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I struggled with the duffle bag down the bus aisle and thanked the driver as I turned to step off through the bus doors. He was a tall, staff sergeant, the same rank as my drill sergeant.
As I got off the bus, I was horrified to see an MP (military policeman) looking at me and walking at a brisk pace from the guardhouse in my direction. I didnâ€™t think it possible, but the MP looked even more frightening than the drill sergeants I had just spent eight weeks with. We werenâ€™t allowed to have civilian clothes at Fort Dix.â€ â€œWell, you may want to bring some back with you from home. I promised I would bring them all up to date when I got home.
The trip from Fort Dix to Baltimore lasted approximately three hours.
It had occurred to me that it was the first time in eight weeks that I actually was sitting in a relatively comfortable seat. True, one sits in training rooms and in the mess hall, but those chairs are built for function, not for comfort.
He set it down and asked, â€œWhere on the base are you headed? After a few seconds, I asked, â€œWhat will I be doing here? Thatâ€™s when we start the classes.â€ â€˜You mean I can go home for the weekend, if I want? The buses run regularly between Baltimore and Newark.â€ Absolutely stupefied, I said, â€œPlease forgive me. I just checked in here, and I can turn around and go home for the weekend, if I want? Just be back by Monday Morning.â€ â€œDo I need a written pass or anything?
â€ Still in shock, I told him that I had no idea where I was headed. He smiled â€“ he actually smiled â€“ and said, â€œNo problem. â€ He said, â€œItâ€™s really too far for you to walk with that bag. â€œIâ€™m reporting for duty, sergeant.â€ â€œOh, you must be one of the new students. â€ â€œLetâ€™s take a look at your orders, and weâ€™ll see.â€ I handed him my orders, and he said, â€œYou are a 96C. â€ He remained patient, despite my stupidly repeating everything I had just heard. I also see that you speak German.â€ â€œWell, I took the German test. C.â€ â€œYou mean that I can leave the base when I want? â€ He smiled and said, â€œThat depends on where you live.
Peterson 9780861400447 0861400445 Devil's Wine, Martin Booth 9780595450329 0595450326 Paradise Marred, Robert Hardin 9781425485863 1425485863 The Age of the Crusades - Ten Epochs of Church History, James M.He was wearing the white MP helmet and a black MP armband. You look like you could use some help with that bag.â€ I was speechless. You only have to wear your uniform during duty hours. A few hours later, I found myself back on the Greyhound bus, this time heading north.His trousers were bloused over his spit-shined airborne boots, and he wore a 45 semi-automatic sidearm. I could only nod my head in the affirmative, something that would have unleashed a torrent of invective from a drill sergeant about the importance of â€œsounding off like you got a pair! Unless you have some kind of extra duty, civilian clothes are fine around here after duty.â€ This cannot be. I sprinted to a pay phone to call my family and girlfriend to breathlessly tell them I was coming home. I wondered how the cosmic cards fell such that I ended up being selected by be trained as an interrogator.Shortly thereafter, duffel bag and I boarded the local bus that would take us to the base.I asked the bus driver to let me know when we got to Fort Holabird. I was more than a little relieved to confirm that I was on the right bus and that the driver actually knew where the damned place was.