Thursday, April 3, 2008

No Pass to San Antonio During Basic Training

While I was in San Antonio, I saw dozens of Air Force basic trainees walking around in their new, rather ill-fitting uniforms, some with family, some in groups taking pictures of each other at the Alamo and tourist traps. Seeing them reminded me I never got the one-day pass to San Antonio while I was in Basic training in 1972. Our flight (the Air Force equivalent of a platoon) got 7 days of KP--kitchen clean-up duty--during our six weeks of basic training. Most flights got one or two. The other three flights training with us got none. The reason was Ivan--a tiny little guy in our flight who refused to throw away his electric razor and shave with a blade like the rest of us. Why did this matter? When the inspectors from headquarters went through our barracks, ten demerits among 45 guys meant we were on KP. Ivan got 15 by himself because they counted hairs inside his electric razor. We got 2 days of KP for that in addition to the one we had just for being in the duty rotation. Two weeks later, Ivan flunked again and we got four days of KP--including the weekend we were scheduled for a day in San Antonio. Our drill sergeant let us know that if any harm came to Ivan we would all be serving our enlistments in Leavenworth Federal Prison. We did get Ivan back, but that's for a later post.