STAND AT EASE/GARY GREEN

  • Gert Van der Westhuizen

Abstract

Books by ex-conscripts detailing their experiences were few and far betweenin the era of the Border War while more than 500 000 white males were called upfor what was described as “national service”. While books like these are not exactlyflooding the shelves of bookstores, they roll of the presses more regularly now.These works mostly deal with ex-conscript's that actively experienced the war inNamibia and Angola.Stand at ease is different: there is no "cordite and conflict".Green describes himself as a reluctant conscript (one wonders how many ofthe erstwhile national servicemen were of the same view). He was a product of oneof the country's first multi-racial schools - in this case a school that did not subscribeto the former government's apartheid policies.Hence, his period of national service was seen as a necessary evil, somethingthat had to be done - to get it behind one. But he and a few friends were determinedto have as easy a time as possible. Their most important aim was to avoid the"dreaded" call-up to the Border. Green was helped in this endeavour when he wasmedically classified as G3K3. He was called up to 5 South African InfantryBattalion in Ladysmith where he spent a few days before going to Kimberley. Hedid guard duty at 93 Ammunition Depot in Jan Kempdorp in the Northern Capebefore being deployed to the Army Battle School in Lohatla where he spent the restof his days as a national serviceman.He says his time in the military "could hardly be described as constructive orenjoyable", but it was also "a period of unprecedented personal growth and selfdiscovery”.“There is little doubt that during the two years of my conscription, Istopped being a boy and at some point became a man." Green unfortunately does notelaborate too much on this rite of passage.
Published
2011-08-10
How to Cite
Van der Westhuizen, G. (2011). STAND AT EASE/GARY GREEN. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 38(1). https://doi.org/10.5787/38-1-83
Section
Book Reviews