Wednesday, June 15, 2011
PART VI - SHAPING UP
Sunday supper was a pretty good meal with roast beef and baked potatoes, if I remember right. We then had the remainder of the day to relax until evening Retreat and meal. I seems to remember sitting in the Day Room to watch baseball.
We got down to business Monday morning. As soon as the flag had been raised, we were ordered to remove our caps and blouses for the morning Daily Dozen Calisthenics. Our DI carefully showed us each move before starting it. We did twelve four-count repetitions of each of the following:
And, we were told to count ALOUD!
“What is wrong with you, ’Cruits? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
So, the, “One. Two, Three and One. One, Two, Three and Two” echoed between the two massive buildings as several hundred men voiced the cadence until twelve repetitions were completed.
By this time, my heart was going along at a good pace and I enjoyed the chill morning air off the ocean filling my lungs.
The fourth exercise, the Windmill -
A couple of “City Boys” were finding keeping up difficult and received some kindly urging by the Cadre members there to keep an eye on us.
By now, well over half of our platoon and no few from the others were formed up behind the company formation.
I seem to remembering making it through all but the last few repetitions before I had to sort of cheat and go only half-way up and down. By this time, out of 160 of us in the company, no more than two dozen were still going.
The twelfth exercise, the Run-in place. We even kept cadence to this but did twenty-four four-count repetitions.
It took many years for me to realize the subtle psychology and cunning physiology behind these exercises. Each step was designed to loosen us up and tone certain muscles we would need in the combat arms. The shouting cadence took one’s mind off one’s own efforts and made us feel a part of something bigger - a team. Completing the full Daily Dozen gave each of us a sense of accomplishment, a feeling we could do anything we set out minds to.
At the same time, those who dropped out were united with others who looked on while the rest of us continued as a team. It made them want to be as good as we were and gave them a benchmark to set themselves against.
Of course, the quitters and “I can’ts” were slowly weeded out. And, the DIs and cadre members set out to help those in bad shape to catch up.
Having lived on the ranch and enjoying gym class in school, I didn’t have a lot of problems with any of the exercises - except push-ups. That surprised me as I thought I was strong in the arms.
From that morning on, we never “walked” anywhere. It was either in March Step or, most often, Double Time.
Afterwards, we were dismissed to shower and change into clean fatigues, showing why we’d been issued three of everything. From there, it was breakfast followed by our real introduction to training - The Manual of Arms and How to March - Coming next.
Posted by Dale Day at 5:08 PM