Today I’m linking up with the lovely Lisa from Grandmas Briefs, for a Memorial Day tribute. I’m actually linking an old post from last year, one describing a bit of my Air Force Basic Training experience. Although things have changed a lot, Basic Training is still Basic Training, and every single Airman, Marine, Soldier and Sailor has to go through it. So come along with me as I describe how clueless and wet-behind-the-ears I was at eighteen, but how proud I was to serve my country.
They used to call me Airman
And sometimes Gomer
I was looking at old pictures, which is not something I do often. But when I do, it always turns into a sappy blog post. So get ready, because here we go again. Did you ever wonder why there’s such a strict age limit on entering the military? No, it’s not because old folks can’t do combat! That’s just silly. Obviously, you haven’t seen Grandpa chasing rabbits with old Duke and his sawed-off shot-gun. And, obviously, you haven’t seen Grandma jet-setting all over Europe with her old sorority sisters in their big Red Hats. Seventy is the new forty, you know! Or so I’ve been told. I’m not seventy, quite yet.
So back to my old pictures.
I found one of me in my uniform and sat there admiring my legs. Gosh I had nice legs. They’re all lumpy and stubby now. And my boobs? They were amazing. Now? Lumpy and stubby, and annoying. Seriously….I hate the extra time it takes to corral them into my bra and make sure they’re both pointing front and center. It’s not easy. I get one positioned just right and the other disappears somewhere under my arm pit. It’s enough to wear me out, and usually does. I really think we should start out life as an old woman or man, and get younger. I would appreciate my youth a lot more now than I ever did when I actually had it.
Oh yea, the pictures.
So I was looking through the pictures and thought it might be fun to share with you what Basic Training in the Air Force at Lackland AFB, Texas was like way back in 1971. And I will warn you, it is exhausting, so you might want to sit down…..and have a drink. Stay hydrated. It’s good for you.
Just another perk of reading my blog…..the healthy advice you get!
On October 22, 1971, I entered the Air Force, was sent to Lackland AFB, Texas, and was the youngest woman in my flight. I was also the fastest runner in my flight, which really proved nothing because there were no races. It was all about the marching. I was also the only Southerner in my flight. Everyone else was from New York City. True Story. My fellow Airmen (yes we were called Airmen) called me “Gomer”. (Gomer Pyle, get it? Southern accent? Gomer had one. God I’m old).
For those of you non-Air Force types who are wondering what a flight is….it is like a platoon. And for you non-Army types who don’t know what a platoon is…it’s like a group of 70 or so people, in this case all women, all marching together, showering together, exercising together, eating together, cleaning together, sleeping together (and not in a fun way) for 6 weeks of Basic Training hell.
We got up at 5 am, learned how to get showered and dressed in 20 minutes and in-formation outside by 5:30 am. Then we’d march to the chow hall for breakfast. Then we’d march back to the barracks and change into our PT clothes and get back into formation. Then we would march to the workout field where we would do lots of working out, followed by lots of running laps. After that…..you guessed it….we’d get back in formation and march somewhere else. Usually it would be to the academic building for military studies classes, but sometimes we’d have to march to the clinic for shots. And then there were the times we would march just to practice marching.
Lunch time came, and of course, we marched back to the chow hall for lunch. After lunch, we might have training or cleaning detail back at the barracks. And how’d we get there? Anyone? Anyone? Yes We Marched! In the course of six weeks, I managed to wear out my tennis shoes and a hole in the side of my low-quarters leather (frumpy black clodhopper) shoes. I marched my butt off. We even had to march to church on Sunday. First of all, I didn’t want to go to church on Sunday because I wanted to sleep in. My cranky old Sergeant would have none of that, though. We marched our butts to church.
We did manage to turn it into a “flirting” opportunity, however, as the men also had to march to church. So we primped extra nicely before leaving the barracks. There was some mega bra-stuffing and skirt-hiking, as I recall, but the Sergeant was one step ahead of us and confiscated all contraband prior to entering the Lord’s house. We were a bunch of heathens for sure. Well, they were. I already had big boobs and really couldn’t leave them behind.
And so life went on at Basic Training for six long weeks. Upon graduation day, we had to march (of course!) in a big parade and salute the General. The only difference was we had our Dress Blues uniforms on and we were strutting our stuff. It was a proud day. I don’t think anyone who has ever been through Basic Training would disagree that the last day was filled with Pride.
In a small way, this was my little tribute to our men and women serving their country and keeping us safe. Keep these people in your thoughts and prayers, along with all of our fallen service men and women.