Fort Lewis, Washington, January 1968 -- Our lecturer, in a character-building session, attempted to instill to a roomful of draftees the need for discipline, respect for military rules and regulations, and the need to follow orders from superior officers. He compared this necessity to our nearly automatic respect for the simple STOP sign in civilian life. A voice from the back of the room complained “But I didn’t have to STOP for two years!”
And the worst? I soaked my blistered foot in the platoon mop bucket, got a serious infection, spent one week in the hospital, one week off my feet, and was recycled to another training company, losing track of my fellow South Dakota inductees. While in the hospital, those of us in our ward who could were asked to witness a ceremony where a medal was awarded to a paralyzed Vietnam soldier strapped in a Stryker frame.