Basic training

In July 1954 I reported to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for basic training. On my second day, I found out there were other types of volunteering. The sergeant had a couple hundred of us recruits line up at a parade field. We counted 1 thru 5 down the line. All the 5's took 5 steps forward. A gray van pulled up, out steps a big guy wearing a campaign hat, and said, "Those who stepped forward, Thanks for volunteering. Welcome to the Marines.
Summer at Fort Leonard Wood is hot and humid. When we marched to the different training areas, there were lister bags filled with salt water that was very salty.It didn't taste much different then seawater.
When we marched, it was always with a full field pack. One time I lightened my pack and filled it with toilet paper; that day and only that day we had a full field inspection. I marched back to the barracks with my pack full of rocks. I was one sore and hurting soldier. Lesson learned.

Melvin Zimmermann, Broken Arrow, Okla.

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