WWII Memoirs – 1943 – Basic Training

There was nothing exciting, rewarding or redeeming about our next phase in the military. Basic training is basically about drill. And for six weeks it was our life. A corporal from the “old army” was our drill instructor. He was a good man, very skilled in his work. However, he seemed to have an awfully limited vocabulary, which he used a lot:

“Left, right, left, right, left, right, by the right flank, march! About face, by the left flank, march!” Day after day, day after day,” left right, left, right, forward march, attention! Dress right, dress! left, right, left, right, to the rear, march, left oblique, march, right oblique, march.” Drill, drill, drill, “left, right, left, right, count off, one, two three, stand at ease!”

The monotonous routine and the droning voice seemed to go on forever. That was our routine, our life. One consolation kept our hopes up — it was temporary.

One other consolation awaited us, the PX, the military’s shopping place, and “watering hole.” We found it shortly after arriving at the camp. After a hot afternoon of perspiring on the drill field, we would rush over to the PX for a cold beer! You take what rewards you can get in such circumstances.

The boring days went on, “Left, right, left, right….” Its amazing that a group could keep up such repetitive activity, hold formation day after day, and maintain its sanity. But suddenly one day, came the final “halt,” and the Corporal pronounced us “ready.” We could march in any kind of formation, always in step, and we were ready to pass in front of a reviewing stand filled with generals and dignitaries!

Now, it was on to the next step in our training.

I believe the next step had already been determined at Ft. Lewis, when we did all those tests and interviews. Until that day, my cousin, Eddie Seibold, was still with me, having just shared the same drill quad with me. But that was about to end, and the next time I saw him was three years later in Portland when we were both civilians again. I don’t recall where his assignment took him, but I was to report to Boston for ten weeks of special instruction at the Franklin Technical Institute.

Next Entry: WWII Memoirs – 1943 – I Go To College
As basic training was drawing to a close, I began to wonder, “Whats next?”…