Friday, November 7, 2008
Leif - Graduation from Infantry Basic Training - April 1998 - Fort Benning, Georgia
Leif chose infantry as his army MOS (occupational specialty) and that made his training that much harder physically, but it was made even harder by having to do it with a broken bone in his foot. Ironically, during first aid and medical training, another recruit tripped and fell on Leif's foot, breaking a bone. Leif was determined to complete basic with his unit and managed to walk and run on that broken foot to do it.
We went to Fort Benning with Nikko for the graduation ceremony, and watched the demonstrations and marching with pride. Leif was the tallest man in his unit, and his military bearing was outstanding. The first photo was taken right after the graduation ceremony, on the parade field.
The second one was taken a day or so later, when we had to take Leif back to his barracks and say goodbye. Most of the class was leaving that day, but he had been selected for further training in armaments and had to stay another couple of weeks. That training also included learning to use and fire a new, very expensive weapon. I don't know the name of it, but he was the only man in the training who actually got to fire a live round and blow up a tank. That was a big thrill for him, and he calculated the cost to the government of that one round he got to fire. It was many thousands of dollars.
Leif had also been selected to be a machine gunner, which pleased him immensely. More about that later.
It was beautiful, warm spring weather in Georgia, and we had a very nice time while there.