Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life: The Conclusion

It was now late winter of 1971 and I was running the traffic division at the 226th MP Company at Fort Benjamin Harrison, outside Indianapolis. In those days Fort Ben was the headquarters of the Army Finance School and the location of the Army Finance Center. The building that housed the Center was the second largest …

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The Legend of Duke Hock

Sergeant Duke Hock was a legend in the Army while I was still in grade school. He was Jack Reacher before Lee Child was born. There are so many stories about Duke that, even though I’ve forgotten 90% of them, I can remember dozens. The two I’m about to relate happened to involve me. To …

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Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life, Part II

So there we were, in late 1970, having graduated from the U.S. Army Military Police Correctional Specialist Academy, the best-trained prison guards in the world. We had been assigned to one of the worst prisons in the world, the stockade at Long Bình, Vietnam, better known as the Long Bình Jail, or LBJ. Our job …

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Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life

A few weeks ago, in a post about J. D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” I mentioned in passing that I was convinced that having spit-shined my Army combat boots may have saved my life. I didn’t elaborate, and since then several dozen people have inquired about that brief aside. So here’s the story. To understand what …

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