Letter From Basic Training

A Texas Farm boy joins the Army, and this is his first letter home from Basic Training:
Dear Ma and Pa:
Am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Army beats working for old man Minch. Tell them to join up quick before all the places are filled.
I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m.( but am getting so I like to sleep late. All you do before breakfast is smooth your cot and shine some things — no hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay.
Practically nothing. You got to shave, but it is not bad in warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, beef, ham steak, fried eggplant, pie and regular food, but you can always sit between two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till noon, when you get fed. It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much.
We go on “route marches,” which, the Sgt. says, are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it is not my place to tell him different. A “route march” is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys all get sore feet and we ride back in trucks. The country is nice, but awful flat. 750117-soldier-firing-rifle-on-a-range
The Sgt. is like a schoolteacher. He nags some. The Capt. is like the school board. Cols. and Gens. just ride around and frown. They don’t bother you none.
I keep getting medals for shooting. I don’t know why, the bull’s-eye is near big as a chipmonk and don’t move and it ain’t shooting at you, like the Higsett boys at home. All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it, you don’t even load your own cartridges they come in boxes. Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellows get onto this setup and come stampeding in.
Your loving son,
P.S. Speaking of shooting, enclosed is $200 for barn roof and ma’s teeth. The city boys shoot craps, but not very good.
stuart banner

6 thoughts on “Letter From Basic Training

  1. This is sorta true……. in basic we had a couple country boys and they were used to getting up at 4AM and all the other stuff; they weren’t used to the 50 cal. shooting at ’em or the combat range but, they got used to it quick enough. Actually, I wasn’t country but I liked basic and all the hard stuff after doing the stuff I had to do for my step-father, mother and lil’ sister…. and now and then neighbors. Later in my career I became a Cadre/Training NCO and handled some basic training boys. Gave them everything I had learned and then some… hahahahaha. Good training. SFC, United States Army.

  2. I remember this, but it was the Marine Corps (I noticed your cartoon of Gunny R. Lee Ermy). Also, you didn’t know it until the end salutation that it was a girl.

    Of course, no girl has ever been in a male recruit battalion, and the only time they might be in the field together is during the ‘Crucible’ just before graduation. That being said, I’ll bet any of our Texas country girls could do just as good if not better.

    USMC Retired
    1966 – 1989

    • Not sure why you think it is a girl – it is signed “Your loving son” “Zeke” ………hhmmm.


      • Probably because Wheeler, like others of us, have seen this story before, but told from the perspective of a country girl in the Marine Corps, which makes it even funnier…

      • Well, you didn’t see a signature until the end and SHE signed it, Irene, Sally, Sue or some other name. That’s why it was a girl in the Marine version. You didn’t see her signature until the end. Makes sense to me.

  3. Reminds me of an ex-boyfriend…just a friend now…who got in trouble for smiling during their “hikes.” He wasn’t a country boy, just dang proud to be in the Marines.

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