where the writers are
Memories # 17
God Bless The USA

It's a small world:

Several times while I was in the service, I was made to contemplate how small the world really was.

Once after I'd been in the Army a little over two years, I was in Thailand doing some special training.  I was standing in a chow line when I heard someone yell out.  "I heard they would let anyone in the Army, now I see they will make anyone a sergeant."

I turned to see who was doing the yelling and saw a kid that had been on the wrestling team with me in high school, he had been two years behind me.

Here we are, nearly three years since we had seen each other and we're standing in a chow line together, eighty-six hundred miles from home.

Another time, right after I got discharged, I was driving to Chicago on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  I stopped for gas and the kid at the pumps said to me, "You're Sergeant Stephens, aren't you?"

"Yeah, I was Sergeant Stephens up until three days ago, now I'm just Mister Stephens.  Do I know you?"

"I saw your Fort Lee, 109th ID bumper sticker.  I was the Company Clerk for the 109th Airborne Company for three years.  There was only one man I never met during that time because he was TDY to the Division Rifle Team, all I ever saw were pay vouchers, I figured you had to be him."

Nearly ten years after I was discharged, my job had me traveling all over the United States.  One day I was waiting for a flight out of the Pittsburg airport when I saw someone I was sure I recognized.  About the time I realized where I knew him from, he pointed at me and shouted, "Sergeant Stephens!" 

He had been the Platoon Leader that had recommended me for OCS.  I hadn't seen him in fifteen years and there we are running into each other in a crowded airport in Pittsburg, I lived near Chicago and he lived in California.

Small World!