Football - In Lieu of Basic Training

I joined the Army Teserves while in college and after graduation I, along with 22 of my fellow reservists and classmates reported to Fort Devens on June 22, 1953 for two years of active duty.

For a week we were marched to the Mess Hall, uniform issue, shots etc. The NCOIC of our indoctrination had attended the same high school and like me was on the school football team. After a week, my 22 classmates were sent to Fort Dix for basic training and I remained at Devens for six weeks marching new recruits through their indoctrination process.

In early August, I received orders to report to Fort Dix and at the end of my 2nd day of basic while at the BX, I again met another high school classmate and football player who had graduated from college and the ROTC program and his first duty was coaching the Fort Dix football team.

He asked me why I did not try out for the Dix football team and I responded that I had just arrived a few days earlier. He asked if I would prefer basic training or playing football. When I got back to my barracks the 1RST. Sgt. told me a Lt Smith was here and said that I was on the football team and would not be doing basic. I was told to pick up my bedding and move into the cadre room with the 1RST. Sgt.

At the end of football season I was assigned to work in the Personnel Office while awaiting the next basic group. However, the Personnel officer said he would send me to Germany to attend Personnel Clerk school in the Bavarian Alps. I boarded the troop ship USS Patch in December and away I went.

PS. In 1954, I again spent 4 months playing football for the Western Area Command Rhinos based in Kaiserlautern, Germany.

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