When I first arrived at Fort Ord, I was issued one pair of G.I. glasses, that is, glasses with steel rims. Very chic! By the end of basic training, as previously described, we each received our army job numbers (MOS), and I knew I was to be a company clerk -- somewhere. The next step was to receive orders -- where we were to be assigned. As expected, I received orders for the Far East. Then it was a matter of going through processing for shipment overseas. (No, they didn’t send us Parcel Post).
As I went through the line, at one point I was asked if I had two pair of G.I.glasses. No, Sir, I only have this one pair I’m wearing. At which point they yanked me off orders, and told to go back to my basic company, wait for the second pair, at which time I would be back on orders for the Far East.
So I trudged back to my now empty basic company, save for the trainers (derisively known as RA’s - regular army). For some days I sat in the Supply Room with the Supply Sergeant, swapping stories. Then one day I had notice that my second pair of glasses were in, and I picked them up. A day or two later, there I was in the Supply Room when a call came over the squawk box, “Meyer, you’re wanted in the Orderly Room”.
“Yes, Sir.” The Orderly Room was right across the street, so I trotted around, and went in.
“ Meyer, you’re wanted on the telephone.” (The thought that ran through my head: me? li’l ol’ private meyer? wanted on the phone?) I picked up the phone: “Private Meyer, Sir.” (Technically speaking we were supposed to say ‘sir’ only to commissioned officers, but at that point EVERYBODY was ‘sir’.)
“Meyer, we understand you’ve received your second pair of G.I.glasses.”
“You can go back on FECOM orders, and get your 15 days leave, or you can be assigned to Fort Lawton, Washington immediately without the leave.”
Well I can tell you that was a hard decision to make. I took a long time mulling that over -- at least a tenth of a second.
“I’ll take the Fort Lawton assignment, Sir.”
When I told this story to my son Cliff, who had spent 4 years in the army, he gave me a startled look, and exclaimed, “You mean they gave you a CHOICE?
Yeah. Li’l ol’ me - given a choice. Unheard of! I knew I would get my leave SOME time. As it was, they gave me train tickets into San Francisco, and then from S.F. up to Seattle. I had three days to get to Fort Lawton, and they gave me three days worth of meal tickets. As it was, when I arrived in San Francisco, I walked down into the station, cashed in my train tickets, went around to Western Airlines and bought an airline ticket to Seattle for two days later, and stayed home for the two extra days. Then when I arrived on post, I checked in and cashed in my meal tickets. I think I came out ahead on the deal. Never did get overseas. With my two pair of G.I. glasses.