Butter Rum Cartoon

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Monday, May 25, 2015


Me on the left, behind our drill instructor, Sgt. Cook

I was in Basic Training in the 4th Platoon of Company D in the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Brigade in the United States Army, and I deserted. I was arrested and brought back the following day, soon enough to be charged only with being AWOL (absent without official leave). You can read more of the details of this adventure in the beginning of The Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair. This caused a lot of paperwork for those in charge, and to avoid more paperwork they afterwards more or less left me alone while they continued to make it very hard for other basic trainees. And because it occurred during basic, it never went onto my permanent record.

My drill instructor was Sergeant Cook, a decent guy compared to most drill instructors, and most of us kind of liked him, in a masochistic sort of way. When basic was ending after the torturous two months, I had my brother (who ran a print shop back home) create a certificate of appreciation for Sgt. Cook. It was nicely framed, with non-glare glass. All of the platoon members signed it, and the day came in the barracks when we presented it to him. I was the one who did the talking and gave it to him, and when he saw it coming, he yelled, "Lund?!" Here the trainee who had run away and had been brought back under arrest, was the one now giving him a certificate of appreciation.

Out of embarrassment and not knowing how to respond, Sgt. Cook ordered us all into the infamous "cockroach position," which had been used as a form of punishment throughout basic. This was the only time we ever did it while laughing, and while the sergeant left the room, very moved. I don't think he wanted us to see what he then did.

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