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By: Ed Creamer

Do you remember the last time the Skipper requested you front and center yourself in his presence without a legal officer being present? Having your somewhat short career flash before your eyes is the first thoughts that come to mind. Since I was enlisted at the time, I started to wonder how much the base cleaners charged to remove and sew on smaller stripes. Or maybe not any at all.

It wasn’t so much that I hadn’t been there before. I had. Only, at that time, “drunk and disorderly in an Okinawa establishment” didn’t carry as much weight when your sleeves only had one stripe pasted on them. It’s just that not only did I get to see the Skipper, I also saw the Sergeant Major. Since the Skipper couldn’t break me to much lower rank that I already was, he had the Sergeant Major discuss the merits of EPD and length thereof.

When it came to the Sergeant Major, a PFC’s Fifth Amendment rights didn’t carry much weight. Neither I suspect, would my 6, 7th or 8th amendment rights. You see, EPD was just one of those things not covered under the Bill of Rights. Guess there weren’t any Privates up in Philadelphia when it was drawn up. I mean, I know I sure would have included it.

Look, I just want you to know I wasn’t responsible for that table getting broken. Nor did I break those glasses that just somehow fell on the deck and broke in that bar I have yet to acknowledge being at. I’m pretty sure I was innocent. Well, I’d have been surer if I could have remembered more. Regardless, I seem to have volunteered to pay some for the broken stuff and even decided I’d stand a junk-on-the-bunk every Saturday for a month. Sergeant Major’s can be pretty persuasive.

Thankfully, that was the last time I ever had to stand tall in front of the man. As for junk-on-the-bunks, well, I stood those all the way through the time I was a Corporal. After awhile you sort of get the hang of what needs to be done to prepare for one of them. In fact, to this day my for better or worse still doesn’t understand why I keep a complete set of clothes starched, ironed and folded with name tags out just laying on the closet deck.

I suppose that wasn’t the worse thing that ever happened to me when I was younger. But, it was one of the things I most vividly remember. I also remember the other three guys who were allegedly with me that night and who were never caught. However, when I offered to let the Skipper know who was with me that night, they offered to buy the beer after each junk-on-the-bunk session. Who said crime didn’t pay?