High Water Pants

Lynette Dufton
2 min readJun 12, 2024

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June, 1969 was my first month in the Army. Fifty five years later, I still fear multiple punishment push-ups if my bed is not made, my salute is improper, or my “blouse” (Army talk for shirt), belt buckle, and fly are not in perfect alignment.

The opportunity to drive a tank (easier than you would think), fire a howitzer (July 4th can’t compare), and rappel from a helicopter (like James Bond) made up for those petty indignities. My 21 year old body was bulletproof. Maybe an Army career would be fun.

Or maybe not. The “chickenshit” side of the Army came into focus when we were commissioned after eight weeks of basic training. During basic training, our uniforms were issued to us from Army stock. “You look like a 34 x 30 pant, 16 x 34 shirt. I don’t care that it doesn’t fit. You’ll wear it and like it.” We looked like a bunch of sad sacks even in our Class A khakis (Think of what Forrest Gump was wearing when he saw Jennie singing at the strip club).

As we stripped out of our Class A’s after the ceremony, one of the guys asked Captain Marchand, our Platoon Advisor, “Why was that Colonel staring at us as we got our diplomas and writing stuff down?”

“I have his list here. The Colonel wants me to discipline those of you with “high water pants”, not extending to your shoe tops. I’m supposed to reduce your class rank which will go on your permanent record.”

“But Captain, I didn’t choose these pants. The last person who had them must have been ten years old.”

“That’s the Army for you. Hope you’re not making it your career.”

Rebel that I am, once I got out of the Army, I wore “high water pants” every chance I got. My unencumbered, exposed-to-fresh-air ankles thanked me for it.

By Ed Dufton

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Lynette Dufton

These posts are written by my father, Ed Dufton, who has an incredible knack of condensing the day’s news into a witty and insightful commentary on society.