A Memoir of David August
“Call It What You Like”

By Ron Hardy

While I was serving in the US Army is when and where I held my hands up in the air as I figuratively
jumped off the face of the earth. This jump was a spiritual as well as a mental leap into the hands of
the unknown. I refer to God as the hands of the unknown. On July 3, 1974 at the age of 17,
I enlisted in the United States Army. Although the Vietnam war was in full swing, I didn’t have any fear
or thought of dying nor a true sense of what the war was really being fought about. I had quit going to
classes at school after completing the 9th grade because my test scores on the California Scholastic
Achievement Test showed I was working at a college level as were the rest of my peers in my classes
of which non were Black males except me. Between the ages of 14-17 my conviction was to learn and
experience the ways of the world. In other words the streets, girls, shiny things along with the reality of
being a Black man in America were calling my name. During that period before going into the Army, I
was enrolled in 5 different high schools in 4 different cities in 2 different states always in the 10th
grade. My plan for redemption was to go into the Army at 17 which did happen. I was a small guy
physically in a sense, but strong mentally which made me strong physically. The second day in the
Army at the reception station at Fort Polk,LA was amusing but reassuring. A white guy bet me $50
dollars that I couldn’t do fifty pushups. I did them so fast that it blew his mind. He didn’t want to pay
up. Before I could say or do anything, two big Samoan guys that were watching stood up and insisted
he pay me. He just didn’t know I was about to do the fool about my money. My first week in basic
training marked my destiny in what they call “This Mans Army”. I was given a special privilege to
leave the barracks in order to take my GED tests. This was not the norm. There was a standing rule
that during the 1st week in basic training no one is allowed to leave the barracks area for anything
except our regular training. I passed the GED tests so actually I completed high school a year ahead of
my expected high school graduating year. There was one glitch. The first evening as I was going to
take the first part of the GED test my entrepreneurial self kicked in.

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