Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Pace Setter

I was drafted into the army with a group of 80 other guys and started 8 weeks of Basic Training in Ft. Lewis Washington. One third of our group were black guys from Oakland, one third were cowboys from Montana, and the rest were from the mid-west like me. There were no volunteers in the group – we were all draftees and not especially pleased to be in the Army.

Every morning and evening all 80 guys would be escorted on a 2 mile run with a hyper-active drill sergeant running up and down screaming at us. Any group like that always has at least one guy that can't keep up and we had ours – Morris. He was about 30 pounds overweight and definitely out of shape.

Morris was a constant target of the drill sergeant's wrath and was ridiculed by him whenever he couldn't keep pace. After more than a week of this, I convinced the group that we needed to do something. I suggested that we all run only as fast as Morris and sold the idea as a way to mess with the mind of the drill sergeant.

The next morning we started our regular 2 mile run and after about the first 5 minutes, Morris couldn't keep pace and slowed down. Right on cue, we all slowed down to his pace. When he started running again, we started running again, when he slowed down, we slowed down.

The drill sergeant went ballistic! No matter what he did or how much he yelled, none of the 80 guys would go any faster than Morris. 

It was the beginning of a significant shift in the Basic Training balance of power.


  1. U cud be a revoluntionist! Reminds me of Full-Metal Jacket !!!

  2. I'd forgotten this story - one of my favorites!