737th Training Group, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, September 1972

When I was going through basic the T. I. noticed an airman basic daydreaming. ‘Get your ass over here ! What’s your name?”

“Paul,” the new recruit replied.

The T. I. screamed “The first an last word to come out of your mouth is sir, do I make myself clear?”

The recruit yelled “Sir, yes Sir.”

The T. I  got nose to nose with the recruit “Look, I don’t know what kind of bleeding-heart pansy bull-shit your recruiter told you but I don’t call anyone by his first name,” the sergeant scowled. “It breeds familiarity, and that leads to a breakdown in authority. I refer to my recruits by their last names only — Smith, Jones, Baker and I am to be referred to  as ‘Sergeant do I make myself clear?”

“Sir Yes, sir, Sergeant!”

“Now that we’ve got that straight, what’s your last name?”

The recruit stammered “Sir, Darling, sir my name is Paul Darling sir.”

“Okay, Paul, here’s what I want you to do. . .”

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