A Story written around the key word “Volunteer” for The First Saturday Writers 8/6/11
“At ease, men.” The First Sergeant walked closer to the first row of men. “We need volunteers.” He rubbed his hands together and nodded at the forty men in the first platoon. “It is the chance of a lifetime. I just wish I was young enough to volunteer for this duty.”
All forty men leaned back and crouched down a few inches. One of the major unwritten laws in the army is to never volunteer for anything. It makes no difference how enticing the spiel sounds or in some cases how it reads. Periodically an officer would give a re-enlistment talk to short-timers. The bonus was always a ton of money, your new post would be on a tropical island, plenty of young beautiful women, the beer was cheap and the army would send you to a school to learn a trade. If you took a discharge, there were no jobs, you were unqualified for a decent job, if you did find one, pay was dismal and you weren’t qualified for college. Volunteer for six more years and everything doubles. After re-enlistment, the tropical island base closes, so they sent you to a tank repair school in Alaska during the winter.
“We have a few positions open for immediate transfer to Attu, a big island in the Aleutians. It’s a real gravy position. You do a little guard duty watching the loran towers. You don’t have to worry about anyone stealing them.” He laughed and slapped his leg. “Alright, how many want to sign up? I can only take three. The rest will have to wait for the next assignment.”