Dear Mary Beth,
Sorry about the incredibly folded letter. They made us change out of our BDUs and into PT clothes and the shorts pocket is really small. We are wasting an amazing amount of time right now. Before lunch, the drill sergeant had us clean out our wall locker. Now a new drill sergeant took over and made us clean them again. Naturally, most people’s are already clean. So guys are fooling around, one guy went to sleep inside of his and got caught and had to do pushups. Other guys got yelled at for writing letters, so I am hiding in the laundry room bringing down sheets of paper one at a time. We have a sheet with the description of how everything must go in the lockers. There are hangers, a shelf and drawers. It is such a pain in the ass because almost nothing goes on the shelf, but the drawers have stuff crammed into them. Not at all the way anyone intelligent would set it up for convenience. At one point, they made it so that you could hang your dirty PT clothes, washcloth and towel on your wall locker and your laundry bag on the end of your bunk. But the standards to which these things have to be hung, tied and/or folded is so exacting that there is no time. [specifying for the laundry bag how many times the drawstring has to go around the top of the bag and the knot that has to be tied at the top] So you leave all your dirty clothes piled up with your wet towel in your locker so you never have to mess anything on the outside up.
Yesterday (Saturday) was an amazing day. We did two obstacle courses. One was traditional, the kind you say “ready, set, go” and go through, the other kind was more of a challenge course where 20 of us and a drill sergeant went through. We would go one or two at a time across each obstacle and proceed to the next one. I was glad to see that I could still climb a rope with no legs and do monkey bars even though I hadn’t done either in 10 years [more like 5]. Here’s the course (1st one)
We did it once, ten at a time, the whole company, and it took about six minutes, but was really exhausting, especially the barbed wire and the crawling in the dirt. Then we did it as a platoon, six guys at random from each one. Our six guys won, so we won. We are the Demons. The other platoons are the Wolverines, the Predators and the Wolfpack. We beat our archrivals of first platoon, they finished last. They are the other special forces recruit platoon.
I was totally and completely caked with sand, sweat and mud by the time we were done. I felt like a sugar cookie. We went back to our barracks, but the drill sergeant wouldn’t let us take showers, so I had to go to the PX and the barber all filthy. We did put on clean clothes but the barber was pissed. My head was full of sand and it was too much to brush out. At the PX I got more letters so I can write you on nice papers.
Back to writing things back to all the stuff you wrote me two weeks ago so I can catch up.
3/8 Let me know what you are reading. The cool thing about being here is I write more, letters and otherwise than I did at home becasue there are so few other distractions. It feels like jail, how my only diversion is to secretly carry a little piece of paper to write on. I think if they gave us all of our freedoms at once, I’d go crazy. I don’t know what I would do first. Besides see you of course.
3/9 I know we have to get more pictures taken. Take some of yourself in provocative poses and send them to me. In an envelope not a package, they don’t look at envelopes.
[this was true, since envelopes were considered “mail” and you are not allowed to look at other people’s mail. Packages are not considered mail. But if you’re about to go thru basic training, I would err on the safe side and get some regular pictures first and see if the drill sergeants try to look at them]
3/10 – Now I have a little bit more experience making the bed but no time, so I still sleep on top. We have a dust cover that I pull over myself if I’m cold. It’s like a wool blanket. Every week they launder our sheets which we never use and leave the dirty blankets. I love the Army.
[When you are in PLDC (Professional Leaders Development Course), which is now called WLC (Warrior Leader Course), they play the same silly games of devising an unrealistic wall locker scheme and expecting you to adhere to it. Also, everyone sleeps on the floor so they won’t mess up their beds.]
Bonus – We are all like 8 year olds once again. The new game because we have to roll our socks is to take the sock rolls and try to throw them at each other’s balls. It’s fun. You should try it sometime. Layton missed me so I ambushed him and hit him in his nuts.
3/14 I have not given ##### or ##### my address, but I will soon. Do you know the zip code in #####? Remember if you give anyone my address give them the new correct one, not the one I fucked up giving you over the phone when you were drunk.
I have to go now, but I wlll be up to date answering your letters in tomorrow’s edition.