I originally posted this commentary as a response to a reply to one of my earlier posts on one of the groups in which I participate, and not one of the military or veteran groups at that. Anyway, I was deep in recognition of the 30th anniversary of my Basic Combat Training, so yeah. As it stood on its own, I reposted it as a status update on my Wall on 12 January 2016. I thought the post merited rescue from the certain doom of Facebook obscurity, so I added it to Facebook Notes on 29 February 2016.
Being All I Could Be; or, I Was Like This Before I Enlisted
by Matt Wallace
This page was last modified on 1 March 2016.
In response to another Facebooker's inadvertent impugning of Army conformity in one of my threads elsewhere:
Pah, "conformity"!!! Having always been a radical individualist, perhaps my greatest concern at the beginning of my military service was losing that in Army regimentation and uniformity. My fears were perfectly unfounded, witness an incident during the first week of Basic Combat Training. A drill sergeant was using rank insignia flash cards to test our knowledge of such. I got an overlooked blank cover card. I was about to say as much to the drill sergeant when my smart-ass college-boy PFC took over. Without hesitation, knowing that privates in the lowest pay grade have no insignia, I answered, "Drill Sergeant, that is the rank insignia of a Private E1!" The drill sergeant glared at me like I was insane until he looked at the card. Obviously very amused, judging from the uncharacteristic genuine face-wide smile, he agreed, "I guess you're right." The Army didn't take anything from me; rather the Army made me a bigger, stronger, harder, more disciplined, badder version of what I had been prior to my enlistment.
— Sergeant James Matthew Wallace, U.S. Army (1985-1993), Honorably Discharged
Basic Combat Training (BCT) (January-March 1986)
E Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Basic Training Brigade
Ft. Leonard Wood, MO
We will never forget that we are American fighting soldiers here to keep our country free; we are Echo-Two-Three!
This We'll Defend!