Yesterday a young man asked me a question. The question was, how did you get to be the way you are? This is the answer he got, without the colorful language.
SSG. Teddy Coppic and SSG. Leon Flood were my Drill Sergeants at Ft. Jackson, S.C. in 1975. These two men taught me to be a Soldier.
SSG. Gary Windham was my first Platoon Sergeant at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Ga. in 1975 This man taught me to be a Leader.
In between Basic Combat Training(BCT) and your first permanent(which is not nor is the second, third and subsequent permanent duty stations, it is only the first of many)duty station, there is more training called Advanced Individual Training(AIT). During AIT I did not encounter anyone who stood out as exceptional or a real crud. They were all mediocre. Mediocre people are never remembered. I remember being there but not the people.
During my many Permanent Duty Stations, which change every time when you receive Permanent Change of Station(PCS) Orders I encountered many people considering my military career spanned over twenty years. I had many Platoon Sergeants none of them rose to the level of SSG Coppic, SSG Flood or SSG Windham, it’s not that they were mediocre, it’s just that they did not inspire me, one way or the other, and I remember their names, if I were to list them it would not take much time or energy. I can remember every cruddy one though and there were many, I was inspired to never be like them, but I can not remember the mediocre ones. I even got my chance at being a Platoon Sergeant many times during my career. Hope I made the “short list” and inspired others the way SSG Coppic, SSG Flood and SSG Windham inspired me.
Daddy he taught me to be a Man. I will only call him Daddy, because there was a short time we both worked at the same place in 1974. I had a job, my own money, my own truck and thought I was grown, called him by his name once, learned I was not grown, and never did that again.
I told that young man the following. The list of greatness is short, the list of crud is long and no one remembers the mediocre. I will be remembered one way or the other, I will never be mediocre. He walked away scratching his head. A person should not ask a question if they can not afford the answer. I never did get to ask him the same question, wonder what his answer would have been.