Sunday, May 20, 2012

Friday, 20 MAY 88

New DIs (drill instructors) today. Worse than
Day One. Morale dropped by
dinner. After dinner OK.
4-1/2-mile march to rifle range.
Punishment, PT, march back.
Back is killing me. I want
total control to end so bad. I want
basic training to end real fast. Letter from
[fiance] today. That helped
a lot. Didn't even have to do
push ups. Drill sergeants might
be OK once they let up. I hope
my back heals by next march.
I don't want to go on sick call.
Wedding set for August. Sounds
really good right now--no cold feet.
Want to see [fiance] again so much.
Still tough to look at her pictures.
Will mail letter Saturday.

It's been a long time since I felt that way about my now-ex-wife. But I guess it doesn't hurt to have a reminder that the mother of my children held a good place in my heart one time.

But the news of the day was that we had new drill sergeants. They practiced their day one routine on us of arbitrary punishments and yelling. Yet they seemed like they'd be OK for some reason, once they chilled out a bit.

I recall that the day was extra tiring because the new drills wore us out on PT at the range even before we had to put on all our gear and march back to the barracks.

This was the weird part of my basic training. It's supposed to be stressful in the beginning and then the drill sergeants mellow out to be the stern but fair leaders who guide you to being a soldier. We got that compressed into two weeks and now we were getting another dose of that treatment. It was like we were a giant, green, smelly puppy being alternately pet and beaten. But while my morale plummeted at least it bounced back by the evening.

And my back continued to plague me. I don't remember having back problems before basic training. And after basic training my back would occasionally flare up in great pain. Strangely enough, maybe 10 years ago my back went out spectacularly and after a few days rest it recovered and I've never had a problem since. It's like some vertebrae were slightly twisted out of place and I did something ten years ago that popped them back into place. After the pain of restoring them to their correct position they were no problem again at all. Weird.

Also weird was that I continued to endure the pain without going on sick call. One did not want to be part of the "sick, lame, and lazy" who got to walk along behind the formation while the rest of us marched. There was pride in enduring, if not happiness.

Of course, what was not weird was that almost everyone wanted to avoid sick call for the simple reason that if something serious was found they might pull you out of basic and start you over with a later class. Better to endure.