ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Belated Thank You To Sergeant Ralston...

Updated on May 29, 2016

A Belated Thank You To Sergeant Ralston...

Circa 1980s, with a mixture of fear and excitement, I disembarked the plane and boarded a bus… heading to what was then Fort McClellan in Alabama. I could hear the voices in my head and I am certain that I saw it on my fellow Army recruits faces, ‘asking what had we done,’ in signing up for Basic Training. I do not know about the rest of my colleagues, but I was convinced that I was in Alabama ostensibly to see the world and gained the benisons of the GI Bill, which would enable and fulfill my aspirations of attending college – but more than likely, I joined the Army because of what the psychologists would have diagnosed then as a classic manifestation of the attributes of some benign envious complex because my father before me served in Vietnam.

Upon Arriving in Alabama and seeing my hair being discarded with the mandatory haircut, I felt like Sampson, only that I had this six-foot tall, bald headed man… attired in starched army green, black-spit-polished boots… shouting at me for every move I was making. This was my introduction to Sergeant Ralston, with our interaction akin to many of the scenes out of the movie, “An Officer And A Gentleman.” There was constant shouting… reminding me that, apparently, I was slower than my grandma, who was then in her early eighties. I knew the ‘game’ because my dad had prepared me, as much as he could, about what to expect in Basic Training, but by the end of the first week, I hated Sergeant Ralston. Sergeant Ralston would wake us in the middle of the night… just when we were in the sweet part of slumber to run or he would catch us off guard after we had finished eating and have us run wind sprints… which resulted in the attendant stench of vomit as our cologne and perfume. Even my palate suffered under Sergeant Ralston because he forced me to eat something call grits that the ‘mess hall’ served every morning.

Some of my Army buddies fell by the wayside, but I was determined not to go back to my father in California failing Basic Training and I wanted to prove Sergeant Ralston wrong. By the end of the first month, I was laughing in my mind when Sergeant Ralston told me to drop and do push-ups or sit-ups, or moreover, to run - but alas, there are always weaknesses and Sergeant Ralston knew many of mine. I hated pull-ups and the exercise where I had to lay on my back, elevating my feet off the ground, about six inches, and forced to move my feet from one side to the other. For me that was torture and I cursed that bald headed man, secretly, with some colorful metaphors… worthy of any sailor. It got worse… those of us who are men from the Caribbean are notoriously and chronically homophobic… and I made the mistake of ‘talking’ in formation to one of my buddies. Sergeant Ralston, along with another Drill Sergeant, made me hold hands with my buddy and had us walk through the formation. To this day, I have never been so embarrassed in my life and I could still hear the cackling laughter of my fellow army buddies echoing through the Alabama country side.

Of course by the end of Basic Training, I had much respect then and now for Sergeant Ralston and I write this blog because of Memorial Day my mind has been on my Basic Training sergeant. And it is true that I shudder sometimes thinking that Sergeant Ralston might have lost his life for God and Country in one of our wars in the interim… but I have chosen the report of the positive angels who tell me that he is retired somewhere… telling stories about the many young men and women whom in them he had stoked the fire of discipline and fortitude. Sergeant Ralston probably does not remember me, but I remember him and I hope sincerely that he had children who made him proud, along with Jesus’ longevity, mercies, and the envious blessings of the Biblical patriarch, Abraham that are ours to be had.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Ya, i know My account at my hnstiog company got hacked. Looks like i might have lost the site. I sent a few emails to my hnstiog company but i haven't heard back from them. I caught the hack within the first 30 minutes but didn't get access to my site until a day and a half later. My hnstiog company didn't freeze the account when i told them my site was hacked and gave whoever it was enough time to delete everything. Exercises may have to wait until i set up the math website. Sorry


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)