Helping a buddy

When I went to Navy Boot Camp in July of 1978, I had been out of high school for only a month.

Early on, the Company Commanders (BMC Fisher and TME Mirenik) were interviewing some of us for possible NCO positions in the company. I was overweight and not in very good shape at all.

I remember being asked if I could run. I replied that I could run on a baseball or football field all day long but I had problems running just to run. I was then asked if I knew that I had to run 2 and a 1/2 miles to graduate. I didn't and told him so. He asked how I was going to do it. I told him I'd kill if I had to, but I would get it done. He replied "You will be my Asst. MAA. That meant I was going to be in charge of the crew that would get up early, march to chow, then return to the barracks to field day while the company went to chow, and we met them afterward for the day's training.

PT was my nemesis from the very beginning. I could do all the rest, but just couldn't keep going in the run. A buddy who was a skinny young guy from West Virginia, basically pushed, cajoled, pulled, yelled, and kicked me throughout the runs, and I began to improve. He made me not want to quit running. At our last practice, before the final PT, I made the whole run with the company, thanks to my buddy.

Two days later, at the final PT test, my buddy was coming down with flu or some other bug, and just had no energy. What has been an easy thing for him the whole time during the PT, was beyond his ability that day. I pushed, cajoled, pulled, yelled, and kicked him throughout the run, and we both made it. He wouldn't leave me to fail, when he knew I had it in me, and I wouldn't let him fail either.

I wish I could say that we became lifelong friends, but after graduation, we went to different parts of the country and I never saw him again, but to this day, I think of him and that if he hadn't helped me, I would never have passed that test, and I like to think I paid him back on that final test.

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