Know it’s a long shot — I love this man, he figuratively and literally picked me up off the ground- I was running, exhausted, pain in my left side, I grabbed it to stop the hurting, more laps, then my right side cramps up & I grab a hunk of my skin there so I’m running off balance with both arms down squeezing opposite sides of my gut. Then I went flying, falling face down in August on a gravel track in Missouri. I got up and tried to keep going. Sgt. Davis (permission to speak drill sergeant. Speak) says that’s enough Heldman and walks me off the track. A drill Sgt. saying that’s enough to an E nothing in basic training is unheard of. There supposed to be torturing us, pushing us past torture. And this was old school, corporal punishment, no nets under 50 foot obstacles, no safety at all 1984.
Drill Sgt. M Davis, 1984 , Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, D-1-3, First Battalion, Company D, 3rd Platoon. I had nothing and nobody at 18, out of sleeping in the street and drug rehab/reform school at 18. Hope he’s still alive. I love him for what he did. No other DI there did anything like that. He was a great man to me. thanks sarge– Heldman, ugly motherfucker from New York who you used to tease on obstacles — come on Heldman, should be no problem for you climbing all those fire escapes to break into houses in NY. I was scared shit and clueless but I just jumped for the rope or the next log treetop high, rather fall and die than disappoint Davis, played it off like he was right- smiled, said fuck it and just jumped.
Thank you Sarge.
When you joined the US Army, at the reception station, they gave you one last chance to drop in the Amnesty Box (no questions asked) all your contraband — your brass knuckles, Oui magazine, num-chunks [sic] etc. — this was back in the day when soldiers would be escorted from the barracks in handcuffs for adultery, gay soldiers could get locked up, soldiers were administered Antabuse if they got in trouble for an alcohol related incident, when we ran our two minute mile in combat boots, toilets –20 in a row –had no partitions between them, a sergeant with two other troops would smother a knucklehead soldier with his laundry bag seconds before he passed out, we worked out with barbells made of two coffee cans filled with cement with a bar in between them, you joined up with fingers orange from weed roach stains your recruiter telling you to lie because weed use would mean a meeting with a psychiatrist, dogs would run through the barracks on surprise middle of the night inspections sniffing for Amsterdam bought hash (Larsen Barracks, Kitzigen West Germany), we chanted on basic training runs I don’t know but I’ve been told Eskimo pussy is mighty cold and If I die on the Russian front I want to be buried in a Russian cunt, our SMART book (kept at all times, constantly, in the right cargo pocket of your BDUs) advised us to carry a small pebble in our mouth during long road marches to prevent dry mouth, we lit Kiwi cans on fire for a better polish, slept nude in those extreme cold weather sleeping bags, heard rumors constantly about saltpeter and undercover CID agents, called AFN Ain’t Fucken Nothing so instead bought Traci Lords videos at the PX before she would’ve landed you in prison as a Chester, had mo-gas blow up in your face in one of those field hot water drums, knew what lifer stood for (lazy ignorant, etc), knew the maximum effective range of an excuse, wore our gas masks in the field outhouses, got stuffed, really really stuffed in actual cattle cars when we were transported around.