Who's first in line?

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It was the middle of August 1969 and my company was on a full field pack including M14s, forced march across Fort Dix. Our drill instructor, in an effort to impress upon us the need for teamwork, promised that if anyone dropped out we would all have to finish the march then go back and get the stragglers. One of the men, I'll call him private Smith, had been a troublemaker all during basic. He was always getting himself, and so the members of his squad, in trouble. Needless to say he wasn't one of the best-liked people in the squad.
With about a mile left on the march the DI called for double time. Shortly after that, private Smith started dropping back, moaning "I can't keep going." Before the march was over one of his fellow squad members was carrying Smith's pack, one was carrying his M14 and two others were dragging Smith. When we finally got to the bivouac area the cadre left us and everyone except private Smith got busy setting up camp. He was leaning against a tree.
An industrious ice cream truck driver showed up a few minutes after we finished the march and set up about 100 yards away from the company area. Some of the men headed for the truck immediately while others finished their assigned tasks first. When the rest of us got there my assistant squad leader turned to me and asked if I noticed who was first in line? It was private Smith.

Branch of Service:
Army

Submitted by:
Rob Robinson

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