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Off to camp... Boot Camp

by Casey White
June 23, 2003

Off to camp... Boot Camp_Casey White- This year, I made my tour of graduation parties, and stopped at the house of a senior who graduated from high school. Ten days later, he was headed for Boot Camp in the Army Reserves. He's a fairly smart kid, a little under normal height, a little under normal weight. Fun loving, always smiling, he made the rounds from tables of relatives and neighborhood friends, to his cousins and school friends playing at the basketball hoop. His face quite thin, and with his squinting eyes behind those square wire rims, somehow it seemed unreal that this kid was going into the military. Was it only a year or two ago that he got his braces off? When I think of some of the televised interviews of the Army Reservists over in Iraq, they seemed older, more mature.

Knowing of the prankish past of this youngster, and his constant state of being grounded at home, I asked him, "So, how are you going to do in the Army? You do know you have to do what they say, right? No talking back, right?"

"Oh yeah. I know. My cousin did it, and he's told me all about it. If he can do it, so can I." Another smile.

"And what about the push-ups, the sit-ups, the 10 mile runs with a full pack?"

"Well, I've started excercising. I'll handle it."

Somehow, I don't think there is any way to fully prepare for the experience. So I shook his hand and told him he'd do fine. That he would just have to hang in there. Did I notice, just for a slight moment, that he was nervous about his upcoming tour? "You'll be alright," I said.

He went back to hanging out at the basketball hoop. Ten more days to still be a kid.

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