"Really Yelling"…wasn't.  And Don knew it.  

The banty, little Hispanic Drill Sergeant, who was tough as they come, called for his Platoon of "croots" to fall out of the barracks.  They did so in typical recruit fashion, slow and lethargic.  Of course, for a Drill Sergeant, this would NEVER do.  So he ordered them back into the barracks and to come out and fall into formation, on command, YELLING!  Yelling and falling into formation always builds esprit de corps, doesn't it?  But Don had other ideas; being a much older recruit, he was a natural leader.  Thing is, he didn't always use that talent for the correct military purpose.  After a quick conference with his fellow 'croots, the stage was set.

Drill Sergeant: "PLATOON, FALL IN!"  The barracks doors swing open and Don & all of the recruits start "yell-ling"…as in the word "yelling"…over and over.

The Drill Sergeant now knows he has a wise ass on his hands, and he thinks he might know who it is.  But, ever being the good leader, he patiently explains, "No, No, No!  I mean REALLY YELLING.   Now, fall out and let's do it again."

Well, a "do-over" doesn't begin to put a dent in Don's creative thinking.  Now he huddles the croots and tells them to fall out with the words "really yelling".  (Talk about pushing the envelope!)

Drill Sergeant: "PLATOON, FALL IN!"  The barracks doors swing open once again all the croots start "ree-ly yelling"…with those exact words, "ree-ly yelling", imitating the Hispanic accent of the DS…over and over.

The DS has had enough; these guys want to play games with him.  So, he gives the command to fall out, tells them to get their asses into the PT uniform (shirts & shorts) and report to the running track.  Of course, Don and the croots figure the DS is gonna run their asses in the ground naturally.  Well, the DS has a trick of his own up his sleeve.  Once gathered at the track, the DS gave the command to "assume the position" for the 40-yard low crawl.  Now, do you remember what running tracks were filled with back in the 50s-60s?  No, it wasn't shredded rubber or balsa wood, it was CINDER!  So, now it was payback time…they were crawling with exposed arms and legs on those sharp pieces of cinder.  Who's laughing now?  This DS likely made some discreet inquiries and learned the identity of the "platoon joker," and hastened his trip to Nam.

But Don hooked a ticket to helicopter flight training first.  Graduation day didn't come as his Instructor told him, "Don, if you want to commit suicide legally and have your beneficiary collect the money, you've found a perfect way to do it."  So Don reverted to a helicopter mechanic, instead.  (Fortunately, I never flew in any of the aircraft he worked on.)

Then he bought a ticket Ft Sill OCS and the jokes and tricks continued.  It's believed that Don holds the record for demerits and "jarks" up and down MB-4, compliments of his wiseacre skills.  Thus, he has been running all his life and remains a marathon runner to this day.  And still laughs about it all!

Oh, yeah…then came the ticket to Nam…..


Don adds another funny:

One other time we all went to the post theater to see a graduation.  I was sitting next to my Mexican Drill Sergeant.  He leaned over and told me, "When you sit down, yell 'Foxtrot company.'" With his accent, I thought he said" Fuck this company".  I yelled it out as instructed.  Needless to say, I set another record of peeling potatoes on KP, assigned of course by the DI.


Lt Don Keith, as told to Lt Dennis Dauphin  

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