Mike McCrite - Rifles - 1984 - Hayden Lake, ID

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It is amazing when you try and look back at certain parts of your life; some memories are vivid, while others are a bit of a fog.

I remember coming in late at night to Keesler AFB.  I was still in a buzz from finally getting through Basic and not knowing what to expect.  We were greeted by familiar commands and confident voices with ropes on their uniforms.  It had become comfortable.

We were then given choices something that had been a bit dangerous -- "Do you want to be on the 'Bowling team'?"  These questions we learned will get you cleaning the latrine...  But this was different, these offers seemed very real.  I decided that I wanted to be a part of the Keesler Blue Knights Drum & Bugle Corps.

The time in the Corps was indeed some of the best times of my service.  I did not consider my self a musician any longer - I gave up the trumpet in 6th grade and I could never seem to get both hands to move as needed for drums - so I asked to be a Rifle.  I loved the discipline that was required because it was done with fun.

There were torturous times of leaders that seemed to put you in "The Brace" and then walk away, sit down and read a book or watch MTV.  Section leaders that made us memorize rock trivia about the likes of Kiss and Rush (Neil Peart played Pearl Drums...damn it!!!).  The pride that we displayed when would say, "We spin rifles... We do not twirl guns!!!".  Learning to walk on exactly one square of tile down a hallway, even in traffic, while trying to carry books and laundry.  Using so much bleach in the bathrooms that the inspectors could not stay in there long enough to really check the shower stalls. Shining Jump Boots to a mirrored heal and toe with white Ladder Laces.  The sound of Horseshoe Taps on YOUR boots for the first time.  Getting the ascot and beret.

There were some great times in the Spring of 1984:

  • Mardi Gras parades in Kenner, Slidell, La., and Gulfport, Ms.
  • New Orleans Breakers game in the Superdome.
  • Finding ways to mess with and avoid SSgt. BuFu
  • Harassing the Newbies as they arrived from Lackland.
  • Getting in trouble for spending "too much time" hanging out at the Admin Dorms....
  • The honor of being maybe the first and maybe the last MALE Corps Whore (and having to wear the nightie for certain events) - hey, ladies seemed to dig a man that could dress well....LOL
  • Days at the beach and parties at the Tivoli Hotel....

Oh, to be 19 again.....

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