Sleep Walking

I spent nine years in the Marine Corps.  There are many stories I could tell about my enlistment, but I suspect something would get lost in the translation, as they like to say.

I reported to MCRD San Diego in late 1968.  I have been told there are two things worse than boot camp, but for the next eight weeks, I just had a hard time figuring out what they might be.

I had good drill instructors and they did a lot to help to prepare me for the ordeals to come.  I thought I was done with the hard stuff when I left MCRD, but I had a rude awakening when I reported to Infantry Training Regiment (ITR) at Camp Pendleton.

They have magical mountains there and I became very familiar with them.  The troop handlers claimed that our destinations in the morning would be all up hill.  Then, in the evening, it would be all up hill on the way back.  Never could figure out how they did that.

At any rate, everyday was too little sleep and too much marching.  When I went into boot camp, I weighed 140 pounds and was six-one.  When I finished ITR, I weighed 160 pounds.  Most of the weight gain was in my legs.  It was from carrying backpacks all over those mountains.

At any rate, when that was over, they sent us to something called casual company.  I have no idea where it got that name.  There was nothing casual about it.  They kept me there until I received my orders to school.  Well, at least they gave us some freedom at night and I did recover some of my sleep.

From time to time, they needed people for various details, one of which was guard duty.  If I remember right, there were about eleven posts.  Two guards walked the fence around the armory, one on the inside of the fence, one on the outside.  I’m sure there was a reason for that, but they didn’t tell us.

Once every half hour, we called out to the next closest post, something about the post being secure.  This was relayed from post to post until it reached the sergeant of the guard.

Everything went well through the night until early morning.  The post that was supposed to report to me, didn’t.  At fifteen minutes late, we decided to report his absence, when he called out to us.  Once we made the relay, I asked him why he was so late.

“Fell asleep,” said he.

“You’re not supposed to lie down,” said I.

“I didn’t,” said he.

“How did you fall asleep?” asked I.

“I just kept walking,” said he.

“While you were asleep?”

“Yep,” said he.  “Walked right into a building.  It made a lot of noise and a gunnery sergeant came out and asked what all the noise was about.  I told him I tripped.”

To this day, I find it somewhat unusual.  I have heard of sleepwalking, but I don’t think that’s normally how it’s done.

 

If you like stories on the unbelievable side, you might like to visit my authors page.  The above story is true.  My books aren’t.  More than that, some are very unbelievable.  They are written for enjoyment and occasionally provoke a thought or two.  Some of them even have things floating around in them.

http://www.amazon.com/author/story_teller

If you would rather, you can simply do a search on my name, Ben Rhodes within Amazon.com.  Be careful to ignore all the books by the other authors.  I promise.  They aren’t as good.

My most purchased book is “The Prepper.”  I don’t know why.  When I started writing the book, it was more-or-less as a lark.  It’s not about prepping.  As the title implies, it is about a person, a prepper.

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Sometimes, It’s Better to Smile and Say Nothing

This story is true and a bit long.  A foundation must be set to appreciate my situation completely.

When I was a young man of twenty, I joined the Marines.  This eventually brought me to NAS Memphis for aviation electronics training.

Today it is considered politically incorrect to call a woman in the Navy a wave, but back then, it was commonplace.  We had a woman in our class, and to say she was outspoken would be a bit of an understatement.

To utilize the training equipment, during lab assignments we worked in pairs.  Thinking back over it, I guess I was fortunate not to have her as a lab partner until the last unit of the school, RADAR.

I suppose I should explain that the situation was made somewhat worse by the fact that she was attractive.  Other than her outspokenness, she also had a pleasant personality.

During the RADAR unit, we had assignments that required us to get close to a display to count dots on it.  By both of us getting close to the display, we had to get close to each other, in this case, the sides of our heads were almost touching.  The only alternative was for us to take turns which we did for a while.

At first, I felt awkward about it and I think she did too, but as time went on, we didn’t even think about it.  As the instructor was walking by, he noticed it and asked, “All right.  What’s going on back here?”  I’m not sure, but I don’t think anyone in the class heard his question.

It was a joke.  He knew it.  I knew it and she knew it.  We all just laughed but she just had to add her two cents, “Don’t you know?  He’s my necking partner.”

Though a bit awkward, it still didn’t really bother me.  It was a joke, and the instructor knew it.

 

A couple of days later, while we were in the classroom, the instructor made a remark about me.  I can’t even remember what it was, but it was less than flattering.  It might have had something to do with my large ears.

At any rate, the wave apparently didn’t like the remark.  So, for everyone to hear, she said, “Don’t knock my necking partner!”

Now it wouldn’t have been that bad if all the others heard the previous conversation, but none of them did.  That information was known only by the three of us.

Experience told me that trying to explain would only make the situation worse.  She and the instructor were the only two that laughed.  The rest, I know, were looking at me.  I kept thinking, “Where’s a good foxhole to hide in when you need one.”  Not finding anywhere to hide, I smiled and said nothing.  Right then, I thought it was the most prudent thing.

 

I went on to another advanced nine-week school before leaving Memphis, as did she.  Hers was in training devices, mine in radios.  Once I finished the school, I started the check out process.

As I walked along the street to my next destination, I heard a voice behind me.  “There’s my necking partner!”

I don’t guess I need to explain who I saw when I turned around.  If she’d been much farther from me, I don’t think she could have yelled loud enough for me to hear.

Beside her was a bewildered woman marine.  Needless-to-say, there were a few others that looked over, first at her, then at me.  We talked for a while after that.  Then, we went our separate ways.

We haven’t seen each other since, but for some time after that, I lived in fear of meeting her again, especially if she saw me first.

 

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