The Ghosts of DINFOS Student Barracks
Call me a sentimental fool. Or maybe just a sucker for breaking and entering old buildings with a story to tell.
Either way, I decided to visit my old barracks on Fort Meade.
Some good times were had there. By “good” I mean “frustratingly juveline and repressive.” But Soldiers are like the mold in the ceiling tiles of that edifice— they will always find a way to thrive especially in dismal environments.
My battle-buddies and I, I am quite sure, got away with as much rule-bending as we possibly could have without getting into any actual trouble. There were the usual cuts from PT, skipping out of urinalyses, and taking computers and cell phones to the school house and avoiding detection in the shakedowns.
One time we went to DC for an “event,” and waited for our promised ride home (we were too cheap to hire a taxi). We waited. And waited.
The curfew approached and passed. One of our quartet called in the staff duty NCO to let him know we’d be a few minutes late. Our ride finally showed up an hour later dressed to the nines. “I am going to a wedding,” she explained.” We were invited.
Another Soldier, who was known for his over-cautiousness, had almost had an anxiety attack while waiting for her to pick us up. When I turned to him to see if there was even a the faintest possibility of a remote chance that we go, he replied, “Any wedding that starts at 2 AM, I’ve gotta see.”
We had a great time.
And we showed back up at the barracks around 4 AM. A mere four hours past the deadline.
Mostly those barracks were where we trudged through the everyday routine of Army schooling. Morning stand-tos. Cleaning latrines. Fireguard. CPT Allen’s Friday safety briefs (“Don’t do drugs. Drugs are bad.”)
Friendships and memories for a lifetime.
The student detachment barracks are across the street now, in a renovated building about the same size. It looks nice from the outside, though I have no interest in entering.
Not old enough. Can’t possibly be a memorable place. Yet.
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