Ft. Meade Maryland, Old Barracks

I was stationed in Ft. Meade Maryland at the 293rd Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion. The other company was the 209th Military Police Company. I originally stayed in the older barracks, I was upstairs, third room from the end on the left. The door locks wouldn’t work so you had hasp locks. One of the favorite things the guys would do is lock folks in their rooms at night. All you needed was a spare lock and there you go. Fortunately there was an overhang outside the window so you could climb out and get the lock cutters. Another thing was to hide from being grabbed for some task or another. You could reach through the door and lock yourself into your room. You wouldn’t miss morning assignments of course but you could use it to miss being grabbed if someone was unavailable for duty such as Security Patrol.

When I got there, I was looked upon with some suspicion. See a week or two prior to my arrival, according to stories, almost the entire platoon was busted for drugs and they missed the Platoon Sargent by only minutes. Since I didn’t drink or smoke, I was looked upon with suspicion and since I didn’t drink or smoke, I never really connected with the platoon so was pretty much always an outsider.

One weekend I had headed home, when I returned, I found a crap load of drywall in my room and one of my posters being used to cover up a hole in the ceiling. I called the platoon Sargent in and he investigated. First though I got yelled at for having an extremely messy room. I had lots of album posters up on the walls, Pink Floyd to Traffic and Chicago. But the room itself was in pretty bad shape. It turns out that a couple of the guys got drunk and decided to get into my room, don’t know why. In their drunkenness, they crashed through the ceiling in to my room. They tried to hide the hole with one of my posters.

Another time, in winter, while waiting in formation for the start of the day, I took a snowball to my right eye. I remember seeing white but shook it off. It was my effort to be “one of the guys.” I did get some at-a-boy’s from the guys for not snitching but it didn’t really help all that much. I often wonder if that’s why my right eye is a bit blurrier than the left and why it has more floaters in it.

One of the cool things was the officers were trying to keep us on post. They had the various companies pony up and they opened a post “diner.” You could go any time at night and using your ration card, pick up a burger and fries with a drink. It didn’t stay open for long though.

One of the things you’d do when on clean up is clean the barracks. The main thing would be to buff out the floors from all the boot scuff marks. We’d get some Johnson’s paste wax (the yellow can) and a metal clothes hanger. It’d be wrapped around the can so we had a long handle then the was would be set on fire. This melted the top bit. Once it melted a little, we’d drop the lid on top to snuff the fire then dribble the hot wax on the floor. Then the buffer would be run to smear the wax across the floor. An old towel would be dropped on the floor and the buffer put on top of it then we’d put a final shine on the floor buffing out the wax. Once, in a panic, I missed putting the lid on the burning wax and slammed it against the wall to put it out. Unfortunately the walls were wooden. Fortunately for me, it actually put the fire out but think of what might have happened if it hadn’t and had started the barracks on fire! But it didn’t so I’m good 🙂

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