Thursday, 1 February 2007

1951: You're in the Army Now

1951 was a year where once again Clint’s plans were dashed. He received the letter that thousands of other kids had fallen on the mat. The Korean War was rife and now Clint had been called upon to serve his country. Fort Ord was situated close to Carmel, up along the Monterey Peninsula. It was here that Clint was to spend the next 16 weeks in basic training. During this time Clint heard that they were looking for a couple of swimming instructors down at the pool area, a stroke of luck as Clint had plenty of experience, so he volunteered for the job. Private Eastwood found himself at the pool along with another private, a handful of sergeants and a Lieutenant. Before long these guys eventually found themselves heading for action in Korea, yet Clint’s name never seemed to come up. He figured as a private it may just be a matter of time before he was transferred from the pool area, which didn’t appeal too much to Clint, he enjoyed the job, and hoped to remain. After thinking it over, he decided to confront the captain and argue his case that he felt he could take care of activities at the pool area by himself. His captain expressed how he certainly didn’t know how to swim, let alone instruct how to swim, so you go ahead and run the pool area, assuring Clint that he was always wearing a sweatshirt, so no one would ever know he was simply a private. Clint was encouraged by his captain’s remarks and soon implemented a fine swimming instruction program, eventually taking on 4 other men to help him fish out the rookies who fell short in their swimming tests. Clint loved this work; he even lived down by the pool in a hut, as opposed to the regulation barracks. ‘I was a private with a swimming pool, wearing Khakis and a sweatshirt, and a year and a half later I was a Corporal.’ It was while Clint was stationed in the area, that he fell in love with Carmel in particular and its surrounding beauty. Along with Clint’s army pay of around $70 a month, he decided to take a part time job outside of the base. Lasting some four months, he worked as a packer for the Spreckles Sugar Company based in nearby Salinas valley. ‘It was hard work, but they paid me $1.70 an hour’ he said. It was only a matter of time before the army caught on to his extracurricular excursions and the job came to a grinding halt. Not one to be beaten, Clint soon found another form of extra work, this time remaining firmly within the guidelines of the Army rule book, he found himself working as a bouncer at the NCO club on the army base. The pay was never going to match the sugar job, but it had its compensations, it was a whole lot easier and Clint could swallow half a dozen beers during a night of work, not bad.

1 comment:

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