For the first two days after arriving at boot camp we were called Rainbows. This name came from the fact that we had not received our uniforms as of then and wore a wide variety of colored civilian clothing. It was not a fun time. Well, none of boot camp was a fun time, but this was the least fun time. Besides the continual tirades from our sergeants while attempting to learn the difference between the right and left foot while marching, we were mocked by every basic training group that marched by us. Though I can’t remember the words, they sang a Rainbow Song that essentially revealed our social ranking in boot camp, which was just a little lower than slug slime. Of course in later days we were singing the same song to other Rainbows. But that’s beside the point.
Our sergeants were a Caucasian man with blond hair and a crew-cut. His name was Staff Sgt. Bickell. The other sergeant was an Hispanic man named Tech. Sgt. Hernandez. Though both did their share of screaming and cursing, by far, Bickell was the most assertive. But it still amazed me that either had any vocal chords remaining at the end of each day. I can only imagine that they went to a special “Vocal Chord” school that exercised their voice boxes so that screaming and yelling could be done on a regular basis. I also surmised that they both attended another class called “Advanced Swear Words.” I say that because I heard adjectives and combinations of adjectives I had never heard before. And I have no doubt they graduated Audi Cam Ladi in both classes, and may have even received scholarships.
Each day was continual marching. That was all we did. Though my Air Force recruiter showed wonderful photos of airmen working on the flight line, repairing jet engines, working in warehouses, manning radar, ect. ect., I was beginning to think we were being trained to march for our entire enlistment. Of course there would always be a couple three heads bobbing among the others, showing they were out of step. Needless to say that always drew the attention of a sergeant screaming his personal thoughts concerning the qualities of that person’s family lineage.
Finally we were given our uniforms. They consisted of two pair of green khakis and brogan shoes, all baggy and ill-fitting. Two pair of tan casual uniforms with dress shoes. One dress blue suit and tie. A rain poncho. A heavy wool overcoat. And underwear that had a fly with no overlap, making them incapable of holding in one’s pecker. And lastly, a canvas suit case, better known as a duffle bag. Though dressed like a bunch of baggy fitted vagabonds, at least we were no longer Rainbows for all the boot camp world to ridicule. And we were even beginning to learn our left foot from our right…or was it our right foot from our right…..