Fort Hamilton, NY :: the place I raised my right hand and was inducted into the US Army. Fort Jackson, SC :: basic combat training, the next step on my journey of national service. Fort Bliss, TX :: I wrote about my time there yesterday. Fort Benning, GA :: we watched my son graduate from basic combat training there in 2004. Fort Carson, CO :: a nice week with my son in between his tours in Iraq. I have been to a few Army forts in my life.
A few thoughts about my two months at Fort Jackson in the fall of 1968:
- South Carolina is not all that warm in November;
- marching in the sand with a backpack is really hard work;
- google "drag ass hill" to see what our training was all about;
- hated army chow but remember liking our Thanksgiving meal;
- my drill sergeant was better than most but pretty bad;
- listened to Hooked on a Feeling by BJ Thomas on my bunk;
- sent my laundry out and it came wadded up in a bag;
- was really homesick and called the folks when I could;
- went to Charleston on my only weekend pass with buddy Mike Good;
- was 5'9" and weighed 125 pounds when it ended in December;
- have never been pushed that hard physically in my life.
I remember how that 19 year old kid, pictured above, was really afraid. The Vietnam War was raging and many of my friends, enlisted and drafted, in the barracks would be sent there. Perilous times. I was glad to be heading to Fort Bliss.
... a place that I have been to ... part of the A to Z series.