In September 1970, I began my Basic Training at Fort Knox, Ky. Learning to live in a barracks with 40 other men was new to me. After six to seven weeks, we were running out of basic supplies, such as soap and toothpaste. So I hatched a plan to resupply. I didn’t want too many people to know about it, so I told the platoon leaders to make a list of what was needed, not telling them what I had in mind. We were confined to training and the company area because of a spinal meningitis outbreak. But I still wanted to go through with my plan.
It was 6 p.m., and we had finished a day at the firing range, so I went to the Command Post and borrowed the Second Lieutenant’s field jacket and helmet liner. I began my journey to the Commissary. Because I was alone, I could only get as much as I could carry. As I made my way there, I only had to salute a few men and officers on the way.
Now I had two bags of supplies to carry back to the Company area. As I’m leaving, a sergeant offers to carry my bags. I’d never seen him before, so I agreed. I continued to salute those I passed, and he just smiled.
I returned the field jacket and helmet liner to the Office, thanking the Sergeant. I distributed the supplies to the platoon and returned to my barracks, thinking I’d pulled it off.
The day morning at Formation, an assistant Drill Instructor was introduced to our platoon. It was the sergeant who had carried the bags back to the Company area. He walked up to me and said, “Don’t I know you, boy?!”
I had some explaining to do.