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The Other Casualty of War - Chapter Five


Paul Bylin

We were on that bus for a couple of hours and I was very tired from the long trip. Finally, at about 2:00 A.M., we arrived at Fort Jackson. I thought to myself, “finally, maybe now I can get some sleep."

Sleep? Yeah right! A drill Sergeant got on the bus to greet us. His first words, in a rather loud tone, were, "Welcome to Fort Jackson Lady's!" I don't like to be kept waiting, so the last person off this bus will get my boot up his a**, let's go! Move it!"

Man, I thought his eyes were going to bust out of his head, he screamed so loudly!
Guys were climbing out the windows of the bus; some went through the emergency exit at the rear of the bus. I was pretty fortunate because I made it off the bus before many others. Probably in record time! We were standing in a line waiting to see what was next. It was a cool morning and I could smell the freshly cut grass. When the last guy got off the bus, he did get a boot in his a** !

The Drill Sergeant was very tactful when he kicked this guy. He waited until we were all facing him so we could all witness the first bit of humiliation that we would all eventually experience. He kicked this guy so hard with the side of his boot that I thought he'd cry. But then again perhaps it was the pain of humiliation that brought the tears.

From that moment on, for three days and nights, they would not let us sleep. We went through the Army's infamous 'hurry up and wait' processing. I can remember one of those three days in particular. It was right after chow. They had already shaved our heads and given us some plastic helmets to wear. After we finished eating, we were to sit under what looked like a carport. There were just four poles and a roof to keep the hot sun off of us. I was so tired I began to doze off.

When I did, some little corporal SOB came over to me and whacked me in the head with a club, and screamed for me to wake up! He hit me hard enough to wake me, and although it only hurt a little, it scared the hell out of me. After a few of seconds, when I calmed down, I started to laugh. I thought it was funny, but I also thought he was an a**hole! He didn't think it was funny.

That's when I first learned what a push-up was. Little did I know he could not force me to do push ups. He was only a Corporal and had no authority to do so. After all the processing was done, they finally let us get some sleep. We were assigned to a barracks where we showered and shaved. I climbed into the bunk and fell fast asleep. That is until they came in a couple of hours later yelling and banging trashcans. They said we had 30 seconds to get outside with our footlockers over our heads. We were out there in our underwear holding our footlockers as instructed.

I had forgotten that my friends sabotaged my bag before I left for the Army. Dale (now my wife) and her girlfriend had taken a pair of my boxer shorts. I didn’t realize it but they drew hearts and flowers all over them and also wrote, “we miss you” on them. After I showered, I just threw on the first pair of underwear I pulled from my bag. I was so tired, I didn’t notice. As I stood there in the cool air holding my footlocker over my head, the Sergeants who were inspecting us began to chuckle. I was amazed they didn’t say anything. When we were dismissed and went back inside, the rest of the guys started laughing.

After I changed my underwear, I climbed back into my bunk and sank into a deep sleep. When I woke the next morning I began to think of ways that I could get even with my friends for embarrassing me. I thought tearing the underwear into small pieces and make them eat them when I got home might perhaps be a good idea.

Chapter 6

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