In October of 1962 I started basic training at Fort Polk which is located near Leesville, Louisiana.
I was so much into joining the Army that I didn’t realize there was a Cuban missile crisis going on as I underwent basic training until one day we were marching and we sang this song in cadence:
I don’t know but I believe
We’ll be in Cuba by Christmas Eve
One thing that stands out about basic training was running with our rifles over our heads and the long marches.
Crawling through the infiltration course also is one of the memories after all these years.
One humorous incident that happened shortly after we arrived was when one recruit hollered out of an upstairs window at a sergeant “Hey nutbrain”. The sergeant did not find any humor in that greeting and ordered the recruit to come downstairs immediately and let the recruit know that he was not following recommended military protocol.
I remember someone lost the keys to the rifle rack and we were all woken up in the middle of the night till the situation was resolved.
By the time we had bivouac the heat that had greeted us at the start of basic training was long gone and the winter weather of December had descended on Fort Polk.
It was brutally cold the entire bivouac and we had to wear long johns to stay warm.
I can remember hearing the songs of the 60′s like Soldier Boy and Return to Sender at Fort Polk on weekends when we were allowed to go to the service club.
We completed basic training shortly before Christmas and I was given leave till it was time to report to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianpolis, Indiana early in January.
I boarded a passenger train at the Missouri Pacific railroad station in Alexandria, Louisiana early in January. It was snowing by the time we reached St. Louis.
When the train finally arrived in Indianapolis snow was covering the ground. It was nice to see the snow after not seeing snow very often in Louisiana but tired of it soon since it was so common to have snow on the ground.
We started our classes at postal school a few days after arriving at the Adjutant General School.
The songs that were popular at this time were Our Day Will Come, Under the Boardwalk, Up On The Roof and Walk Right In.
One time on the way to a movie I contacted frostbite from walking in the cold snow on the base.
By the middle of April my six months duty with the active Army Reserve was over.
After arriving back in Louisiana I decided to go ahead and serve my three years of active duty after tiring of going to meetings at the Army Reserve building.
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