Low profile

At the ripe old age of 17, I entered Air Force basic training at Lackland AFB in August 1962. (Yeah, that’s right, August in San Antonio.) I discovered that unlike what many of my fellow “boots” talked about, my recruiter was a pretty straight shooter when he told me what to expect when I got there. One important bit of advice he gave me was to keep a low profile. Don’t be the best, don’t be the worst, and just do as you’re told quickly. Low profile! On day one we arrived on base around mid-night, got fed and were bedded down around 0200 hours. I crawled into an upper bunk in an old WWII open bay barracks and dropped into a sweaty sleep. Now, since I slept in a narrow cot at home, the bunk size was not an issue, in fact it was a tad softer than home. Around 0930 or so all hell broke loose! It was our instructors storming in to extend their warm welcome to the Air Force! In that half-asleep, half-conscious zone, I suddenly remembered where I was, leapt out of bed in a panic but the floor wasn’t there. I was in the upper bunk. I hit face first into the pillar between the bunks and slid to the floor into a heap. Before I could collect myself and spring to attention, I looked up to see my sergeant standing over me saying something like “Oh, we’re just gonna have lots of fun aren’t we maggot.” (So much for that low profile idea.)

Mike Janto, Wilseyville, Calif.

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