I know I left this story behind since mid January but I always said I’d continue it.
The rest of the parts: part 4, part 3, part 2, part 1
I left the story when I was informed my military specialty (‘logistics manager of a military warehouse and truck driver’) and the location of my barracks where I’d spend the following months of my service. I had just finished around 45 days of basic training that involved proper military behavior and gun handling. I had no idea about what my specialty would bring or how my life would be in the new base. The only thing I knew was that I would spend a very short period of time in the new base at the beginning, since I had to go back to my training base to train on becoming a truck driver and a sergeant. I would return to that base, after that second period of training.
One of the worse things when it comes to being a soldier is the stories and gossips that circulate among the men amazingly quickly, making the even most insignificant stories sound like the beginning of the third world war. While doing the basic training, I had heard horrendous stories from a ‘friend’ of a ‘friend’ about new privates being tortured by older in the service men. It was said that when it came down to allocating responsibilities and trivia work being done in the base, newbies were the first to pick. It’s like being in jail and the newcomers being the bitches of everybody else.
I’d like to make a small (or not so small) parenthesis here regarding the stories circulating in barracks. I have already mentioned the horrible stories regarding the health checks being done when you first join that of course are not true. Most of these stories circulate among soldiers, but each time a small dramatic element is being added. To give you an idea about how stories circulate, I’ve been to 4 big military bases and other 3 smaller outposts during my service, all of them, had a ghost story related to them. In each base, the same story spreads from generation to generation of soldiers with some changes, but it does stay approximately the same for decades.The one that I most vividly remember from my training barracks had to do with a specific guarding post which was the most remote (it is always the case). There, some years ago a heartbroken soldier who couldn’t stand being in the service took a bullet from his stock, armed his rifle and blew his brains out. If you really look closely inside the post you’ll be able to see the marks of the bullet pieces (yeah, right). His mother couldn’t bear the pain of her son’s loss and died soon after. Now, each Tuesday around 3:30am (the day and time varies according to the story teller) which was the time the young man died, you might hear the mother’s ghost walking around, close to the guard post. Don’t be alarmed if you hear ghastly, frightening screams at night as well. It would be her, calling for her son. Her soul cannot rest. You might even see her briefly yelling and tearing her clothes off, wailing.
When I was first told that story, the guy next to me asked: ‘Are her tits at least nice? If they are, I don’t mind seeing her tearing her clothes off’ gesturing the size of tits, he mostly likes.
That’s a soldier mentality for you. I’m closing the parenthesis now.
The stories of the newbies being tortured, even if I knew that most were unfounded, and the fact that I would yet again change my surroundings and serve under a new captain were putting some stress on me. The day I was supposed to turn up in my new military base I was quite stressed. I was allocated to platoon 1.2 which was in charge of taking care of two huge warehouses as I would soon find out. Apart from a very good friend of mine from my hometown being there but in a different platoon, I didn’t know anyone else in the whole base.
What stroke me at the beginning were two guys who were about to take their last leave in a couple of days before finishing their service. I was in awe, thinking that they were about to go home when I had 10.5 more moths to serve. However, they weren’t the best of examples as people. Knowing that they would be ‘released’ soon, they were wearing very dirty uniforms, not giving a dime about the rest of us, causing various problems to the rest of us. I remember them going about to some of the high ranks begging for some more days off since they couldn’t stand it there and getting drunk almost every night at the canteen.
During each day, after the morning inspection each soldier had a task to do until the night shifts began. Luckily enough I was allocated to serve at helping at the warehouse under a captain called Stavros. I can evens till remember his last name and I really do thank the gods (or whatever that’s out there) for going to work for him. Stavros came from a military family and knew the troubles that we, the privates, were facing. He was treating us as proper human beings, being nice to us as long as the needed daily job was done which was fine by me.
When I first joined that base, Stavros had just taken over a new huge warehouse and was trying to check his supplies. That meant that we had to empty old boxes and go through their contents. Unfortunately, some of the boxes had small uniform parts, like clips of a belt, which we had to count. We’re talking about thousands of them. However, the work environment with Stavros was quite relaxed and I didn’t mind too much. Being busy like that, meant that each day was passing faster and the fact that I was not being yelled at for any reason was a plus. Counting things in old boxes with mold was what I was mostly doing day in and day out then.
I didn’t stay much in the second base then before I was transferred back to my training base. I have some stories to tell about that second base which I really can’t recall whether they occurred on my first or second visit.