Shorten Basic and 67 years later

Fort Ord, California, February 1948, we were assigned to 'M' of the 4th Infantry Div.

Our first day we were told normally Basic was 13 weeks, but because fear of war with Russia the time had been shorted to 8 weeks.

The third week in, we were cleaning the Cosmoline (a rust inhibitor) off of our rifles and the next day at reveille I was washing up and noticed all of my blood veins on the right arm were red.

After we had roll call, I approached our Platoon Sergeant and showed him my arm. He said I had blood poison and to go to the dispensary after breakfast.

After you return, you will be the barracks latrine orderly.

Penicillin was new then, so I had to report daily there for shots so the Latrine orderly was my basic training for the last five weeks.

Sixty eight years later, I was remodeling a bath room for a Family in Chula Vista, California and the male owner asked me if I had ever been in the service. I told him I was in the Army for six years Korean War time. He said where did I take Basic? Fort Ord was my answer.

Next, he said. "What year?" "Feb. 1948", I said. Next he said he was there too, that time as he had spent the first three years of his 20 in the Army then re-joined in the Navy the rest of his career. Then he said he didn't know what outfit he was in at the time, but it was way down at the end of the line of barracks.

I thought to myself we were in the same Company. So I told him that was Company 'M' of the 22nd Infantry. All of a sudden His wife left the room and returned with a rolled up paper which turned out to be a photograph of the Company when Basic was finished. There we both were in it, he with the taller guys in the rear row and I was at the other end second row up. That was a real shocker too.

His name was Ray Kerr. He spent his Army time in Korea. I became (O39) telephone cable trouble shooter and served three years at West Point N.Y., and two years on Okinawa.

(E7) Robert A. Burke.

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