A group of us from the upper Midwest entered the Army in the spring of 1969. We looked forward to our first airplane ride, but instead were put on a train, the Northern Pacific, for the 36-hour trip from Minneapolis to Fort Lewis, Wash.
Our drill sergeant was a no-nonsense type, telling us that he was only interested in making us the best soldiers we could be. He never yelled at us. He left that up to the platoon sergeants, in their shiny helmet liners.
One of the platoon sergeants was particularly nasty, telling us that "you trainees are lower than whale poop!" On one occasion I made the mistake of asking when we were due to graduate from basic training. "Graduate?", he screamed, "You will be lucky if you don't get recycled!"
Due to a meningitis outbreak on the post, we were restricted to the company area, save for trips to rifle ranges, physical training areas, weekly trips to the barber, etc. On one forced march into the beautiful pine forests that surround the fort, we stopped for a rest break. It was a hot day, and the talk centered around beer, of which we had not had any for months. I piped up that my favorite beer back home was Leinenkugel's. The sergeant's eyes lit up and he said "You like Leine's? That's my favorite beer also!" It turned out that he was from Wisconsin.
It could have been just my imagination, but it seemed that my treatment improved slightly after that day.