A School of a Different Color
It was a cold January morning, as the jet liner I was riding landed in Louisville, Kentucky. Immediately upon exiting the plane, I saw a nice young soldier holding a sign that said "Private Robert J Jones," so normally I went up to him and politely said, "I am Private Robert Jones." He simply smiled and replied, "Alright, follow me, Private," but the way he said "Private" was not the same way the recruiter had said it back home in my small town; he said it as if it was the lowest of low, like it was an insult to be called a private. I followed him outside, and he told me to get on a long white school bus, which had printed on the side, "Property of the US Army," I boarded the bus and another young soldier was driving, who was maybe 20 years old.
He told us that if we smoked to go ahead and smoke now, because it would be the last cigarettes we would see for the next 17 weeks, and unfortunately, I did smoke, so I smoked the last cigarette I would see for 17 weeks. After about forty-five minutes on the bus, we arrived at Fort Knox, Kentucky. There appeared to be no roads or sidewalks, just snow, and everything was covered in the white substance I would later grow to hate.
We pulled up to what the army called "In-Processing Station #4," and we stayed up all night signing papers to officially become property of the United States Government. The rest of the week we did basic "in-processing activities" such as: giving blood, DNA, and urine samples, receiving immunizations, haircuts, uniforms, ID cards, and going to the PX (this stands for Post Exchange, the place...