Basic training in 1953 in the Midwest

I think I started basic training on Feb. 8, 1953. I arrived by train at Fort Custer, Battle Creek, Mich., from Auburn, Ill.

Shortly after clothing issue, I was assigned to fire guard duty. The barracks were heated by coal-fired stoves and needed manual stoking. The job: Carry buckets of coal in, ashes out 24/7. My tour was 2300 to 700. (Temperatures were in the single digits.)

Feb. 10, 1953, by train again to Fort Riley, Kan., for 16 weeks of basic training with the B Company, 10th Infantry Division, heavy weapons.

Our bivouac area was a 10-mile march from our company area. Sgt. Benoit asked Pvt. Peduzi and me if we wanted a ride there in the supply deuce-and-a-half. We accepted.


We had to dig 4-foot by 4-foot by 6-foot holes for four latrines. Lesson learned.

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