I was drafted July 6, 1966 into the Army. All my training was in Fort Polk, Louisiana, and I was attached to the Second Training Brigade, Company C, Second Battalion. We were brought in 18-wheel cattle trucks to the Company area. At that time I weighed 200 pounds. When we arrived, we met our Drill Sergeants. To my friends Rudy and Espinosa and me, we were told “You three Texas Amarillos, fall on my right.” We pretended not to hear him. He told us he was not going to repeat himself, so we did as instructed. “From now on, you will be in the Fat Men Club,” he said. So, every day at 5 p.m. after training, we would run an extra two miles, seven days a week.
At the final physical exam, we passed with flying colors. We even got called to the captain’s office, who wondered how we earned 800 points when the average was 500. When we explained our extra training, he told us he was very proud of us and awarded us a trophy.
I finished my service weighing 130 pounds with a 28-inch waist. I have never regretted that training, and we outscored everyone in our Company.