Fort Bliss

Upon enlisting in March 1976, I found myself, along with 50 other young men from all over the U.S., at the reception station at Fort Bliss, Texas. After physicals, shots, uniforms, etc., we were loaded on a bus and driven up to Logan Heights. That’s where all of the fun began. When the bus stopped at the training barracks, a drill sergeant stepped on board and said, “You have three seconds to get off my bus and NOT out the back door! Last man off will do 50 push-ups for starters!” I was near the back, and I was not going to be last man. I climbed over three people in order to exit. I bumped into one of my future platoon sergeants, Sergeant Trout. He glared down at me and said, “What are you looking at, Trainee?!” I hollered out “Nothing, Drill Sergeant!” I ran to where they wanted us to stand along with 35 other young men. We started that long road down through basic training. After eight weeks, it was all but over. I suffered a strained right instep muscle, and my parents came out to see me. Being unable to march, I had to sit out. After the review, my three drill instructors came over to speak to my parents. When they learned my father was a retired Naval Chief Petty Officer, they said if a war happened right then, all three of them would be proud to be in a foxhole next to me.

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