Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" --
How it Worked in the 50s

All these old memories  inspire an Army story from my friend Ignoto
I was a company commander of a basic training company at Fort  Jackson in ’54.   We had one trainee – viperish guy in his upper 20’s who was a volunteer, not draftee, in one of the companies that cycled through basic training every eight weeks. First sergeant always walked through the barracks after lights out, checking on things, before he went to his quarters. He found the viper fast asleep, cuddled up behind a 17 year old little guy, draftee, barely able to read and write, just making it through basic.  He took the little guy aside who immediately confessed that  the viper had talked him into doing it. First sergeant said tell nobody nothing. Then he marched the viper into the woods outside the company area and beat the crap out of him. Mercilessly. Told him what it was like in Leavenworth Prison for people who did what he “done.” Found a civilian shirt and pants for him to put on, drove him out the gate to Fort Jackson, and sent him on his way. In other words, drove him AWOL. This saved the victim kid from a court martial that would have sent him to Army prison, probably killed him. ... I got a demerit for having an AWOL  but in basic training companies you always had a few at least  AWOLs.
For valuable prizes, say whether this story describes an act of (a) savagery or (b) compassion.  Discuss.  

Fn., Viperish?


Ebenezer Scrooge said...

When it's hard to distinguish a savage act from a compassionate one, you know you're in a savage world.

Buce said...

There's a close analog that I also recall hearing from Ignoto though he disavows any knowledge of it. In this one, the inspector turns to the eromenos and says: kid, you do that one more time, they castrate you. This too was presented as an act of compassion.