Private Capps had to be the shortest guy in our platoon. Our drill Instructor placed him in the rear of first squad. Capps had a tough time in the beginning trying to keep up his pace up with everyone else. After a few weeks though he was able to keep in step and in stride with the rest of us. Until then, it was a hoot to see him just walking around with his short stride. He didn’t look a day over 9 years old. Put that together with the utilities we had to wear in first phase. Remember? Nothing fit right- all clothing items had only two sizes: Too small or too big. His “too big” cover had a clownish appearance. And those damned yellow sweatshirts- I had a tough time keeping my laughter inside when, standing in formation, I caught sight of another recruit with little yellow fuzz balls clinging to his recently shaved melon. Humor was everywhere.
Into our 3rd week at MCRD San Diego in August of 1964, I drew midnight fire watch one night. While “…walking my post in a military manner…”, I had just completed the first circuit at our platoon’s Quonset Hut when I caught sight of a flash exiting the hut headed for the company head. The flash was PVT Capps who had awoken with a sudden case of the green apple two-step, probably from the pork and beans we had that night for evening chow. Anyway, there he was sprinting for his life with one hand holding his cover in place, while the other had a death grip on his baggy, white, skivvies-clad butt running hell bent for the head.
It was all I could do to keep walking my post at right shoulder arms and stifling a laugh with the vision of Capps running around with a firm grip on his stern end. Lucky for me, the OOD didn’t show up with a surprise visit. Capps must have answered the call that night- I didn’t see him return but, he was standing tall, so to speak, in morning formation.