Halt. Who is There?

November 8, 2023 –

Between my junior and senior years at the University of Florida, I attended my required ROTC summer camp. Many other cadets did not enjoy camp time. I did. It was a time of firsts. I shot my first rifle, flew in a helicopter, threw a grenade, and learned to use a compass.

One activity I did not like was guard duty. This action occurred after nightfall. A time to be in bed, not out walking the camp’s perimeter. My job was to look for an unidentified person or party and require them to halt and to be identified.

The idea is to challenge any suspicious activity. My duty was winding down when I noticed a hunched-down object about 30 feet away staring at me. I was told that one of the regular officers would test the cadets for their alertness. So, I said, “Halt. Who goes there?” No answer came forth, so I repeated my command and moved closer to investigate the intruder, only to discover my intruder was a fireplug.

When I arrive at the pearly gates, I hope to hear, “Advance. Well done thy good and faithful servant and not, ‘Halt. Who is there?’”

© 2023 Wayne Nalls