Boot Camp Characters

WordPress has changed its editing tools in the past five years, and setting up this blog has meant that I have to re-learn how to use them. I’ve added a few pictures to the sidebar, and I thought I would point out a few of the people in the picture from boot camp that appear in the book. The image is a section of a picture taken of all 58 members of First Platoon.

I’ve identified a few of the people in the picture who appear in the book. Here is the original picture of First Platoon.


And here is the key of people who appear in the book.

army1bw numbers book2

I dug through my files and found the pictures from boot camp, and I realized that I actually made some mistakes in the book with regard to people’s trainee numbers. In no particular order:

43: Johnny, the recruit who was assigned to help me but ended up not being able to help me very much. He was very depressed during most of the training and suddenly experienced a change of heart towards the end. I still don’t know what happened to Johnny that day.
57: Seok-bae, the recruit who got abused because he had a sister. I met up with him a couple times years later but haven’t seen him in a while. I did end up meeting his sister; I tutored her for a little while.
45: It’s not mentioned in the book, but his name was Kim Jong-guk, the same as the singer from Turbo, who’s on Korean television all the time. He’s the one who gave me the flu which lasted almost the entire time I was in basic training.
AL: Alabama/Gil, the recruit whom I met during the clearing of the snow on the parade ground. He studied in Alabama, and that’s all I’m really sure about. I can’t remember his trainee number, and I’m not really sure his name was Gil. Gil-something, maybe. I don’t know.
56: Jeong, the recruit who asked me to write something in English for the girl he was interested in. He was the one who explained the Korean version of PRI to me.
58: I remember that there was a Bae and an Oh in his name, but I don’t remember the last character and in which order they were in. He was a quiet but nice kid.
38: Se-hee, mistakenly referred to as Thirty-nine in the book. He was one of the squad members who helped me with the test to become a linguist.
40: He had hemorrhoids, which was a million-dollar “wound” in the Army.
2: Our platoon’s village idiot. I’m pretty sure he would have killed several people, including himself, if we had been allowed to use real grenades on the grenade training day.
49: Yong-hyun, the recruit in the Northface jacket on the first day and also the one who wrote me one of my only letters while I was in boot camp. He was appointed as the leader of our squad, jachitbundaejang, which meant only meant that he had a little more responsibility than the rest of us.
50: In the book, he is the recruit who returns from the bathroom after having a “success.” I also remember that he lost a lot of weight during boot camp.
48: Mistakenly referred to as Forty-nine in the book. I believe his last name was Nam. He was a funny guy. He was one of the recruits who received the most mail.
42: Johnny’s nighttime conversation partner after Johnny realized I wasn’t a good listener. Forty-two was the other recruit who received the most mail. I seem to remember that he mentioned he was a good singer.

Of course, I’m in the picture as well. There’s a reason I chose to enlarge that particular section in the sidebar. Six of the people in the image are identified above. I’m one of the unidentified others.

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2 Responses to Boot Camp Characters

  1. Jimmy says:

    Oh the far right bottom, he’s pointing, who is that, do you remember?


    • Young says:

      That guy always makes me laugh whenever I see that picture. I don’t really know who he is. I think he was a member of 2nd squad. There really wasn’t much interaction between squads.

      I don’t have any idea where he got the balls to strike that pose.


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