Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thoughts on retiring from the Army

I've been at Ft. Polk for a few days taking my retirement physical. That (and my impending retirement) has triggered a lot of reflection on the past. I won't go into a lot of that now, but rest assured, there have been lots of changes. When I enlisted in Shreveport on January 26, 1973, I had no idea I'd still be at it with the military 36 years later. I had a change of underwear, my shaving kit, and a quarter when we left the testing station and went to the bus station. We had a pretty good wait for the bus, so I thought I'd better call somebody and let them know I'd enlisted. I called Aunt Rosa May, since she lived in Shreveport, and asked her to call Mama and Daddy sometime and let them know I'd enlisted and was on my way to Ft. Polk and I'd call them when I got a chance.

It's funny, but I remember some ot the guys I enlisted with really well - Henry Bordelon and Lane J. Gauthier from Marksville, Curley Iles, and a red-headed guy that we all called Red. He had shoulder-length red hair and a long bushy red beard. That lasted until the first day in the reception station, when we went to the barber shop. The barbers charged $1.35 and the haircut was pretty simple - they cut it all off. The drills sent Red back through to get his beard cut off (and they charged him another $1.35). We didn't recognize him. His own mother wouldn't have recognized him!

I'll scan some pictures and get them on here some time.