Boots - check, Belt - check, Hat - check, Wife - check

My Basic Training began on 28 September 73 in BMT Squadron 3728, Flight 1312 as Dorm Chief. MaryAnn (Forgone) White’s began on 2 October 73 in BMT Squadron 3709, Flight W-145. In our twenties, we were both a little older and supposedly wiser than our fellow recruits. Everything was going as one would expect for us until our first day of Liberty, when we were let loose to explore Lackland MTC.

A chance meeting at the Skylark Club led to dancing, milk shakes, lots of conversation and a trip to the Base Skating Rink, where MaryAnn fell and was taken to Big Willie’s ER. I accompanied her, comforted her, and saw her with her long, long hair let down. That’s when this Long Island, Jewish only child, college drop-out fell in love with a Catholic, divorced, girl from a big Italian/Polish family.

MaryAnn was an Usher for all the Men’s Chapel Services and I went to them all. When she went out, her dorm mates in her Flight would tell me where she was going, so I could “accidently” run into her. We wrote to each other daily, often passionately. One day at the BX, I asked her if she could cook and she said yes. I immediately asked her if she would marry me and she said yes. I’m not sure who was more shocked by that. From then on PDA rules were ignored.

As a couple we attended Pre-Cana counseling but the Chaplains refused to marry us while we were still in Basic. But after Training Schools, a year later we did marry and have been together an amazing 41 years.

Basic was, for us, not just the beginning of our life in the Military, but also of our life together. We are grateful for both.

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