I joined the Army in October 1966. I took a bus from Nashville, TN to Fort Campbell for Boot Camp. I could have never known that what I wore there would have a lot of laughs from the DI’s.

I stepped off the bus to face a huge DI and a Vietnam Vet named SGT Ashton. He took one look at me and said. ”Who the Hell do you think you are boy… John Wayne?” You see, I was wearing a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and a western belt buckle.

Later that day, in the Mess Hall, my DI was eating with several other DI’s when he yelled out, "John Wayne come over here." I knew immediately it was me he was addressing!

A 3 foot rail separated us from the DI's table. Sgt. Ashton told me to straddle the rail and ride it like a horse, which I had no choice in the matter, but to comply!

He then made me slap the rail and say “gitty up Horse, go Horse, gitty up Horse, Go!”

Luckily, the other trainees did not laugh for fear that something worse might be in store for them. He then told me to dismount the rail while the DI’s had their good laugh!

John Cardwell AKA “John Wayne”

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