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View Diary: Eviction: The Release (36 comments)

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  •  And have you heard? (5+ / 0-)

    The most impressive physical feat I saw in the army was the mile run of Norman (Coughing) Codega. Codega was, to put it gently, not meant for life in the field. He was smoking two packs of Camels a day when he was drafted, was overweight, and cried easily. He was persecuted mercilessly, of course.

    It was the end of Basic. The final PT test. Our Drill Sergeants told us that failure would mean recycling -- beginning all over again. The naive and fearful believed this.

    Actually, the Army didn't want to spend the money and the goal was to get em out of basic and into Vietnam.

    These were the days of Project 100,000 -- when 100,000 persons in Mental Category Four were to be drafted anyway and given the chance to serve their country.

    Codega was one of these proud men.

    He completed everything but the mile run and, as it turned out, unless he finished in less that 6 minutes 20 seconds he would fail and have to go through basic all over again! Or such was the cruel hoax played on him.

    The Drill Sergeants cleared the track. His fate was explained to him. Under the specified time and he was free to leave to train as a cook and be sent to some squalid messhall in the Far East. One second above and he was doomed!

    Drill Sergeant Gilmore Davis bellowed into the bullhorn:

    "Private Coedga -- RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"

    And he did. I have never seen such a look of terror and please remember that  I have given many final examinations ...

    He ran and then began to puke. Pounded the track and fell to the gravel skidding on his face. He was weeping and screaming and puking and running and we were all cheering.

    And he ran and ran faster and passed the finish where he collapsed in a puke covered trembling heap.

    He looked up in theological terror.

    Drill Sergeant Davis announced the time.

    6 minutes 17 seconds!

    Codega howled his gratitude to the God above.

    We screamed in joy and when, only five minutes later, we were run in formation the four miles to the barracks, Codega ran with us circling us as we ran whooping like a noble Native American and screaming obscenities so joyful and imaginative he might have been a Marine from Kentucky at a house of ill repute in Manila.

    It was a great day for America.

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