9 MAR 04
Dear Mary Beth,
Now once again we are sitting here doing nothing, this time in an auditorium. We are waiting for a briefing from the chaplain and one about health care.
The situation with my bags is getting ridiculous. They keep issuing us more and more stuff and we only have the two bags to store it in. Today we got the rest of our BDUs. We got half yesterday and the other half today, the jackets and outer shirts, because they had to sew our names on them. When I put on all my gear I feel half like a real soldier and half like someone playing one for Halloween. I got my picture taken today, I would have ordered it so I could send it to you, but the cap they gave me originally did not fit and I traded with another guy, but not until afte the picture. I’ll get some pictures later and send them.
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting waiting for the chaplain to make a speech and some weird kid named Tallon who is sitting next to me told me to tell you he said hi. He looks exactly like my friend Flynn from home who’s getting his PhD in math from Berkeley. I keep having to nudge him to wake him up. There is one guy in our group named Byrd and he’s this little guy who hates being here. He swaggers around and always rolls his eyes, he never says what he is supposed to in the formation and he’s always late. The other day he was real late and when we came back to the barracks some big guy named Futch [he actually was an MMA fighter, we sarcastically called him “Captain America”] called him out and was like “Lose the attitude” and they sort of squared off jawing at each other. No-one threw punches, Byrd because he knew he’d get f*cked up and Futch because he didn’t want to get an Article 15, which is like a Courts Martial lite, where they dock your pay and bust you down a rank.
[I know this sounds like an excuse, but there was no doubt Futch could have killed him. Also, you really don’t want to get in trouble for fighting during basic training. You will lose a LOT of money]
Then yesterday when we were in fomation standing at parade rest, Byrd calls over the head of another group, 633, this kid they call “Fluffer” and was like “Yo, I hear you’re the one who’s bisexual.” Fluffer says, “Huh?” and Byrd says, “Yeah, you’re the faggot of the company.” Fluffer said something back and I told them to knock it off, but it was funny as hell.
Holy Sh*t! Something awesome just happened! We are done processing so all we do now is stand around the barracks and wait, like the weekend, but with no phone calling. Then for some reason the drill sergeant comes in. I was by the laundry room writing you this letter, but when you hear someone call “At Ease” you have to jump to your feet. So he calls out “Byrd?” And no response. Then someone says “He’s in his bed, drill sergeant.” Which didn’t make any sense because being in your bed is a big no-no during the day. So the drill sergeant yells out “Well wake him up!” We walked over but he wouldn’t get up. In fact, he pulled the covers over his head. So the drill sergeant and another sergeant run over, grab the mattress (he’s on the top bunk) and drop him on the floor. He got up and was like “F*ck you, motherf*ckers, you ain’t my daddy,” to the sergeants. So the one sergeant said, “F*ck this, go call the MPs” That got him moving and they took him away.
Then he came back alter and now he has to move his stuff into the crazy barracks and probably wear the orange vest.
[Later I saw him handing out spoons at the chow hall, looking defeated. Most likely they kept him there for another 4 weeks, then he gave up and they started him in basic with another group, or if he was still recalcitrant, they sent him home]
We took our PT test this morning and it was f*cking freezing out. We all stood in a big formation and they made a half hearted attempt to stretch us out then we just stood around in the cold. Then we did our 13 pushups and 17 situps. They stopped us after this number We ran the mile run at a controlled pace. Most guys were bunched up behind the drill sergeant who ran first (7:30 pace), and there was another drill sergeant in the back (8:30 pace). You had to stay between them. If you fell behind the back one, you were out. A lot of guys ended up out and are in the fitness unit now. Spud aka Malcolm Tex, and my bunkmate, who is the only white kid in the world named Tyson were among them. I kind of hope they get my bunkmate out of there, he’s a nice guy but I want the bottom bunk.