Unlike many, I have fond memories of basic training. Most of the knowledge I learned there, and the values imparted by our Kentucky trainer, served me well during my 27 years in the Army Air Corps, and later in the Air Force.
I was fortunate enough to be selected for acting corporal and flight leader. I even enjoyed marching the men many miles to “The Red River Valley” for our bivouac.
One cold winter night, we had a GI party to clean the barracks floor. The guys mixed a case of bleach with a case of ammonia in a garbage can without my knowledge, and pretty soon, one by one, they started falling out of the barracks.
I had to dump the garbage can and then took a fire hose from the wall and hosed out the entire building.
The recruits had to sleep elsewhere that night while I opened all the windows and sleep in the cold barracks to protect everyone’s belongings.
That’s one experience I will never forget. The men wanted to get the floor really clean.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.