Sometimes the few moments spent just before leaving a group, company, or any organization can be the best time spent there.

The anticipation of getting away from these crazy people is off the charts. 

You’ve done your time and you’re ready to leave. 

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At the time, I believed that the weeks that I had spent in basic training in lovely Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio were the worse. But the next day after graduation (and after having been awarded honor graduate for my “skills” as guidon during honor flight competition) as I started to step onto a chartered Greyhound bus headed north for Wichita Falls, TX (which wasn’t but two continents away) I contemplated the past six weeks.

They weren’t that bad, I thought.

I got into shape, learned to actually listen to people, and got some new clothes.

And a bonus haircut. 

With that in mind, here’s a photo of a group of Soldiers about to separate from the Army at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey in 1948. To be fair, I don’t think that they had such a flippant attitude of their own days in the Army as I did my Air Force BMT days. After all, these guys were almost all veterans of WWII. That is, it is likely that many saw action in any number of battles.

I don’t have a lot of photos from my dad’s time in the Army, so I try to mine each of them for as much information as I can. He is standing in the back row on the far left. He’s not demonstrating the best military bearing either; hands on hips, scowl on face, and large ears protruding from his garrison cap. Heck, he may have had a few drinks by then, who knows.

He’s the only one in the photo standing this way. Well, except for the guy in front of him leaning on two of his friends’ shoulders.

My dad enlisted in the Regular Army in 1945, months after the war was declared over. I am not positive what he did in those three years, but I have documents stating that he was a drill instructor, a mechanic, and a driver.

There are a few stories that go with each occupation that I hope to get to on this blog. But, here in this photo, he certainly looks like he’s ready to get out of the Army and go home to Choctaw County Alabama. 

Sometimes I can relate.

Camp Kilmer 1948

Separation Center – August 9, 1948 Camp Kilmer, NJ