Who’s Calling??

I worked for the Air Force. My first day, I tried to impress an Airman who started walking into my office. I picked up the the phone and said, “Yes, General, I’ll have it completed this afternoon. Thank you, sir, and the best to your family as well.” I asked the Airman what I could do for him. He said, “Nothing, really, I’m just here to hook up your phone.”

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40 years ago today, I enlisted in the Air Force. I signed on with the deferment plan, so I didn’t have to report for three months. What the heck was I thinking?? I was quite a bit overweight, just about to turn 18 and was completely ill equipped to handle the abuse handed out freely by the TIs (the same as drill Sargent, but called Training Instructors.)

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One day I’m watching “Happy Days” with my family, the next on a plane bound for San Antonio, Texas and Lackland Air Force Base. Wow, to say that it was a change in lifestyle would be a gross understatement.

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I was used to my father’s outbursts, but these guys would scream at you for no apparent reason. The first night there, as soon as we arrived, we had to give a urine sample. The guy standing next to me couldn’t go, so he stuck his cup over to catch some of mine! I know!

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Then we headed over to get our fatigues, boots, socks, underwear, duffle bag and a canteen. It was pretty chaotic and I somehow lost my canteen. My first words to my TI was that I lost my canteen. I got a new one, but it wasn’t what you’d call a pleasant experience.

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I think it would be much the same reaction as if you told your new wife that you are still married to another woman. No, I think the example would be worse because all these guys could do was yell, but a woman can kick the crap out of you.

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We got to bed about three A.M and were abruptly awakened at five. It was hard to get oriented with two hours of sleep and with someone calling us ladies while banging on a trash can like my neighbor’s horrible drummer.

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We then marched over to the mess hall to have one of the most disgusting breakfast I had had since my father tried to deep fry eggs. Just like at home, no matter how gross, you were forced to eat it.

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Then, off to get the worst buzz cut ever, and we had to pay for it! I know! We all walked out of the barber shop rubbing our heads to feel the stubble, which was now our hair do.

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Then we had to dress in our fatigues, boots and hat and run a half mile around the track. Mind you, this was July in Texas, where it was 220° and I came from a place where it was about 65° all of the time.

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In the end, once you got in the habit of what to do every day, it really wasn’t that tough. Except for losing your canteen. That can be kind of rough.

See you tomorrow.

Connect with me on:
Facebook: Jerry Mabbott
Twitter: @jmabbott
Web: jerrymabbott.com

Heather


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