concrete like so many spray-dazed ants.nThey made no response, seemed obliviousnto me, if not to what I had done. Incommanded them a second time, withnno better luck. All I could do was standnthere and try to. think up something tonsay to Lieutenant Bingham that mightnmake some difference.nSo far, my experience with the Marinesnhad not been a happy one. I hadnsucceeded in alienating myself from mynfellow ofEcers-in-the-making on thenvery third night by reading aloud tonthem, unrequested, from my secondstorynbunk, a passage from the works ofnAlfred North Whitehead, and I evennrefused to stop when asked. If mynplatoon mates had not been prospectivencollege juniors themselves, and so eventuallynprepared to understand that suchnbehavior was merely a typically sophomoricnsign of utter misery, I might havenbeen consigned to purdah for the wholensix weeks. As it was, they saw throughn’:-• ssmm&SWs^iss^:n„.. . .”V^’r’ – Vnaata-o«aSv3EEtfe:j 5Siaj»n516 pagesn^^iTcounts foif/l Visa / MC / Discoverncutssroomu^ 1-800-437-2268nFor discount informationnFREE SHIPPING (517)439-1528n$19.95 hardcover ext. 2319^n$9.95 paperback ^Kn50/CHRONICLESnHILLSDALEâ„¢nt^OLLEGEnmy pose quickly enough; and, lackingnan audience, I retired, in as dignified anmanner as possible, to the can — tonwrite self-pitying letters to my girlnfriend, who was spending her summernnot in stifling Quantico, Virginia, but atnthe Jersey shore, playing in the waves.nThe Marine Corps had not exactlynlived up to my expectations. I hadnthought that there might be interestingntactical lectures, group discussions onnhow best to do so and so, so as tonaccomplish such and such. I imaginednthat I would become a sharpshooternextraordinaire, learn how to put a realnpolish on a pair of cordovans, and grownadept at such skills as map-reading andnsurvival camping. I expected to returnnto college in the fall lean and tough,nfull of fond memories of trials sharednand obstacles overcome. I had hopednthat my sergeant would be a SpencernTracy sort, that he would enthrall usnwith thrilling Wodd War II stories andnguide us into the ways of wisdom.nI had not counted on the heat. I hadnnot realized how little sleep we wouldnget—and how pooriy I would functionnon it. Even with the fans on, my backnwould stick to the sheet at night. Allnday, every day, I was groggy to thenpoint where even the naps I took whilenwaiting in line or listening to thensergeant drone on about such fascinatingntopics as the assembly and disassemblynof the M-1 rifle left me unrefreshed.nVery soon, indeed, all Inwanted was out.nThen there was the night—threenweeks had somehow gone by — when,njust before lights out, we were told tonprepare for special maneuvers. Thenwhole battalion was involved. We werento march three miles — through thenmud, as it turned out, for it was rainingn— take up defensive positions on HillnX, and prepare to be attacked by 3rdnBattalion. Understood? “Forward!n! March!” As battalion messenger,nit was my task to notify headquartersnas soon as the enemy started tonmove. I was posted well ahead of ournfront lines—where I would be in angood position to see and hear — andntold to run, not walk, the news back tonthe high command as soon as I had it.nIn the rain and the dark I could see andnhear nothing. I was alone: the forwardnobserver, unobserved. I spread mynponcho out under a tree, folded half ofnit over me, and went to sleep. The firstnnnI knew of the attack was when annenemy boot in the small of my backnbrought it to my attention. Needless tonsay, the battle was not a long one; andnthe messenger, for his part in thendefeat, was rewarded with a weekend’snworth of close-order drill.nLieutenant Bingham was a historynprofessor in civilian life. He wore darknglasses, carried a swagger stick, was anlittle too portly for his uniform, and sonfar he had relied almost entirely onnSergeant Buklas, a long-term regular,nfor virtually everything. When LieutenantnBingham showed himself to us,nwhich was rarely, it was usually at andistance — at the end of the barracks,nnear the door, on the lecture platformn— riot, like Sergeant Buklas, up verynclose, his face practically touchingnyours as he stripped your bunk, ornknocked your head-propping elbow offnits desk. Had Sergeant Buklas beennstriding toward me on that parade field,nI might simply have collapsed.nLieutenant Bingham did not sonmuch as glance in my direction. Hisneyes were fixed on my platoon, stillnplastered up against the wall. As henapproached them, they began to snapnto. “Forward!” he commanded them,nand they began to snap to. “March!”nThey turned, taking their place withnthe others. I was alone. I stood there innthe broiling sun waiting for doom tonfall, but it never did. Platoon afternplatoon passed by me, but no onenrecognized my existence, and no onenstopped. It was worse than beingnscreamed at. Lieutenant Bingham hadnnot only taken over my job. He had leftnme to stand there by myself and watchnhim do it.nThere were repercussions, ofncourse, but later he counseled me,nquite kindly, about my not having,nperhaps, quite the right temperamentnfor a Marine. I had to agree; but Inwanted to explain, and never did, that Inhad marched my platoon into the wallnnot out of ineptitude, as he had supposed,nnor on purpose, as SergeantnBuklas would have it, but—^verynsimply — out of an excessive expansivenessnof spirit. Had a specializationnbeen offered called “creative, closeorderndrill,” I wanted to tell him, Inmight have made quite a good Marine.nClinton W. Trowbridge writes fromnSedgwick, Maine.n