(1) What do you remember most about basic training?
I flew to San Antonio, Texas Airport on Braniff Air Lines. An Air Force bus pick us RAIN BOW’S, as we were called, up arriving as civilians to take us to Lackland Air Base.
It was about 8:00 pm in the evening and we were escorted to a barracks for the night. It was the next morning when a lot of changes started, yip! First the march to the Chow Hall, where we were served scrambled eggs that you practically had to drink. Then came the haircuts. I already knew that was going to happen, so before I left home I got a short butch haircut. There were some guys with fairly long hair sitting in the barber chair with tears running down their cheeks as their hair fell to the floor.
Then we got our uniforms issued to us. I was told this uniform will fit you, but it was a little baggy, so I cheated a little and took mine back a few minutes later and told the first issuer that the other issuer said I need to trade these for one size smaller.
Once we got all of our uniforms we were escorted back to the barracks where we changed into our uniforms and dropped off the rest of our uniforms. Then the whopper, we went to another barracks into a room that had to rows of people lined up facing each other. We were told one at a time, step forward through the first set. Once those two gave you a shot move to next two the person behind you would steps up to the first two. We received four or five shots in each arm. A few weeks before we left for Teach School, instead of needle type shots, they used an airgun type unit to give shots. They said do not move and do not twitch. I saw a couple of arms get cut from the airgun shots because they moved while getting the shot.
In the mornings just before sun up is wake up call. We got into our fatigues, then made a tight bed with hospital corners. Lay a quarter on our wool blanket, slap blanket and see if the quarter will flip. March to the Chow Hall, eat breakfast, march to the calisthenics field to do push-ups, sit-ups, bends and other exercises, march to Chow Hall for lunch, all while singing in cadent’s. After lunch there was more marching, singing, and learning a new call in marching, like off at forty-five degree angle.
Our days consisted of marching everywhere, singing in cadent’s and fancy marching maneuvers and calisthenics as weather would allow. “Green Flag” no limit, “Yellow Flag” limited and “Red Flag” stay indoors. “Red Flag” stay indoors was usually (GI Party Day. Mops brooms and tooth brush’s to clean the cracks in the floor.)
March to the Chow Hall for supper and march back to barracks. Military is all showers and no Tubs of hot water to soak these weary bones after all the calisthenics and marching. Finally in bed and then there was a 12:00am flood drill, so you get up, put on your t-shirt, boxer trunks and wrap a wool blanket around you while standing out in the middle of the street with cars passing by.
(2) What’s your fondest memory? It was the teamwork that got us all through our Basic Training and the friendships that developed there. It was amusing when we were standing at attention or at ease in front of our barracks and tarantulas the size of golf balls would crawl between our feet, and here the little pops as they were being stepped on and squashed.
(3) My worst memory? The shots, GI Party’s, and marching and standing at ease for one hour or so for a Generals recognition. Some of the trainees would lock their knees and pass out.