Negron not Niggern

My first day in the Air Force and the following week is a time I will never forget. We were formed in front of the barracks and the Training Instructor called our name from a list he had on hand. Except for four of us, all responded "Here, Sir". Is there anyone whos name I haven't called, the TI said. Four of us raised our hands and the TI said, "Airmen, step forward and come up front". We four stepped forward and the TI said, "Airman, show me your name on this list. One by one the TI sent the Airmen to their respective flight unit. I remained and the TI said, "Airman, is this your name here?" I looked at the name but it didn't seem like mine. I was used to seeing my name written as Jose Francisco Maria Negron Cadiz and I was looking at Francisco M. Negron, so I said, No, Sir. He looked at me and said, "Airman, what is your name?" and I responded with my full name Jose Francisco Maria Negron Cadiz. The TI; a Corporal from Louisiana, looked at me with wonderment on his face and said, "The hell you say". I responded "No Sir, my name is" and then I recited my full given name. The TI said, "Then you are Franchesco M. Niggern." I responded, "No Sir, my name is not Niggern; it is Negron, Sir".

The TI said, "Look here Airman, are you a wise guy or what? That's when my problem started because back in Puerto Rico I had learned that WISE means intelligent and I wasn't about to tell him that I was stupid. So I said, "Yes Sir". And that is the reason I spent my first week as an Airman dumping grease from a the dining hall grease pit.

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