At seventeen, after graduating from Odessa High School, I enlisted in the United States Army Air Force Cadets. I was told the food would be great in the service. It was on the troop train to Fort Dix, NJ that a guy came around handing out lunch; a dried out, skimpy bologna sandwich. I was worried I’d made a big mistake and that they’d told me the food was good just to get me to enlist. Luckily, when I got to the basic training in Biloxi, MS, the food was decent and plentiful. I was a skinny kid.
Soon after I’d arrived at basic training, I got a letter from my father. I’d always interpreted his silence as disapproval. His letter said he hoped I was doing well, and that he was proud of me. I sat there and bawled like a baby. My fellow soldiers were comforting, telling me “Everyone feels like that here sometimes.”