In honour of my 19th anniversary of Basic Training, I decided to post some excerpts from the journal I kept. I won't do a day to day blog post, but may post some of the more interesting entries when there's nothing terribly exciting to write about. Each night, before I sleep, I read an entry in my journal (on the appropriate days), laughing at the details of many forgotten moments. I'm so glad I kept a journal, despite the potential problems it might have caused (see the film Biloxi Blues for the likely reaction journal keeping inspires in others).
My basic training journal is titled: Tales of Terror From Boot Camp Hell: Volume XXII.
Here's the excerpt (all spelling and grammar errors are intact):
March 26, 1991 Tuesday P-4 Day
Again, we ate breakfast at 0430. How much sleep will we get around here?
After breakfast, we had our first day of PT -- which was a test. We went to the field house, which had padded floors which made it a lot easier. We did push ups, situps, 8 count body builders, and some other things -- then we had to run around the gym in group formation. We ran around the gym a total of 17 times. It wasn't tiring at all, only redundant. I sang (in my head), "Don't Walk Away" by Johnny Clegg & Savuka to keep me going. It was fun actually but at one point, a guy a couple of ranks ahead of me fell and nearly got trampled over. Poor guy! He was a bit obese and the CCs yelled at him for "quitting."
After the PT test, we marched to RIF for "Data Collection" and one man talked to us about Savings Bonds.
We got our BIRTH CONTROL GLASSES and those of us who received them were too embarrassed to wear them. One recruit, SR NEVIL, and I just looked at each other and laughed. I could tell that he wasn't thrilled to wear them either. SR ALLEN was allowed to wear his own civilian pair because it has a special lens (which made his eyes look bigger) for his poor vision.
After lunch, we marched to the training building for two classes. Some how, the column I was in, we moved when we weren't suppose to and the CCs told us to "DROP!!" We had to do only 25 pushups so it wasn't a big deal. 9 of us had to do it.
In the Training Building, the first class was about the GI Bill. It was our chance to reject our GI Bill opportunity. I said no way that I would change my decision. I was surprised that many people decided to reject it and all because of the $100 a month! The opportunities they are giving up just for $100 a month for only one year to get $10,000 for college after getting out.
The next class was on SEXUAL Harassment and Fraternization and our instructor (a hispanic petty officer whose accent gave his instruction more amusement) was extremely funny and explicit. It was interesting because he wouldn't be able to say most of what he said if females were present. But his class room discussion really enlivened things and I thought Basic Training was suppose to be strict and without humour. His class was a day brightener and the company was in very good spirits afterward -- so much in fact that we were marching on air.
After supper, we practiced marching on the Grinder and did lousy. I think the CCs must've enjoyed it because they had us do pushups on the Grinder and it was most painful! The grinder wasn't paved very well and once were allowed to get up -- only after doing the required amount of pushups and saying in unison: "Permission to recover, SIR!"
On our hands were indents from the loose gravel.
"Think of it as a 'grinder reminder'," said Chief Matthews.