FIRST IMPRESSIONS WHILE AT R.M.A.by "BULLET" BILL KING
Attended 1923 to 1943
Despite rumors and warnings from other cadets, the arrival at R.M.A. was quite uneventful. I was just sorry that full service had not been restored and that I had to carry my own bags to the luxurious suite provided for me in Niles Hall. However there was a Bell Captain on duty, with an oversized dagger, mumbling something like "on the double". I tried to place a bet on the double and ended up in the Commandant's Office. He was a kindly older man who gently took me by the neck and said something like "The Merits". I was then escorted back to my suite by the "security police".
Some would be Harry James was blowing his trumpet rapidly on the steps, but in order to make a good impression as a good guy, I did not complain and ignored him. One of the bell hops with a patrol boy belt on came and personally escorted me to the Commandant's office again. I informed the Commandant that I appreciated the personal attention, but it was not necessary. He responded by a bubbling at the mouth appearance, turned a scarlet (evidently in accord with the school colors) and again screeched something like "The Merits".
On reaching the school restaurant, my order was taken by the head waiter sitting at the end of the table for a Filet Mignon, medium-rare with mushroom cover. Somehow the chef evidently misread the order and sent something I was later to learn was Hash. Being a good fellow, I did not complain to the head waiter, even when he ate my dessert by mistake. The very quaint custom in this part of the country seemed to be an upward and forward movement with the fork, so I accepted it on its face value, but the time element left me somewhat unsatisfied.
Tired from my day in academic activities, I retired for a short nap in my suite. A common looking bell boy with no decorations came to my room and mentioned "slab". Knowing that a "slab" is the nickname for an overgrown crappie, I told him I was too tired to fish. I was again escorted by a guard of honor to the Commandant's Office where he handed me a rifle. I told him that I was also too tired to go hunting. He firmly requested that I be given the honor of serving the first patrol on the concrete pavement. It was rather a long patrol and they seemed to resent a rest period every five minutes or so. After two long hours, I was allowed to re-visit my suite for a short period of time.
The rest of the day is too hideous to mention-those fellows they call "Non-Coms".
So ended the first day in "building a man".
(Reprinted from the R.M.A. Alumni-Parent Quarterly , Winter - 1965)