Graduation Day

I went through Great Lakes Boot Camp in the spring of 1966. I was in Company 264. Graduation day had finally arrived. We had all been looking forward to it. We were tired of the boot camp grind. We had to march over to the grounds where the ceremony took place, and it was a long haul. We were at parade rest for quite a while until all the speeches were done. Then we had to go through the "96 count manual of arms." This was a basic exercise we did almost every day. Groans went through the ranks as we used muscles that had been at parade rest for what seemed like hours. All done, we marched in review and then began the long march back to the barracks. I was in the second platoon, so I was quite a ways behind our RPOC (Recruit Petty Officer in Charge). Fred, the man behind me, started counting cadence like Donald Duck. I think everyone in my platoon was laughing, which made it hard to keep in step. I don't think the RPOC, or our company commander, heard what was going on, because we never did get any grief over it.

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