Posted on October 17th, 2016 by:

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By Cpl. Dick Peebles

“Sit down, corpril. Smoke if you want to,” said the broad-beamed sergeant in the interviewing section of the Ft. Dix Separation Center.  “It won’t be long before you’ll be out.

“What’s your name? Gray? I’ve got your records here some place. Saw ‘em just before I went to chow. Yep, here they are. First name Paul. No middle initial. You’re a corpril and your serial number is 33265213. Right?

“You’ve got the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Nice goin’. Musta been plenty rough over there last winter. We had a helluva lot of snow here, too. Damn near froze my ears off walking a babe home one night. Couldn’t get a taxi. How are those French chicks?

“Well, corpril, your records look okay. Take them down to the sergeant in booth 23 and he’ll tell you what you’ve forgotten about being a civilian. Wait a minute—someone forgot to enter on your Form 20 where you got your basic. Where’d you get it?

“What, you’ve never had basic! Aw, quit your kidding, corpril. Why, hell, I’ve been shinin’ my tail at a desk in the States for three years, and I’ve had basic trainin’ twice.

“Holy Crise, Corpril, I can’t believe it. You mean to tell me they transferred you out of a supply room at Indiantown Gap right into a hot outfit and shipped you overseas without any basic? Well, I’ll be, go to hell!

“Hey, Shuey, here’s one for the books! This guy has been overseas, won himself all kinds of medals, and never had no basic! Whattya know about that? Maybe we oughta tell the Old Man so he can tip off Public Relations. This would make a helluva good story for the papers. All those medals and no basic. My achin’ back!GI

“What’s Major Woods’ phone number?…

“Hello, Major Woods, this is Sgt. Smith, sir. We just discovered that one of the men who’s up or discharge with 97 points never had basic training. Yes sir. That’s right, sir. He has the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. No sir. He says he was shanghaied out of a supply room and shoved into a hot outfit at Indiantown Gap. Yes sir. I’ll tell him, sir.

“The Old Man says for you stick around, corpril. He’s going to call the colonel and the newspapers. Says he never heard anything like it. All those medals, but no basic. My GI back!

“Interviewing section, Sgt. Smith speaking. Yes, major, he’s still here. Yes sir. All right, sir.

“You’re causing a helluba rumpus, corpril. The Old Man says the colonel just about blew his top when he told him you had all that hardware but no basic training. The colonel’s going to call the general. Wanna read a magazine while you’re waiting?

“Interviewing Section, Sgt. Smith speaking. Yes, major. Yes sir. It sure is, sir.

“That was the Old Man, corpril. Uh—he says to tell you the colonel says the general says the War Department says they can’t discharge you without basic training as long as you have all those medals. The claim it wouldn’t look right. Headquarters is to cut orders on you immediately. Sixteen weeks of basic training at Camp Howze.

“My achin’ GI back!”

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