Freshman Orientation Week

What did I learn at FOW? AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I learned that for the next nine months, I would have no life and no privileges. Number One, I had no first name any longer. "fish Hay" was my new name. Freshman are not allowed to go anywhere without one of their "fish buddies". You couldn't go to the bathroom without one of your buddies. Unless it was study hours, you were in for it if you were in the hallway alone. There were 30 freshman in that class in B-Company. "High School Harries" every one of us. That first day we went and got our hair shaved off. And we only had four "fish answers" to directed questions. "Yes, Sir!", "No, Sir!", "No Excuse, Sir!", and my personal favorite, "Sir, not being informed to the highest degree of accuracy, I hesitate to articulate for fear that I might deviate from the true course of rectitude. In short, sir, I am a very dumb fish, and do not know, Sir!" (which basically means "I don't know", but that isn't one of the "fish answers")

We learned the Band "hump-it" which goes "The Fight'n Texas Aggie Band, the best damn outfit on the Campus!!!". Signs hung in the hallway stating "The Aggie Band, Not the Easiest, but the Best". A different world. It was required to know the 42 some odd "cush questions" for inspections. Stuff like the 19 branches of the Texas A&M University System, the Aggie medal of honor winners, and the story of the 12th man. My favorite was the advice Governor Coke gave to the students, when he said:

"Let your watchword be duty, and know no other talisman of success than labor. Let honor be your guiding star in your dealings with your fellows, your superiors, with all. Be as true to a trust reposed as a needle to the pole. Stand by the right even to the sacrifice of life itself, and learn that death is preferable to dishonor."

All in all, life was crap, but one thing that kept me going in the early on was a speech from Jeff Cambell, B-Co Personnel Officer. He said that he knew life was difficult for us now, and that we were thinking of quitting. "Highway Six runs both ways",he said, "You can quit whenever you like, but know this. That if you persevere, and stick it out, you will find that you have made some of the best friends you will ever have, and will have experienced things that will be far beyond what you are now experiencing. Just remember fish, your first two years in the Corps, life isn't fair, but in the second two years, life is way more than fair. It more than balances out, believe me." And he was right.

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Copyright © Richard Hay 1998