Monday, November 12, 2012
It began in Sep '65, in Ft Dix, NJ. I was drafted into the Army and was undergoing Basic Training. Having been brought up in Spanish Harlem, I considered myself a real Bad-Ass. I remember smart-mouthing my Drill Instructor and quickly being asked to join him outside behind the barracks. All he did was pick me up with one hand (I was real skinny) and throw me down. He proceeded to tell me that I wasn't so bad, but that he was real bad. He totally got my attention. He turned and left me on the ground to ponder. It was right then that I realized that I was just a punk. The following day I asked an audience with him. He made me wait for two days and finally met me behind the barracks, again. I told him that he made his point and that I would be the model trainee if he shared with me how to be a Bad-Ass in the Army. He told me that he had inquired and discovered that I had passed the Officer Candidate exams. He highly recommended that I attend Officer Candidate School, get into one of the Combat Arms, go Airborne, and finally, graduate successfully from Special Forces training. If I completed all of that, he told me that I would then be an Army Bad-Ass. It was the most life-changing recommendation that I had ever received. I accomplished all that he recommended with a little extra. As a Captain, I re-visited Ft. Dix and inquired into the whereabouts of SSG Peterson. I was told that "My Hero" died in Viet Nam in the service of his country. Each and every Veteran's Day I think of SSg Peterson and thank the Almighty for his input into my life. HOOAAA!!