Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Basic Training & Private Key's hair

I went into Basic on October 1, 1986. I didn't pass the Physical Fitness test, so I got sent over to the Fitness Training Company for a few weeks of pushups, sit-ups, weights, jogs, and the dreaded exercise bike.

Once I was fit enough to leave there, I was assigned to B-Company 6-2-4 (6th Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 4th Platoon).
We awoke daily at 4:30, hit the mess hall by 5 a.m., and were ready to head out by 5:30, Monday through Sunday.

Sundays were more relaxed--no regular training, but those of us who didn't go to church services ended up cleaning the barracks (if I remember correctly, they had a share of cleanup when they came back, so it worked out). You could talk, hang out, whatever, as long as the work was getting done, but sleeping was a no-no.

Private Key sagged down between lockers and fell asleep.

Drill Sergeant Driscoll came out of his office to check on things. He got this grin on his face and held a single finger to his lips, then whispered: "Sshhh! Someone get me their shaving cream!"

Thus armed, he made a good-sized pile of the stuff on Key's head, then snuck back to his office. "Give me a minute."

Silence for a few moments.

"PRIVATE KEY! Come to my office!"

We had to wake the sleeper up--careful not to disturb his decoration. Key un-assed the floor and went to the office. We followed as quietly as we could.

"Sergeant Driscoll, Private Key reporting as ordered!" (I assume he saluted)

Silence for a few moments.

"Private...what is that on your head?"

Confused--then shocked--silence, then a stammered, "I--I don't know, Sergeant."

"Clean it up--and give me fifty for sleeping."


  1. You remind me of a story my dad used to tell about his time at Ft. Bragg in the 50's. They were on the rifle range for target practice and a huge stag leapt out of the woods. Every single rifle swerved to take aim, and the stag panicked and flew down the length of the field, in front of every single soldier, and it lived to run into the woods.

    The firing instructor reacted emphatically enough that this episode was one of the most memorable of Dad's time in the army. -- LR

  2. My "Buddy" in Basic couldn't figure out which lane target to fire at--even with lane letters clearly marking his foxhole AND the target.