Having been raised a city boy in a home with no guns and having never fired one, my first day at the rifle range in August 1962 made me the laughingstock of my company. After the first couple of rounds fired from my M-1, I was ready to quit. At the end of the day, I had a real shiner from the recoil and from my right thumb knuckle hitting my right cheek. I heard about it the rest of basic training. I did qualify on a second try.
My first assignment at Fort Sill, Okla. I was a mech helper (630). I was the first sergeant driver and was assigned a .45-caliber automatic. My first guard duty inspection was halted when a second lieutenant had the sergeant of the guard go to the arms room to clarify my assigned weapon.