Basic training was a Boy Scout camp after Special Forces training, Airborne training and Ranger training. However, "Fort Puke, Lousy-ana" is where I spent my wonderful 16 weeks. I was in Airborne Platoon Company A, 2nd Battalion, 1st Training Brigade.
We arrived in the night from Oklahoma City on buses at Deridder, La. We caught an Army bus to the reception center. It was 2 a.m., and the post was quiet — except for a sergeant yelling at us to get off the bus.
We went to the barber's and all got our hair cut and then to the barracks, where a private first class taught us to make a GI bed. We were shown the latrine and told it was to be cleaned every morning before formation. After morning mess we went to a testing room that held 200 to 300 men. Then we were rushed through testing and a psychologist.
We were taken to the infirmary and received 11 shots each in our arms and buttocks. As I walked out the back door, I felt dizzy and passed out, laying face-down on the Louisiana dirt. I awakened to a sergeant yelling, "Get the hell up, trooper."
It was dark by then, and without any sleep from entering the reception center we went to collect our uniforms, fatigues, class As and TA-50—boots, socks and other little devices. We finally went to sleep around 1900 hours.
Two weeks later we were in our unit and started training. We were the Platoon of the Week every week for eight weeks. It was rough and a lack of sleep, but I used every bit of training when I reached the first combat zone.
Staff Sgt. Gary Moore