Sgt. Hook, who will soon be deployed with his unit to â€œthe Stan,â€ writes about the â€œthrillâ€ of pre-deployment immunizations. It brought to mind my getting immunizations at Fort Holabird a zillion years ago along with the other guys who were to be stationed overseas at the conclusion of our training.
Typical of the Army, we stood in a long line in a large room as the medics stood to our left and right, each administering a different shot. We had been instructed in a â€œcommand voice, â€ which is a very loud, curious, syncopated monotone heard, to my knowledge, only in the military, â€œGentlemen, you will remove your shirts. You will tie them around your waist. You will roll up both sleeves on your undershirts, and you will remain that way until instructed otherwise. Step lively. Tighten up those ranks. Tighter! Make your buddy smile!â€
So, we shuffled through the line, shirts tied around our waists, until we came to the hypodermic gauntlet where medics, some on the left and some on the right, gave the injections in the arm closest to them. However, one of the â€œinjectorsâ€ near the end of the line was a woman, who understood that, by the time we reached her station, our arms had been turned into pin cushions. She was kind enough to ask each GI as she brandished her needle, â€œwhich arm would you like this in?â€
The guy behind me, a fellow from upstate New York who was a buddy of mine, answered by pointing at me and saying, â€œIâ€™d like mine in his arm, please.â€
I wonder if Jim Greer from Oswego, New York (who was sent to Korea and whom I havenâ€™t seen since) has any idea that his smartass remark, made so many years ago, still makes me smile.