service. To make a bad pun, I jumped the gun and abruptlynvolunteered for the Marine Corps.nBy summer, I was on my way to the V-12 ofEcer trainingnprogram at Emory University in Atlanta. No sooner had Inarrived at Emory, received my uniform, learned the rudimentsnof marching and military procedure, engaged everynday in hateful unit calisthentics, than I realized I wasnthoroughly unmilitary and, certainly, not suited to be annofficer in the Marine Corps. In the first place, the V-12nprogram required that one complete courses in trigonometry,nchemistry, and physics—courses for which I had nonpreparation or aptitude and which I knew I could not pass.nThe only thing I remember about the physics course wasnthat the professor told us that an extraordinary secretnweapon was under development—a bit of informahon thatnshowed his lack of discretion in wartime.nAs I soon gave up on homework, I had plenty of time tonplay the piano in the Sunday school building attached tonthis Methodist University, to browse in the library, and tonenjoy my speech course in which we read from radio playsnsuch as Archibald MacLeish’s “The Fall of the City.” I alsonhad time to write numerous letters to IDB (Adele Rodgers)nand mail them at the littie post office down the road fromnmy dormitory turned barracks. The noncommissionednofficers attached to our V-12 unit included Old Chinan• .’.”J*.-, 7, C.’-j?nHands, who wore the distinctive ties and other gear appropriatento the Old Corps and took a surprisingly tolerant viewnof the V-12 Marines. Many of the members of the unit werenformer college athletes who were as unprepared as I to passnthe science and math courses. In time, we would all benshipped out.nThe summer, however, was pleasant. We had liberty onnthe weekend evenings. With my Marine pay—perhaps $25na month, which went far in those distant days (it was thenfirst real spending money I ever had)—I took the trolleyndown Ponce DeLeon Avenue to Five Points, the heart ofndowntown Atianta. The trolleys were open-sided cars in thensummer months and offered a delightful, leisurely ride. Innno way did they seem archaic. It never crossed my mindnthat trolleys would disappear before many years—alongnwith steam engines.nI prowled the book and music stores in Atlanta and evennmade a record of several short piano pieces I had composed.nThere always seemed to be enough money for supper, anmovie, and a cherry smash on the way home to Emory,nwhere, late Saturday night, I read the first edition of thenSunday Atlanta Constitution. All this summer, the warnseemed far away and unconnected with what I was doing,nthough I was in uniform, took part in military formations,nand attended classes on military duties and discipline.nLooking back on it, the program was too leisurely andncivilianized for the purposes of the Marine Corps. Basically,nof course, it was a Navy program, and the Marinesnconstituted only a small contingent.nCome fall, however, those who couldn’t pass the coursesnwere cut from the program—more than 200 of us, if I recallncorrectly. We were bused to the railroad station in downtownnAtlanta and put on our own private troop train, whichntook five days to cross the country from Ceorgia to SouthernnCalifornia. It was a memorable journey in Pullman cars—nmy first opportunity to view the vast expanses of the UnitednStates. We crossed the Mississippi, came into Houston atnnight, passed the white sand maneuver grounds in NewnMexico where tanks were exercising, climbed the mountains,nand sped down the California coast to the oldnSpanish-style railroad station at San Diego.nOur unit was unlike any other unit that had arrived at thenSan Diego Recruit Depot up to that point. To the frustrationnof the drill instructors, who customarily terrorizednrecruits by subjecting them to the special Marine Corpsnshock treatment, we were already Marines, already had ournhair cut short, already were in uniform, and already knewnhow to march with precision, and, in the main, knew allnthe military routines normally taught in boot camp. Thisnput the DFs in a position they had never experiencednbefore. Moreover, many of the men in my unit were collegenfootball players to whom an obstacle course was child’snplay. The intelligence level in the unit also was well aboventhat of the typical recruit platoon. Fortunately, the DInassigned to my platoon was a savvy, older, and betterneducated corporal who was able to deal with the markedlyndifferent situation without loss of face. Our platoon sailednthrough boot camp, except for the time in the rifle rangenoutside the city where the noncommissioned range officersnwere very tough and regularly kicked us or hit us withnammunition boxes if we didn’t hit the target. Also, workingnnnNOVEMBER 19871 17n