Is Johnny Crawford from “The Rifleman” in Your Company?
We pressed our faces up against the chain linked fence.
We were supposed to be playing soccer during physical education class.
But we ran to the chained linked fence that separated our school yard from the dirt road.
We stared at the young soldiers marching to training.
They looked so army soldier in their fatigues, helmets and carrying their rifles at right shoulder arms.
They looked like a scene out of “Combat” that we watched each week on our televisions.
While barely just four or five years older than us, they looked all grown up.
A pretty seventh grade girl got up he courage and yelled,
“Is Johnny Crawford from “The Rifleman” in your company?”
There had been a news story of Johnny Crawford’s arrival at Fort Bliss for his basic training.
A kind three stripe sergeant responded,
“No miss, he’s in a different training company.”
“You boys going to Viet-Nam after basic?” asked the P.E. coach who had walked over and joined us.
“Maybe so, but first we got to survive this!” said a smiling boyish faced trainee.
“Quiet in the ranks!” screamed the drill sergeant.
The dust was getting thicker as the soldiers continued marching by.
Most of the seventeen and eighteen year old troopers were looking at the pretty thirteen year old blonde girl.
Some were thinking of their younger sisters back home,
Some were thinking the thoughts seventeen and eighteen years old young men have when seeing a pretty, young teenage girl, and
Some were wondering if they would live long enough to fall in love, marry, and ever have a daughter of their own.
Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie A. Kepler
Originally published in www.johnnycrawford.com, February 2008.
Top photo: Photo of Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark, from the television program The Rifleman. This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.