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Chapter 29

Hanging Around

After a great day of playing tourist and getting massages, Kyle and Yvonne sat down to a bottle of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay when Kyle got a call from Mr. S. He was in the studio and wanted Kyle to come over and check out his newest project. Kyle told him he would love to and would get Driver to take him to Berkeley where the studio was. Kyle arrived and told the receptionist, or part-time musician, that he was looking for Mr. S. He walked around the corner to studio 7. This was the same one that Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded their albums at, he was told. S was in the box doing some vocals when Kyle came in. An engineer was working the big board, dialing in the sound they wanted to capture for this song. It was cool to see S working and putting his magic to the song. He sounds great, Kyle thought. In a few moments, S came out, and they all listened to his vocals as the engineer tweaked them a little. It was now time for the lead guitarist, Tilley Jackson, to come in and lay down his tracks, and when he was done, the bass and drums both came in and put it down. It was the first time Kyle had seen how they make music these days. He also saw that one song on an album could take days to get it right, depending on the sound they were going after. It was getting late, and Kyle had some work he needed to get started on, so he said his goodbyes to S and the guys and had Driver take him to the boat to crash for the night.

“Hey, Driver, I would like you to meet me on deck tomorrow morning. I want to discuss my next assignment, see what you think of my idea on how to handle and to accomplish without any press.”

“Sure, boss, what time do you want me there?”

“Let us get started around eight-thirty. I will see you in the morning then. Have a good night, Driver.”

“You too, boss.”

“Well, good morning, Yvonne. How are you doing? This is a nice surprise.” Yvonne was in her office.

“I just wanted to call you and thank you for the beautiful flowers and wonderful day we spent shopping and lunch and, of course, the massage.”

“You certainly are welcome. I found it very relaxing.”

“What are you up to this morning? Are you still in the city?”

“Yes, I am getting ready for a meeting. My next assignment will be in the city, so I will be around, and I look forward to spending more time with you.”

“That is good news. I will let you get on with your meeting. I hope to see you soon.”

“Thanks, Yvonne. Have a good one.” While Kyle was finishing up his phone call with Yvonne, the ship steward walked over to his chair on the deck with a view of the estuary. The Coast Guard station was just down the waterway, and you could see the big cutters floating into port, a nice sight in all their red and white. There was a naval base just to the north of the boat, but it was closed a few years ago. Kyle had a real liking for the military, and being an army officer was one reason, but he thought it was his father who worked on the amphibious base in Coronado. He used to take them to where the Navy Seal’s train and they could see some of the things they had to go through in their training. All the boys got a real kick out of it. Kyle was the only one to join the military. The two other brothers decided not to participate, and that was okay, as it was a volunteer army.

Kyle, months away from his eighteenth birthday, really did not think about joining the military. He was not interested in talking with the navy recruiter, as he had grown up in San Diego and always laughed at the sailors on the beach with their tight bathing suits with a T-shirt and a pack of cigarettes rolled in the sleeve. Kyle was curious about the army.

He found himself in front of the army recruiter’s desk who was working hard to excite this young man to join and serve his country, the same country whose involvement in Vietnam had thousands of American boys being shipped back to the States in body bags. Knowing this, Kyle was not interested in joining then going to fight in this war if it was not to protect the country he lived in and his family. The recruiter felt his hesitation, so he came up with an offer that was going to excite Kyle and give him a new family who would care about him and be there when he needed them.

A new start was ahead of him. The recruiter offered him the chance to join special services and play baseball for the army. Kyle, who was a star on the ball field throughout high school, liked the offer and said okay, he would join. He would travel throughout the world, wherever the troops were and entertain them with America’s game, baseball. Well, being only seventeen, he would need his mother’s signature, and he did not feel that would be a problem, knowing she would be happy to do so. She would not have to worry about him being alone anymore and no more thinking of killing himself.

Well, his mother signed, and Kyle was going to report to basic training at Fort Ord near Monterey in two weeks.

Kyle was excited to start his new military career and was going to spend the next two weeks saying goodbye to his friends and his girlfriends. He knew that he would be without the soft body of a young vixen in his bed for a while and was willing to make that sacrifice. He was busy consorting with his sweethearts to hold him over until he would be allowed to pursue such delights again.

But now, he would have to concentrate on being the best army soldier he could be. Before he could start playing baseball for the army, he would have to complete basic training. As his bus pulled up to the induction center, all aboard the bus, they were excited but also a little scared, not knowing what was going to happen in the next three months. It did not take long to figure out what was going to take place because as soon as the bus pulled up to the gate of this military installation, there were the large insignias on the cement walls holding in the fighting machine that had been trained to kill whenever it was ordered to do so.

While Kyle was admiring the grounds around the fort, a mean-looking drill sergeant with a scowl on his face had entered the bus and was yelling at them already, “You maggots need to stand up, grab your shit, and get your skinny asses off this bus. I said now, or you will get my boot up your ass!”

What a nice welcome after a six-hour drive. Let the games begin.

Once off the bus, Kyle and his buddies stood in line as instructed and soon had another drill sergeant in their face yelling at the top of his voice, “You all don’t have what it takes to be a soldier in this man’s army. You are all pieces of shit, and it will be my job to make you into a soldier. I will own your ass for the next three months. I am your mother, your father, and I will make these next months the worst you ever have experienced.”

Kyle stood there, shaking, watching others being taken apart. One guy was carrying too much weight. He was fat, and two DSs were busy making him feel as little as they could, bringing tears to the young man’s face. Kyle waited for his turn to be yelled at and wondered what the hell had he gotten himself into.

Within the next several weeks, Kyle and his fellow privates were put through hell, day in and day out with considerable harassment levied against all of them. He never missed his mother so much on those quiet nights when the heavens were filled with stars against a black blanket, and as Kyle looked up and thought of his mother and father, tears would begin to fall on his cheeks as his heart ached in that army cot. How could one feel so alone when living in the barracks with forty others?

It was not until six weeks in the basic training that Kyle was called to report to command and see the master sergeant. He always felt scared when he had to report to command not knowing what was up and why needed to see him. They all were taught that you do not volunteer for anything in the army. You would regret it.

As he stood in front of the master sergeant’s desk at parade rest, anxious to hear why he was summoned, the master sergeant said, “Private Stone, I have some news for you and not sure you are going to like it. Are you ready for it?”

“Sir, yes, sir,” was his reply.

The black man, looking so military in his uniform and all those stripes and ribbons, finally said, “Your orders have been changed. There is no longer a program to play baseball in the army, and you will have to decide what MOS you want to sign up for.”

Kyle thought immediately that he just got the recruiter screw as it was called. They signed you up for one thing and then change it once you are already in and have nothing to say about it. Soon, he was yelled at to make a decision or one would be made for him. He always liked engineering and wanted to learn about something he had an interest in and anything but infantry. Infantry was the one that took the most lives, out in front being the first to engage the enemy. If you liked action, and you get off on the fear of death, then this was for you.

“Are you ready? We don’t have all day,” was the question from behind the desk.

“Yes,” he said. “I would like to go into and learn how to be a combat engineer.”

The master sergeant said, “That will work. I will submit your new orders and let you know when they come back. Now get your ass back out there and report to the firing range.”

“Sir, yes, sir,” was his answer.

It did not take long to hear something about where he was going to report to after he graduated from basic training. He was told that his request was approved, and he would be reporting to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and start his training in combat engineering.

Upon opening his eyes as he lay on his bunk, looking at snowflakes falling, he had to wonder why he would be in Missouri during the winter, trying to build a bridge on a frozen river. As Kyle lay there, he thought how nice it would be to just fast-forward his life on the other side of all the misery he was going to endure and the possibility he would not come home alive.

Kyle, knowing he came from Knights Templar who fought for the good, made him feel important inside, and he fought hard in the Army, and after months of excellence in training, he was offered the opportunity to go to Officers’ School, but it would not be in engineering, but in the infantry, the ones who fight the war, just like his family had always done, warriors and proud of it. He accepted this opportunity and soon was on his way to Fort Benning, Georgia, to see if he had what it took to be an infantry officer, a leader amongst men.

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