There are some events in life that you know you will never forget. The day I was handed my M-16 (history of the M16 at Gunivore) is definitely on that exclusive, personal list. The amount of anticipation, the new uniforms, the sharp orders. All engraved into a special place in my memory.
The morning started like any other in basic, two hours before the sun. By the time the sun was up we had already done sprints, pushups and had been yelled at for long enough that all of us to forget how cold it is without that bright yellow ball in the sky. None of this mattered however on this day. Today was the day we’d get our M-16s, the day that would really start our journey as soldiers and separate us from the non-combat types. This is why we were there, this is what we stare at when we see soldiers. This will finally be ours. A real M-16, no games, no fakes, the real McCoy, an M-16. As we marched in perfect order to the armory you could smell the anticipation in the air, taste the longing of these men to take the first real step in becoming warriors, receiving our weapons. I’m in the middle of the line and its excruciating to wait there while my buddies get theirs and are marched off to the sit to wait for us all to get our M-16s like them. I can see them oohing and aahing over their weapons, see them examining the magazines and comparing stuff in between them. I can hear the occasional argument with the armorer asking for an M-16 without any scratches on it or magazines that aren’t taped yet. Without fail when a newbie would make such a request the commander would make him drop and do ten. He then would stand and if he opened his mouth with another request he would repeat the process until he managed to understand. After what seemed like an eternity and what anyone that has ever been to a military armory can tell you it damn near was an eternity, my turn finally came. I stepped up and was given a brisk “stand on the line.” “Name, personal identification number” I stood rod still and gave my info, I saw him reach onto the shelf and pull out a shiny black rifle and a bag of accessories.
“Sign here, all of this is yours. If anything gets lost its you on the line for it. Any questions?” “no questions Sir.” I quickly responded reaching for the pen. I quickly jotted my info and went off to the corner with my friends trying not to smile too brightly. A commander Came over and what would grow into a never ending set of drills for the next seven months began almost immediately after we had been handed our M-16s. I decided on the day I received her that her name would be Marge after my great grandmother. Marge and I went through a lot, and even though we weren’t together very long we definitely had something special.