Guard Duty

As a navy recruit, assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in 1964, my job was to follow orders unquestioningly and to the best of my ability.

Chosen for midnight guard duty one night; I was stationed behind our barracks to keep watch over the Company Dumpster. Armed with my drill rifle and an attitude, I began to march back and forth in the snow as instructed by the Petty Officer of the Watch.

In 10 degree temperatures, with a twenty knot wind blowing off the lake, I guarded that dumpster intently. At 3 AM, a truck stopped by to empty the dumpster but I stood firm between them, determined to not allow that to happen at all. At one point, I leveled my weapon directly at him. I meant business.

Our standoff lasted for more than an hour, as I stood my ground unflinchingly, until finally, the driver gave up and backed away into the night. Next morning when the Petty Officer of the Watch brought my relief, I reported the incident in true military fashion.

Somewhere, he is still laughing.

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