Basic Training Drill Instructors at Lackland AFB during the '60s had their hands full trying to get troops ready for the continuing war in Vietnam. I am afraid I really added to their troubles on a cold and dark Texas night. My name is Larry Friedman and has been since my mom remarried when I was 11 years old. I told my grade school teacher to change my name. When I needed a Social Security Number for a part time job, no problems and when it was time to get my Driver's License, again, no problem. But my Air Force recruiter had a problem. My Birth Certificate still showed the name of my Biological Father. Regardless of all my records showing the name "Friedman," He said he had to sign me up as "Gantwarg", my birth certificate name.
My departure date to Lackland AFB was not for another two and a half months, and my life returned to normal and all the conversations about my name faded away.When it was time for me to fly to Texas I was excited and looking forward to a great future in the Air Force. Upon landing, a base bus met our civilian flight and we were bused directly to the base at about 2 o:clock in the morning. It was cold and windy in December and we stood outside for almost an hour before a Drill Sgt. arrived to take charge of us.
He began his roll call as always with the names in alphabetical order. With each name the individual was called out to stand in another formation. And then he got to the "G's" and in a loud voice called out "GANTWARG", but no one answered. He came closer and shouted louder three or four more times looking for this apparently missing recruit named Gantwarg. All of a sudden it dawned on me that he was calling MY name and I immediately stood tall and answered loudly back, "Oh, that's me sir, I forgot my name" What a way to start a career! But when the truth was revealed and my abilities noted it became nothing more than a good laugh. But believe me when I say that the language he used that night is not fit for publication in ANY magazine.