lug it back in our laundry bags across the reception area to our barracks, then change out of our sweats and into our shorts and t-shirts.  Georgia is chilly in March until like 9-10 AM then it gets hotter, but its still not bad at all.

[Wait til April…]

    After lunch, we sat in this big financial meeting where if you didn’t have a bank account or yours was f*cked up they set one up for you.  This took hours.  They also set us up with one-on-one meetings with people to make sure our contracts were correct.  I signed up for the Montgomery GI Bill.  108 days till I can see you, 1819 till my enlistment is up, 7294 until I retire with full benefits.  We’ll see about that last one.
    Then we had this long presentation from the first sergeant of the company, and the company commander, a captain who’s about my age.  They both made speeches trying to tie in the importance of keeping your stuff neat and tidy and not winding up killed when you go to war. The captain’s was really inspiring tellng this whole dramatic story that had us on the edge of our seats.  Afterwards a few guys had tears in their eyes, when he was talking about lack of discipline leading to some mother, father or wife being without their soldier. Then he said any questions and about 5 kids asked if they could go to the latrine.  Oh well.  Way to ruin the moment.

[This captain had never been deployed anywhere.  I’d like to take a dump on his head, the big phony.  On the other hand, he was a hell of a public speaker]

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