Commies Need Not Apply.
Most soldiers either don’t remember their first day of induction into the armed forces or just don’t care to. Well, I’m one of those old soldiers who remembers his first day quite vividly. I was with a group of guys from New York and we were all wondering what was going to happen next. We had all completed our physicals and were sitting in a large room. A soldier marches into this large room, where all the pre inductees are lounging in. He raised a clipboard from under his left arm and started to bark out some instructions.
“If you hear your name called out then step over the yella line. Harecourt, Sipenmeyer, Citroen, Barfman”
“Sergeant, my name is Bronfman” said the young recruit trying to correct the pronunciation of his family name.
“Listen if you have a problem with my English, boy, then you can come up front, take a piece of chalk and write your name on the blackboard.”
Bronfman was a tall skinny guy with horn rimmed glasses who looked like he would probably major in Russian literature if he were in college. I kept thinking to myself, why didn’t he just keep his mouth shut and let the Sergeant think he had called out his name correctly. He nervously picked up the chalk and with a trembling hand wrote his name, B-r-o-n-f-m-a-n. He looked at the sergeant with a wane smile on his lips. The sergeant stared at the blackboard for a few seconds and said
“Ok, thanks for spelling your name for us, Barf-man! You can return to your position.”
One recruit standing next to me laughed aloud at the whole scene.
“You!” barked the sergeant at the laugher in the group.
Being that I suffered from an out of control guilt complex, I immediately thought he was pointing his clipboard in my direction.
“Me”, I replied.
feeling as if I needed to run to the men’s room to relieve my bladder.
“No”, said the sergeant, “The idiot standing next to you. Who are you laughing at boy!” the sergeant snarled.
“Nothing sir” replied the idiot, trying to stifle his laughter.
“What’s your name soldier” the sergeant demanded.
“Halloran” He replied,” Sam Halloran”.
The sergeant looked down on his clipboard he then looked back to Halloran.
“And don’t call me sir, do you unnerstand me boy!”
“Yes sergeant”, he replied.
Sam appeared to be a quick learner, something I admired since I was somewhat of a late bloomer when it came to following orders.
The sergeant called out twenty names in all and told them to take their belongings and line up in two rows, by the wall, on the right side of the room. A marine corporal then entered the room and marched off with the twenty men to a transport that would take them to Camp LeJune. The basic training camp of the United States Marine Corps. I then realized that I was fortunate not to have had my name called out. I signed up for the U.S. Army, well not exactly, I was drafted. I was a willing draftee.
“Ok, now listen up”, said the sergeant with the clipboard, “the rest of you dickheads follow me.”
We were all pseudo marched down the hall into a smaller room that looked like a classroom with two American bonafide Betsy Ross flags. Another soldier came into the classroom and we were told to stand up and take an oath to the army and the United States of America.
I”, Bill Shomaker , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.”
Well, it’s been over forty years and that’s what I remember as part of the oath we all took. I was sure that if any one of us refused to raise our right hand and say the Military Oath of Induction, they would be pulled out of the group, branded as a communist and forced to stand trial. At the end of the kangaroo court the convicted “commies” would then be marched off and summarily shot by a firing squad.
Come to think of it, if my memory serves me correctly, no one was really executed for not taking the Military Oath of Induction.