REDEMPTION FOR A BULLY

you-give-us-the-fire-wwii-posterI ran into bullying twice in the Army. And, once, I was a bully myself.

Army bully number one walked behind me on a march that was the graduation exercise for Infantry basic training. If you made it through 20 miles of Georgia heat carrying a rifle and back pack, you were ready to ship out for combat in Europe, replacing soldiers who had been killed.

After we marched 15 miles, the soldier behind me began to tread on my heels and he

kept doing it till my temper lit up. Though my tormenter was a lot taller and outweighed me by 30 pounds, I yelled: “Get off my heels, you _____, or when we get back to the barracks I will break your _______head.”

The two expletives were words combining the letters c and k, which make a strong anger snarl.

He stopped and when we were back at our barracks, his eyes avoiding mine, we went our separate ways. Continue reading

Advertisements

I Go AWOL to Paris and Find a Career – Part 1

After Germany surrendered in 1945, the U.S. Army lost control of its huge force in Europe. At least they lost control of rambunctious soldiers like me.

The control began to slip when the Army disbanded units like the 280th Combat Engineers where I had served as America beat Germany on its home turf. My roots were cut and I was transferred to Antwerp in Belgium to join what my orders said was a Machine Records Company.  And I wondered, what the hell is that?

I’d grown accustomed to living in comfortable apartments we had taken over from Germans so when I arrived at a tent village in the middle of a swamp in Antwerp I was mad and ready to do battle.

I had a target immediately. A second lieutenant sat behind a desk wearing a tie neatly tucked into his well-pressed shirt. Wow. I hadn’t seen anyone wearing a tie during 18 months in Europe’s combat zones.

The lieutenant studied my Army bio, which showed I had two years of college before I enlisted. Continue reading