Sunday, October 4, 2009

Soldier in Hiding

In 1953 my friend was stationed at the Fort Ord army base in Monterey, California. By that time, he’d already graduated from college with a bachelor’s in music, had lived through basic training, and was enrolled in the army’s clerk school.

After a short stint in the army, he and another private were promoted to a different unit and ordered to collect their personal items. Together they headed to the barracks to pack. When they arrived, they quite unexpectedly found a young private already in the barracks, which was forbidden without permission.

As my friend and his cohort gathered their belongings, they occasionally glanced to the barracks’ other side, trying to ascertain why the other private was there. When they heard voices outside, all three men turned and looked out the window and saw two captains approaching.

Frightened, the obviously prohibited private jumped into his wall locker and shut the door.

The captains strolled in, and conversation indicated there would be a changing of the guard. Protocol dictated that an outgoing officer review equipment and tour the buildings with the incoming one, so the assuming officer would learn the ropes.

As the outgoing captain walked and talked through the routine, he casually opened a locker for inspection—the one containing the scared private. Noticeably shocked, but maintaining his composure, the captain said, “Soldier! What are you doing in there?”

The young man sheepishly drawled, “I don’t know, sir.”

With that, and trying to suppress his laughter, the captain closed the locker door and continued with his instruction.

copyright © 2009 by Auntie Eartha. All rights reserved.

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