Learning humility during pugil-stick training

I took basic training in 1968 at Fort Polk, La., also known as "Tigerland." Like the majority of us there, I had no clue what to expect.

I had a drill instructor that I will never forget, Staff Sgt. McClung. He was a Vietnam combat veteran and taught us everything from how to make our bunk to field stripping and reassembling our issued M-16s blindfolded. We learned camaraderie and never ever to leave anyone behind.

I really have no bad memories of my basic training, although I was taught a valuable lesson during pugil-stick training. Being the badass I thought I was, I beat the first soldier pretty easily, so the drill instructor put two soldiers in the circle with me. Beating them both was a little harder. I was feeling full of myself when the drill instructor then put four soldiers in the circle with me. Now the drill instructor was smirking, and needless to say, I got the worst beating I ever had.

After basic was over my next training was at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to become a combat medic.

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