Basic Training in the Air Force consists of only 45 training days (these are 'week days' so 9 weeks usually.) We arrived just before Memorial Day so our first three days (the Memorial Day weekend) didn't count as 'training days'. The first days were spent learning how to evacuate our barracks in time in case of a fire. As I remember, after endless drills, we were never fast enough. Each drill involved jumping out of a freshly made bed then, after the drill was over, we had to re-make the bed to Air Force standards before we got back in them to do yet another drill.
Were we glad on Tuesday to be issued something other than the civilian clothes we arrived in (they said bring 3 days clothes, but not all did.). The haircut, while very close to the scalp, felt good in the San Antonio heat and humidity.
As I had guessed during my first few hours I was the oldest in my flight. (I also quickly learned that the 'flight' was the smallest organized unit in the Air Force. There was a mnemonic to remember this - "How many new airmen will get sore feet?" (I've cleaned up the last two words) The first initials of the words stand for - Headquarters, Major air command, Numbered air force, Air force, Wing, Group, Squadron, Flight.) Most of the members of my flight were just out of high school. When they learned my age (an ancient 22 years compared to their probably 18-19) and level of schooling I was dubbed "the professor". The TIs (Training Instructors) gave me the task of keeping the flight's paper records (a job referred to as the 'house mouse'). This didn't get me out of anything else. It was just an added duty I inherited, lucky me.
One of the first tasks was to record the level of stock on the flight's supplies (toilet paper, cleaning supplies etc.). There was a minimum level of each item as indicated by black marked outlines on shelves and walls where the items were stocked. A system few could misinterpret. (I was beginning to appreciate the efficiency - little did I know.) A few items were low so I asked the TI where to get more. He indicated a building about two blocks away and said I could just make it if I hurry.
So I rush over, my list in hand, to the supply office. I was thinking that this part of the assignment should be easy. I reach the supply office and state my flight number and what supplies were needed. (Simple right?) They said, where is your 'Requisition Slip' (I could hear the quotes!). I said, "I don't have one, where do I get one?" They said, "From your TI." So off I run back to the barracks. (The brighter among you know where this is leading, but I hadn't caught on yet.) Back at the barracks I ask the TI for a 'requisition slip'. He says, "Oh, we're out of those. We'll need another pad." I ask (a feeling of dread beginning to grow) "Where do I get another pad?" He replies - wait for it - "At the supply office."
On the way back to the 'supply office' I realize that they could keep this up all day and I couldn't do anything about it. I prepared myself to spend the afternoon running back and forth between the barracks and the supply office. But - miracle of miracles - either they took pity on me, which I doubt, or they had had their fun. I received the supplies as well as a new requisition pad.
Almost immediately the fine system which chose the recruits showed its weakness. We began to loose members of our flight (one member of or flight ended up in the corner mumbling for his mother, at times somewhat incoherently. He was taken away gently.) as well as gain other members. I had to line out the names of those who had been removed as well as add the names of the new recruits on seemingly endless number of roster lists. A properly updated list had to be presented at each and every activity (physical exercise, classes on Air Force history and rules etc.) So I would be up well past midnight (because my own duties of 'guarding' the barracks at night and maintaining latrines were not lessened in the least) updating these lists. Fortunately each week we received a pack of newly updated roster lists (though it was already a day or two out of date) so the job was lessened somewhat. This job continued through my Basic Training days.