Raised an Eyebrow

Raised an Eyebrow

In the previous century, in the days of Quonset Huts and M-14’s and Robert Strange McNamara’s accursed sateen utilities, I was proudly wearing the black fair leather belt of the Platoon Commander, (also otherwise known as the Senior Drill Instructor) and was, so far I as I know, one of only two SGT Platoon Commanders on the entire Depot (San Diego) at the time….the other being one ‘Frog’ Martin, whose top ribbon read “continued on the other side”… broken time after Korea, etc.

We periodically were reminded that “there will be NO ‘personal servitude’ by any recruit”….which, at the time, in L Company, meant assigned house mouse’s…..of course, every platoon in the series had two or three, with varying duties… changing linen on the duty DI’s rack, running coffee, etc.

It was time for the 7th week inspection, to be held by the Company Commander….in this case, Captain Powell….a Mustang. The house mice were two feather merchants who knew they had it made, and their positions were both at the small end of the first squad. The inspection went well, and as I proceeded the Captain down the line of fourteen scrubbed (brush and Fels-Naptha soap) faces, one of the questions he asked of each and every recruit in the front rank was “Who are the house mouse’s in this platoon?”…..and fourteen times, he heard ‘Sir? house mouse, Sir? the Private doesn’t understand the question, sir’… including from the two very maggots he was searching for.

As has been the custom since inspections were invented, the inspecting officer, his note-taker, and I circled the platoon, coming back to the front, where Capt Powell bade me have the platoon stand at ease while he gave me his impressions of the platoon, the things he liked, and the things he thought needed additional work… all very professional, in a slightly relaxed way… and when he was done, raising his voice just slightly, he said “Sgt Dickerson, I’ve got a couple of footlockers in the trunk of my car that need to be carried into the Company Office… I need the house mice out here.”

KaPow!… two sets of heels came together, two rifles moved smartly to port arms, and… two hice mice stepped off smartly, left foot first…

Capt Powell just looked at me, raised an eyebrow, and said ‘Ummm-hummm’… I never heard another word about it…

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