So there I was, no shit, sweating like crazy off in the heat of a dark, muggy Georgia night in July. Packed into a barracks filled with 49 other sweaty bastards, completely bewildered, wondering how the hell I ended up at United States Army Infantry Basic Training at the age of 17, a mere month after graduating from high school.
As soon as that thought crossed my mind, I glanced at my new Timex digital watch, and realized I had another 55 minutes of fireguard before I could get back in bed and attempt to sleep for a few hours before breakfast. For those who don’t know, fireguard in the military is pretty much what it sounds like: keeping watch while everyone sleeps, or if a fire is burning at night, keeping it burning while making sure no hapless fool’s sleeping bag melts to their skin. This was my assigned duty. As a brand new Private First Class with a heady four days of military experience under my belt, I took pride in this job. I wanted to be the best damn fireguard I could possibly be. I even put on my boots to help break them in as I quietly stalked the barracks floor with my new L-shaped flashlight (with red lens of course). I was on duty. I was serving.
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