My stay at the hospital was almost forgotten and my time in the rehab platoon was coming to an end. My leg felt great and I was ready to go. I had my orders and was to report to my new platoon in a couple of days. I needed to take a trip to the PX to pick up a few things and took a little detour by my old platoon area. They were outside sitting on buckets cleaning their rifles.
My friend Charlie was sitting pretty close to the sidewalk he told me they were about to graduate. I was only stopped for a minute before one of his drill instructors started yelling at me. Then he recognized who I was and really went to work on me. I told him what I was doing and he made me do push ups for what seemed like an hour. I was so angry, but it was worth it just to say hello to my friend.
A couple of days later I got the order to report to Platoon 2207. I would finish my training with them and was to meet with them at 0600 (six am) in two days. I knew there was going to be a price to pay for how easy I’d had it for the past several weeks.
When a platoon gets a recruit transferred in they are called a “pick-up.” They come from “motivation” platoon, the brig, or from medical rehab platoon. Which ever one it is, they are still labeled as a “pick-up” and treated badly. Usually people coming from rehab platoon haven’t done anything wrong, but that doesn’t matter. I know I’m going to have hell to pay. I just don’t know how much.
It’s 0600 and I walk into the area of my new platoon. It’s chaos. I walk up to a drill instructor and tell him who I am. I also tell him that I think a mistake has been made, because this platoon is in the morning of day one of their training. I can’t be starting over! He tells me that this is in fact my new platoon, that he doesn’t have time to deal with me right now, and to report to the duty hut. There’s a drill instructor in there who will sign me in. Oh my god! I’ve already been through all this. All of sudden I realized that my utilities are starched and bloused, and that my cover is starched and blocked. Every other recruit looks like crap! This is not good because I'm standing out like a sore thumb.
I go to the duty hut and pound on the door three times.
“Sir, private Tillett, platoon 2207 requests permission to enter the duty hut, sir!”
A voice from the other side of the door said, “I can’t hear you, sound off maggot!”
“Sir, private Tillett, platoon 2207 requests permission to enter the duty hut, Sir!” I screamed.
“Get in here maggot!”
I opened the door, saw no one, “Sir, private Tillett, platoon 2207 requests permission to speak to the drill instructor, sir!”
A voice from behind a line of DI lockers said “I can’t hear you fuckhead, sound off!”
I got no further than Sir, private Tillett” when the DI walked out from behind the lockers. He had a huge smile on his face and looked like he had just opened his favorite present on Christmas morning. He looked at me and said just three words, “we meet again!”
Oh my god, it's Valdez…
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