From YANK Magazine

IRAN—Watching a platoon of ducks (mallards and redheads, Persian variety) doing close-order drill twice a day under the direction of Pfc. Maurice N. Trombly of Springfield, Va., is one of the recreations of the Recreation Center in Teheran, where many GIs of the Persian Gulf Command take seven-day “rest furloughs.”

About a month ago the Rec Center interpreter went to market for the GIs and bought 41 ducklings for the Iranian-money equivalent of $1 each. While being fattened up for the table, the ducks have led an active life and given many hours of entertainment to hundreds of GIs.

Trombly, who is in charge of utilities at the center, first clipped the wings of the birds to keep them from flying away. Then, to keep them from wandering from the vicinity of the pool in the center garden, he instituted a few GI regulations.

At first the ducks were pretty wild and balked at the regimentation, but Pfc. Trombly’s drill bark, plus a string of whip on the end of a stick, soon convinced them who was boss. They now do close-order drill on the water as well as on the ground. When Platoon Leader Trombly says, “Column left, waddle,” or Column left, paddle,” he accents the order with a flick of the whip and the ducks get the idea. Drill periods are in the morning around 1000 hours, and in midafternoon, when the birds are not in the mood to frolic.

Trombly was a machinist when he came into the Army. Now he says he is going to settle down as a poultry man when the war is over.

mallard ducks

Mallard Ducks. (Photo: Richard Bartz via Wikipedia)

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