Glenn Madden


  Personal Stuff



Leaving Home

At 17 years of age I wanted to go into the army and be a part of the Special Forces. I guess this was so I could be better at physical and mental feats than those that had pushed me from school. I went with my mom and talked with a recruiter. They told us that I could not join the army until I was 18. He said I could join the Army National guard instead, which would let me complete the same basic training before entering the army when I was 18. It sounded good, so I joined the Army National Guard. I left Bilo on a leave of absence to go for my 2 month training at Fort Gordon Georgia. The Army National Guard trained me in satellite communications. This details much learning about the world that I had never seen before.

It was time to leave home and I do not remember any sad good by's, as my wings were ready to fly. I packed my bag with a few things from a list they had said I was allowed to bring and the recruiter drove me down to Fort Jackson South Carolina for a physical examination. After passing the examination they took a lot of us into a big room and explained that we were going to swear an oath to defend the USA with our lives if necessary. After that they took us to a bunkhouse that was just one big room with about 50 beds or more. Everyone took showers and got ready to go to bed. I remember one young man in particular because he was sitting in the floor with his hands outstretched. I come to find out that he was meditating and building his muscles. He said that if you tensed up the muscles and then relaxed them it was better than lifting weights. I tried but always get bored. I myself have never been much of a muscle builder. Someone shouted lights out in 10 minutes. I climbed into a bunk and began my nightly silent talk with God from my heart. I prayed that he would help me to be strong in the face of this new challenge in my life. Then while still praying I went to sleep.

I did not feel that I had closed my eyes more than 5 minutes when someone turned all of the light on and started shouting get out of the bed. We were rushed outside half dressed and lined up someone started shouting that we had to line up better before we would go for breakfast. There was a lot of shouting and I was feeling like I was on a movie set. Nothing really seemed real to me. I felt like a spectator watching and just followed the person in front of me. I finally realized that it was only 3am and the sun was not coming up fro another 3 hours. Somehow the person shouting got this mob to march somewhat staggeringly to the mess hall. We ate a good breakfast. After that we were taken to a place to get our military equipment and uniforms. We were first given a duffel bag and backpack to put everything into. Through a very organized process we were all outfitted with about 50lbs of equipment. This we took back to the bunkhouse and stored.

The man that was wearing the funny hat and ordering around disappeared for about 1 hour. When he came back he yelled at us some more and said we had to get our vaccinations and that we were late so we had to run about 1 mile to a special building for this. We were lined up outside single file, kind of like being in line at Disney world. I made it to the door and just inside they had people with these air guns that would inject the vaccination. I was somewhat relaxed until to the young man in front of me took his turn. When they shot him with the injection he moved and put a big gash in his arm. I stood stock still afraid to even breath when it was my turn. Then we were all taken back outside and they asked if we were OK to go and eat. A few people were starting to get sick due to the vaccinations. I felt OK and I never pass up a chance to eat. We got to the mess hall but there was a big line outside. It was also starting to get very hot. Someone asked if I was OK. I guess they could see that I was not feeling well. But I knew that if I could just get out of the heat before I passed out I would be OK. I looked into the blackness that had obscured my vision in the direction of the voice that asked me that. I drew up as much of energy from inside of me as I could and lied that yes I was just fine. I know that I almost passed out as several others had already done. I did make it inside and I was right by thinking that I would be OK once the cool air hit my head. After eating we were all allowed to go back to the bunkhouse and recover the rest of that day from the vaccinations.

Basic training was my first real time away from home. I guess all of the yelling they did and the never stop of physical exercises I did not have much time to think about home. The most extreme things I can remember during is the day they let us shoot the rocket launcher and threw grenades. One boy dropped a grenade but the drill instructor was right there and picked up in time to throw it clear of the. We did a whole lot of running and pushups. They taught us how to take apart and put an M16 rifle together blindfolded. I got a lot of sores on my feet but I did Ok for someone that had never did much physical exercise. Nothing much interesting happened until closer to graduation. I met a young woman from Mexico whom I had a crush on. Other than a few photos with her that was as far as it went. After graduation we had a huge party in Augusta Georgia. I went down with about 4 other people from the graduating group to put together the party. We rented two rooms at a hotel. Then we went and bought a truckload of liquor. We all started drinking around 3 in the afternoon. I was starting to get pretty light headed by about 5 that afternoon. I guess I must have been because I walked in on a couple of my friends doing it in the room nobody was in. I only remember it with a kind of cloudy like incident. I remember that as I was leaving the room they shouted for me to come back. But I just went walking. I was really drunk.

Somewhere along the way I fell into a hole and twisted my ankle. I guess it was then I must have headed back to the rooms. The party had already started. Someone told me to get a drink, so I did in a 16oz Solo party cup. I think I finished it pretty fast because the last clear thing I remember was asking somebody to fix me a suicide drink and he or she did. I passed out for a short time then I remember having my head in the toilet puking my brains out. I looked up from the toilet into some bright lights and someone said your taxi is here. They stuffed me into the taxi with someone else and sent me back to the base. I do remember telling him to stop at least three times for me to fertilize the roadside with alcohol. That closes that memory or probably it was just burned away. Basic training was over but I still had 4 weeks of special school training. This was much easier as all we had to do was daily exercise in the morning sometimes. We had most evenings free and we could ask for a pass to go downtown Augusta. I started going browsing around the bars. I still remember the first time I saw a real live naked woman. It was at a strip bar in Augusta and they danced as they took their clothes off. This one woman I still have a vivid memory of because she danced with this huge snake. I remember that she had red hair and she was what I now know would be called a true red head. The rest of training went without too much to talk about. After graduating form the training I made arrangements with a black friend of mine to give him a ride back to Greenville SC. My mom talked about that for a long time because he was black. She would, "Oh its OK there are many that are good." I would try and convince her in my own way that it was wrong to segregate a group of people as being good are bad. I guess it came with her upbringing, I am glad her way of thinking did not sink into me. I would have never noticed my friend was black if she had not said something.



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