I have many memories of Basic Training at Fort Ord in February 1972, but the one I remember the most is that during the sixth week of basic I was assigned the duty of cleaning the offices for the officers and drill sergeants. That particular evening the company commander, Capt. Stedman, was working late and I was minding my own business emptying trash cans, dusting and buffing the floor. Capt. Stedman started up a conversation with me about where I was from and such. We got on the subject of golf and he asked if I golf. I told him I did and lo and behold, he asked if I wanted to go golfing with him and three other recruits on Sunday. I could not believe it, thinking it was a joke, but he told us to wear our civies and he would pick us up Sunday morning. What a great time we had and he was such a standup guy. We thought he was so much older than us - I was 19 and he was only 25 and just back from Vietnam (helicopter pilot). Two years ago, I tracked him down on the Internet and reached out to him. To this day, we talk every couple of months.
Not only that, I reconnected with my platoon drill sergeant and my senior drill sergeant about six years ago and thanked them for the life lessons I was taught by them, including loyalty, discipline, responsibility and patriotism. When I shared the above story with both of them, they could not believe it and had a great laugh. I was able to meet up with my senior drill sergeant when he was out in California and spent several hours just reminiscing about our time at Fort Ord. My platoon drill sergeant, Drill Sergeant Wright, and I talk every few weeks. I have still not seen him in person since 1972 and I plan to go back to see him this summer. He is now 76, and he and his wife feel like family to my family. As we hang up, every conversation ends with God bless you and I love you, sir. (A lot different than back in the BCT days!)
Needless to say, because of the reconnections I made with these three men, I am honored and blessed to have had served under them in basic training at Fort Ord. I truly believe I am the person I am today because of these three great men!