Many of you may have noticed a little different writing style as of late here on Part Time Commander. Charles has a lot on his plate and I offered to take on the research and writing of some of the blog posts. With the fact that this website is military related, we felt that I should provide you, the readers with my military background. My name is Greg Boudonck, and do not worry if you cannot pronounce the last name; it took me years to be able to (that was a joke, so you can laugh now). The pronunciation sounds out like bōdunk, and it is Flemish. My family immigrated from Belgium at the start of World War 1.
I am going to tell you right now that I have never been a Commander in the military, but I do have enough study and research experience, along with the ability to interview and ask questions of those that are. I am a writer, and research is my specialty. As a matter of fact, my best selling book is about military. The title is Puertorriquenos Who Served With Guts, Glory and Honor.
Having a long line of military individuals in my family, I lived and breathed military. My Uncle on my Father’s side was a Chaplain in the United State’s Army during World War 2. My Grandfather on my Mother’s side was in the Navy and stationed at Pearl Harbor when Japanese planes nose dived into the ships. When the draft was instituted for Vietnam, both of my Uncle’s (the sons of the same Grandfather who was at Pearl Harbor) were drafted. Realizing they could not take both sons from a decorated veteran, the Army asked my Grandfather to choose which one would go; before a decision had to be made, my Uncle Ken volunteered. He spent 2 tours in the jungles of ‘Nam. Kenny was shot several times and when he came home after being bit by a rat the size of a medium size dog (he had to have multiple rabies shots), Ken did show me his Purple Heart, but he will not talk about the ravages of the war he was in the midst of.
I was born in 1963 in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the United States Air Force Academy. My Father was a Staff Sgt, and my Mother was a civilian secretary at the base. We were soon transferred to the air base in Yokohama, Japan. That is where my younger brother was born. From some talks we have had, I know Dad did some missions in Korea, but like my Uncle, his mouth is shut.
I grew up with military discipline, and moved often, so military was always in my blood.
To keep this from being an extensive autobiography, I am just going to move ahead nearly 20 years. Living in Fremont, Nebraska, I met a beautiful woman whom I wed (R.I.P. Jonda). Times were tough, and I was a bit tougher. To make ends meet, I would do things that were not exactly legal, and I did get caught. Being my first time, the option of keeping my record clean by joining the military was provided. I spoke with the recruiter who reminded me of the best door to door salesman I had ever met, but he also had me between a rock and a hard place…jail or Army. I chose Army.
I did explain to the recruiter about the “trick shoulder” I had that was caused from a car accident 2 years prior. “No problem,” he told me. He filled out all the papers and told me I would be inducted into the National Guard and that my MOS would be a tank mechanic. The date was set for 2 months later to fly to basic training in Ft Benning, Georgia.
I signed on the dotted line.
The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia
The year was 1982 and I had hair down to my shoulders and a Black Sabbath T-shirt was on me along with my Levi blue jeans. If I would have been wise, I would have cut my hair and wore a different choice of clothing. The first stop was Ft Jackson, South Carolina for induction. The first thing I was told by a drill instructor was, “I didn’t think they let girls into this area of the Army.” He looked at the other Sgt and said, “Do we have a dress for this girl?” I thanked God I had a talk with my Uncle before this. I kept my mouth shut.
It wasn’t long and I had no hair and a Army issued uniform. We all were put into a cattle car and hauled for miles to Ft Benning where I thought I had just died and went to hell. I must say right now it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I was called names and put through abuse that many others could not handle. I stood through multiple late night fire watches and only could sleep 1/2 hour more before the trash can got banged telling us to roll out.
I grew into a strong soldier. I could run like a true soldier, and my drill Sgt. pulled me to the side when we nearing the end of basic. He told me I was exceptional and that he wanted me to go to Ranger school. I explained that I had just joined the National Guard and that I was going to be a tank mechanic. Sgt. Martinez laughed, “The recruiter bullshitted you soldier. Your paperwork shows you as full Army, and you’re MOS is 11 Bravo. You are a grunt Boudonck, so you may as well agree to be the best grunt you can possibly be.” The very next day, we were told that our basic training was only 2 days from ending. I had agreed to Ranger school and was going to stay right there at Benning. I called home and explained the situation, and that I would not take leave.
Situations were getting bad in El Salvador, and I was going to go Airborne and become a Ranger, and then it happened. Doing some basic jumping jacks, my shoulder popped out of joint. The Army physicians x-rayed the shoulder and I was told that I had lied to get in. After a series of explaining that I didn’t lie, and telling them the whole story as I just did you, I was given an honorable discharge. I would not be given another job, and I just wouldn’t suit to be a Ranger with the shoulder in the condition it was in.
I must say that that short time in the United States Army was one of the best things that I ever had happen, even though it was hard. It taught me discipline, and I am a better man because of it.
I must also say that I have watched the Army change a lot over the years, and in my opinion, a lot of the changes should revert back. There was no doing a walk, you either ran or flunked. There was no “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” and the Army ran fine. These are just my opinions, but I must also say that the Army has also changed some things for the better. They do have sounder, and more sophisticated equipment. Over all, I believe our soldiers are safer now then they were in my days, but again, just my opinion.
So what gives this guy the right to write on an Army Commander website?
As a professional writer, I have a strong talent in research. I also am keen on asking questions. I have many friends that are, or have been Commanders with Charles (Chuck) Holmes being one. If I have a question, I ask him or one of my other friends.
By the way, I left off where I am in life now. Yes, my wife passed away in 2010. We had 3 children and they are grown and married. I have 5 Grandchildren.
I met and wed a wonderful Boricua woman in 2012. We live near the only rainforest managed by the United States Forest Service…El Yunque in Puerto Rico. I write full time, and have over 50 books published. If you would like to visit my website, I own and manage lancerlife.com.
I really enjoy writing articles for Part Time Commander, and I hope you enjoy reading them. If you find something I am mistaken on, please correct me as I desire everything posted here is correct completely.
Last, but never least, I want to thank each and everyone of you who serve, have served, or will serve in the United States Military. It is because of you that we live in the land of the free.