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It was dark, but not that dark. Floodlights on each building spread light beyond their focused cone, and ambient light was high enough for me readily to identify the approaching figure. It was only an exercise, designed to prepare the bundled-up but still-shivering basic trainees with the empty M-16s for military life. As one of those trainees, my task was clear-cut; I was to initiate a recognition exchange with the time-honored “Halt! Who goes there?” and follow it with “Advance and be recognized!” But I already recognized the approaching figure as the lieutenant who had put us out on guard duty and was now, at the shift’s end, returning to take us back to the comparative comfort of our barracks. Hence the quandary—do I sing out the expected challenge and play the game, or do I ignore the rules, presume that I’m right, and head for the shelter of the waiting truck?



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