That Sudden Surge Of Motivation
Warren E. Berkley
In the summer of 1966 I was sent to Ft. Benning, Georgia for Army Basic Training. It didn’t matter what your military occupation would be, everybody went through basic training.
One of the training exercises required that we gear-up in full field uniform, wearing a 40 lb. pack, with a steal helmet on your head and carrying an M-14 rifle, then jump into a fox hole and be ready to fire downrange on command. The drill sergeant gave the word, we would run several feet, jump into the fox hole and wait for the quick command to fire.
As you picture me doing this, keep in mind, I weighed 100 lbs. in 1966. Getting down into the fox hole – not a problem. After the exercise, getting out was another story. The drill sergeant or one of my buddies would pull me out (always making certain the rifle was on safety or unloaded).
One day in July when we endured this exercise, everything changed. After landing in the fox hole and chambering a round from the magazine into the rifle, for some reason I looked down at my feet. Wrapped around one of my combat boots was a Georgia coral snake. I came right up out of the foxhole.
No in-depth analysis is needed here. What I found was, a sudden surge of motivation, supplying the energy to do what I had never done. The drill sergeant came quickly, used his side-arm to execute the snake. Then he said to me, “Pvt. Berkley. Now we know you can do this. And from now on, this quick launch from the fox hole is what we expect.”
There is a serpent who may at this moment be wrapped around your foot. You cannot plan a long, drawn out escape. You cannot wait for somebody to come get you. You don’t want to be bitten! You must get out now.