My worst memory of basic training was my first run. It was the summer of 1960 at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. I recall we were about half way done with our training, and we were looking forward to our first weekend pass. Three buddies and I got on a bus to St. Louis for the weekend and I sort of remember having a great time. I say sort of, as I can't really remember getting on the bus back to post and woke up in the hospital at Fort Leonard Wood with a corpsman on each arm trying to draw blood. I came down with pneumonia and blacked out on the bus! Since I was laid up in the hospital, I was recycled to start over again after I recuperated and was ready for my second run at basic training.
My best memory of Basic Training was starting over again. I had more knowledge of what to expect, which made that second run a much better time. My new drill sergeant, Staff Sgt. Huey P. Danley, whom I will never forget, was one tough soldier, made a man out of me and shaped me into the leader I grew to be the rest of my life.
I spent 11.5 years in the Army and 21 with the Coast Guard Auxiliary Volunteer Force.