Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Opinion

January 10, 2013

Military school can be tough, but some lessons still stick

Athens — It’s a different kind of life for a boy. Perhaps that’s good, but it also has its challenges.

I’m writing about a military school, which is monetarily funded by the U.S. Army, but which is a private high school.

That’s the place I attended as a high school junior and senior. It was Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio that I graduated, helping to lead young men my age to march in platoons to three meals a day, stand at attention when an instructor entered a classroom and wear a uniform every moment they were not asleep or in the shower.

There were inspections of individual quarters, also known as barracks, morning and night. After the night inspection, there was a supervised study hall in our rooms.

At about 10:30 p.m., seven days a week, there was a trumpeter blowing “Taps,” telling the world that our day was over.

We also had special units in which cadets spent about an hour every day. It was during this time period that the McKinnon Rifles marched while twirling M-1 rifles, in anticipation of audiences different times of the year.

There was also the Combat platoon, where cadets learned hand-to-hand “combat.”

And the third special unit was called the Zouaves. This unit was known for scaling walls with only ropes and clasps. Needless to say, as a boy a bit larger than many, I stayed away from this one. Mine was the Combat platoon my senior year and McKinnon Rifles my junior year.

Disobedience was rarely a problem. For just speaking at an inappropriate time, a cadet would have to march at attention — supervised — in a 20-foot square for at least one hour with a rifle on his shoulder. The worst part was that this was done on Saturdays, when he could, with his uniform, of course, be spending his time in town, at leisure.

As for relationships with girls, you had a little leeway. You might be acquainted with one around town, and if your grades were good enough, and you had no punishment to make good on, you could visit that girl, as long as you were back to the campus by 8 p.m.

If you were from out-of-town (as most were), and you knew no local girls, you could walk to the headquarters building and fill out a form. By doing this, you were assigned to a girl at Our Lady of the Lake High School, just down the street from Peacock.

In any case, you did not drive during your entire stay at Peacock. You took a taxi.

If you were downtown on a Saturday, you felt right at home. Military men — the real ones, I mean — would congregate in uniform from one Army post and six airbases in the greater San Antonio area.

Now, the reader should note that there is nothing honorable about going through a high school military unit. Only the real military men and women (who made up all of our teachers at Peacock, and a large percentage of the people on the streets of that city), are the honorable ones because of what they sacrifice for the American people.

All the Peacock cadets sacrificed was possibly some of the things that kids in public school enjoy, or maybe just tolerate.

Peacock cadets were from varied backgrounds. Some were so well-to-do that their parents didn’t rent a limousine for their graduation exercises. No — they just brought one from home.

Others had spent time in reform schools, and their parents had decided to help turn their lives around through Peacock.

Others, like me, had situations in their lives. My father was an Air Force fireman. His installation, James Connally Air Force Base in Waco, was forced to close, and he was trying to find another job. He eventually found one at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. So, I went there in anticipation of what might take place.

And, of course, my parents didn’t believe Peacock caused any problem for me, which it didn’t.

Peacock Military Academy had been in business with the Peacock family since 1893. But, they began dying off and couldn’t take care of the campus as they once had.

Add that to the fact that the school was carrying on military activity during perhaps the most unpopular war in history, that of Vietnam. As a result, it was closed in 1972.

After that experience, I did spend one year in college ROTC, but then took rest from all schooling until 1974. I had been drafted, but was rejected after the recruiters noted an injury to my back, and the fact that I had flat feet.

But, I must admit that there are some areas in which the school was helpful. After graduation, I was a little more regimented and quite a bit more disciplined.

Jeff Riggs is Associate Editor of the Athens Daily Review.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg 22 years – and they said it wouldn’t last

    I was a high school senior when I first entered the world of newspapers.
    I found my way to the The Dallas Times Herald after graduation, when a number of kids I went to school with were working part-time at the paper.
    It was summer, and I needed a job. I first applied for what was referred to as the night crew.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Roadblocks happen - find a way to power through them

    You ever had writer’s block? Everyone gets it once in a while, especially journalists.
    Charles Bukowski once said, “Writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all.”
    People always ask “how do you come up with your ideas?” Those are easy when it comes to writing sports, finding the right way to make it intriguing at the start is when it can get interesting.

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg The events of 2014 have set a brisk pace

    This will be my last column before the year 2014 reaches its midway point, and I’ve got to say it’s been a challenge to keep up with everything going on in the county.
    It always is, of course. Henderson County has almost 80,000 people, two major lakes,  and if I counted right, 18 incorporated cities and town. Athens, is a small city, but three major highways cut through it. It’s the seat of county government and the site of three district courts.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel