After what seemed like eternity, we went on to some more hand to hand combat. This training was really intense. Little by little, one after another, men were becoming defiant. Those few were sent back to their platoon and were told that they would have to go to motivational training. I didn’t like the sound of that so I dealt with the crap that they were dishing out.
Finally the day was almost to an end and we were told to return to our platoons. As I walked back toward the Quonset huts on the other side of the base the sun was setting; it was a big orange ball in the sky not so bright that you could not look at with a glimpse. You could almost see it falling toward the horizon. I was walking past the main offices when I saw several Marines approaching the flag pole. Suddenly I heard one of the Marines start to blow on a bugle; everyone around stopped in their tracks and came to attention.
As I watched and joined in, our right arms snapped and held a salute while taps was played and the flag of our great nation was lowered. For the first time in my life I felt chills run down my back as I listened and watched. I knew now, what exactly it felt like to be patriotic.
When I returned to camp, I reported to the hut where the drill team stayed. I found Sergeant Hernandez sitting in a chair wrapped in a blanket and shivering. He looked real bad. I went to him and asked him if he needed anything. He told me to get his keys from his jacket and run to his car. He had me get the pills he left there and bring them back to him. I took off as fast as I could even though my legs were killing me from the day’s workout. I made it to his car which was a cool VM sports car, a red Carmen Ghia. I found the pills and doubled timed it back. When I arrived, he was in the same condition. He took the pills. I stayed with him a short while and we talked a little. He told me that he had contracted Yellow Fever in Nam. He didn’t want to talk much and said that he would be fine. I returned to my bunk.
The next morning came quickly and a trash can went flying and the yelling began. That little shit Tagalari was in charge today. “Fall out!” the order came. We were given the order to piss, shower, and shave. I believe we all made that happen in ten minutes. We got dressed and fell back in formation. In boot camp you have to keep your blouse (shirt) buttoned to the top. It was to be done until you reached the final week of training. Wouldn’t you know there is always one who just wouldn’t follow orders? Tagalari gave him a ration of shit and we all had to pay. “Everyone down!” Tagalari yelled. “Push ups!” My body was still hurting from the day before, I groaned. Tagalari heard me and came over while I was doing my push ups. He put his boot on my back and gave me some encouragement.
After about thirty or forty push ups, we were back in formation and then ran to the mess hall for morning chow. Morning chow was the best: eggs, bacon, toast and milk. No coffee, no soft drinks. These were very bad for you while in training. After chow, we were going to drill where we would learn to march to perfection. Wouldn’t you know it the same person that caused us to do all the morning push ups was the same one who couldn’t keep in step with the rest of us? “Everyone down!” yelled Tagalari. More push ups and more push ups.
By the end of the day we pretty much understood what marching was all about. We were finished with supper chow and were marching back to the huts when the very same screw up that had caused us all of the problems all day tripped on his own boot laces and mess up the marching. “Halt!” The order came from Tagalari. “I want everyone in formation position facing the way we were marching”. “Ready for push ups!” “Everyone first get on your knuckles and remain in the up position!” Tagalari was looking around at each one of us. “Eyes front!” he said. “Now forward march!” and we were down like we were getting ready to do push ups and we were on our knuckles on the asphalt marching or I would say crawling forward. Tagalari had a lot of enjoyment from this. We did this for what seemed like eternity. Then we were given the order to make a formation and we marched back to the camp.
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