David Lynn and I, alone in a photo booth>>>Sporting my birth-control glasses>>>Week number six, wearing my blues>>>
December 1984-January 1985

Have you ever woke to the sound of metal garbage cans being kicked past your bed at 4:30am with an angry, loud man screaming and cursing as he kicked your bed? This is how the first day of basic training started for me. I can't say I didn't expect it but still...I was a sensitive guy back then. I lept out of bed to get dressed and had three minutes to be down on the drill pad. I fumbled with my stuff, with the Bread song "It Don't Matter to Me" ringing in my head. I desperately tried to push all my things back into the bag which had been packed extremely tight while Technical Sergeant Joe Heiden, my T.I.(later replaced by Burchette after suffering a hernia) stood over me screaming at the top of his lungs. So this was the military.

I don't do well with people standing over me and screaming one inch from my face. I tend to shut down. And so, the first week, I accidentally picked up two left boots, and was too afraid to tell my T.I. for fear I'd be sent home. I suffered for a few days while my two left boots rubbed my feet until I finally broke down and asked to go back and get my problem fixed. Sergeant Heiden just laughed and brought his buddies over to laugh at me too. I didn't mind; I didn't have to go home! I absolutely hated basic and missed home so much but more than fearing basic, I feared being sent home in shame. I'd finish if I had to die. It took months for me to get the picture of Mom and Dad out of my mind and they made it no secret that the family was depressed that Christmas in 1984. It made me sad all through basic.
Our group of 53 dudes became a fairly tight group. You eventually have to depend on each other and the way teamwork works is...a failure for one is a failure for all. Also a victory for one is a victory for all. Amazing some folks still don't understand this! It's a great life lesson. I wish everyone could go through basic training.

The big surprise for me was, there was very little physical training in Air Force basic. I got slower and gained 12 pounds! It was almost all mind games and academics. I was not prepared for this.
The pictures above were taken in a photo booth with David Lynn, a 27 year-old guy I'd become friends with. We weren't gay. The last photo was taken January 25, 1985. I mailed these home to my family. It's amazing how small and un-cool you feel when you get your head shaved and are then forced to wear ugly glasses. The glasses I'm wearing in the middle photo are Air Force issued glasses, so ugly
they had the nickname "Birth Control Glasses". It was a good thing...there were some women in basic training but we were all segregated and after having been isolated from the opposite sex for so long, and living with 51 other hairless men, they all looked very good, even the ones with the mustaches.<<<previous<<<learning to fly