Veterans’ Tales by Allen Ness

I was On The Trail from 94 thru 96 at Ft Benning, GA.  The Home of the Infantry.  We did a lot of road marching.  I always had and by 94 I had six years of service.  Six years of the Infantry lifestyle will make you hard as woodpecker lips.  The Infantry Lifestyle will get the best of you…

The first roadmarch I made with 1/38 Infantry, “Rock of the Marne” was like I died and went to heaven.  One of the lessons the Wolfhounds instilled in me was the sanctity of the roadmarch.  Your squad splits the weight of combat equipment and ammo and everyone carries their fair share.  If you fall out your squad mates have to add your fair share to their own fair share.  Buddy is only half a word, know what I mean?  In 1/38 the roadmarch was sacrosanct.  We, the cadre, could put up with a lot of shortcomings in a soldier but being a fall out wasn’t one of them.

There was a trail vehicle that carried extra water, medical supplies and also picked up the fall outs.  When the company took a break the trail vehicle would pull up to each platoon, top them off with water and then move forward to the next platoon. Each time it stopped the platoon Drill Sergeants would unload the fall outs and apply a light coat of sweat to their ass.  Then when the platoon had been watered the weak of heart would be chased back onto the truck only to drive forward a hundred meters and do it all again.  The message was plain, it hurts to roadmarch long distances, it hurts worse to fall out of a roadmarch[…]

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*Allen Ness is a retired Army Master Sergeant, Jumpmaster- Paratrooper, CIB, several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, a marvelous artist with ink, paint and music, a military historian par excellence, and as just mentioned, better read than most English Lit professors at Dartmouth or Military History instructors at the War College…. (Source: Veterans’ Tales)