Army Boot Camp
Memories, after you start getting old enough to appreciate life it seems like you always want to turn the clock back.
As we all know the clock only goes one way. Maybe it's just because we would like to re due something.
Boot Camp was probably without a drought the most important endeavor I ever embarked on on purpose. I enlisted in Oakland, Ca I was staying with my uncle Alan Gilbertson. My Uncle was trying to help me as much as possible. Uncle Alan was the President of Kodak X Ray Division and a very busy man. I had the very best chance that any young man who was lost could have.
As usual I screwed this up too. Oh well a day in my shoes would just give you sore feet.
I joined the Army because the Marine Recruiters office was closed. I walked across the street and that was that. I needed a way out of California and didn't really want to go back to Tampa.
Boot Camp in those days was cursing hitting and reminded me of the housing projects I hate left behind in Tampa. As a young man only 18 years old and very hard headed this was going to be very hard not to get in trouble. Most of the young men had long hair and dressed funny, hippies I guess.
After all the hair comes off and the warning of going to the brig if we misbehaved was only the start. Low crawling was a part of my everyday life there. I did meet a lot of good guys with background personalities from quite to creepy.
I met one young man that I went to school with in Fergus Falls, Minn, I can't remember his name though, I guess getting old takes as much away as you try to remember. The training was hard but useful, I needed this not having my dad in my life and not having much discipline growing up I could see what was missing. The worse thing about Boot Camp was the weather.
Fort Lewis ,Washington has by far the worst winter's I have every experienced being from Minnesota I have been through some shit. Every other day when the snow would start to melt, it would start to rain. Every bone in my body would be hurting, colds, flue and every other air borne disease know to man king was on the field.
I had some Kidney problem's while in boot camp and was tested for it, they told me nothing was wrong at all but they wanted to discharge me from the Army. What I didn't know and they were not going to tell me is that I had to be discharged before 90 days that way no VA benefit's would apply. Today I'm on the Kidney Transplant list and do Dialysis three times a week. I don't know if this related to boot camp or not I guess it doesn't make any difference .
I went comply through boot camp and really enjoyed the range. Shooting the M14's was a dream. Top gun was between me and another recruit from upper Washington state. Because I was getting discharged I was not eligible for any awards . I just wanted to serve and I did not feel very good about leaving the Army. This had haunted me for years and it still does, the year was 1968 the height of Viet Nam. We had already lost two DI'S, shipped back to the action. The guys in my company were very gong hoe about going over there, except for maybe one or two who were consciences objectors and would be placed in the medical core.
This is like loosing a family member who you is going in harm's way and you never will get to know what happened. I spent almost 40 years involved in law enforcement and lost many young friend who I grew up with in the River View Housing Projects here in Tampa, Fl. I lost a couple friends after they come home. They were riddled with so much guild that suicide was the only way out for them.
I know this is nothing new for most of us who have lived for any time,however It would mean a lot to me if I could just talk to one person from the above picture taken of the group. Information is not to available from the Ft Lewis on old training platoons going through the program. I carry my own special guilt that belongs to just me.