Sep 16

Transferred

Razor Wire

Razor Wire

Transferred (Click to Tweet)

I had to spend three more days in the Vernon Parish Jail before I was transferred. I would say that it was the three longest days of my life but that would not be a true statement. There were many more long days to come in the near future.

After Captain Tessler’s trial, it seemed as if CID was working overtime. The jail seemed to keep adding more military inmates. I was told that someone wanted to meet me in a different cell block on the other side of the jail. So I walked down the hall towards that section.

As I approached the common area there were a few guys standing there with their arms dangling through the bars. I didn’t recognize any of them at all, however; I knew they were Army by their haircuts,  green cargo pants, and the denim shirts that they made us wear.

One of the guys immediately stuck his hand out to shake mine, and so I obliged. He said, “So you’re David Mike?” I nodded yes, not sure what was going on. He continued, “Dude, you’re a legend!” I was taken aback by this exclamation.

While I was selling drugs in the clubs, I could remember the feeling of having something everyone wanted. I remembered the control I had over everyone who wanted to buy from me. It was a powerful, but very dangerous feeling. Being called a legend was really an ego stroke.

Running away from the Army and selling tons of drugs, partying every night with no rules or respect for authority, living with reckless abandon is how this guy was going to remember me for the rest of his life. There is nothing I can do about it now and I can’t go back, but it doesn’t feel good that people have this memory of me. I didn’t even know who this guy was and I would never see him again.

On the 26th of March 1990, I said goodbye to everyone that I was leaving behind. Early the next morning I would be escorted by car to Fort Hood, Texas. I would have to stay in their Installation Detention Facility until a “slot” opened up for me at Fort Leavenworth. It had something to do with the number of inmates they could in process at a time before any new ones could be transferred there.

I was given one of my Army battle dress uniforms to wear and I have to admit, it felt good to be wearing it again. All of my personal belongings had to fit into a duffle bag and I would be taking it with me. A military vehicle was waiting for me outside and I was placed in the back seat. They did not handcuff or shackle me and so it was a comfortable ride. I slept for most of the six hour drive.

Sitting in the Vernon Parish Jail, I had not been expected to act military other than in the courtroom. So my arrival at the IDF was a rude awakening. Pulling up near the chain link gate, topped with rolls of razor wire, I was told to march up to the guard tower, stand at attention and report to the guard on duty. If I did it right I would be let in.

I yelled out, “Inmate Mike reporting as ordered, Sergeant!” Lucky me, I heard a buzzing sound and the gate opened up. Another guard started barking orders which led me to marching over to some yellow lines painted on the asphalt in the shape of several boxes attached to each other.

The guard told me to drop my duffle bag, spread my legs and hold my arms out. He then proceeded to run his hands up and down my body searching for contraband or weapons. My next instructions were to dump all of the contents of the duffle bag out so that he could inspect everything. He gave me something like one minute to get everything back into the bag.

Finding nothing, I was told to report to the in processing office. Here, I received an explanation of how things were going to run. In short, very strict, very military and don’t screw up. They assigned me to some barracks and so I left the office and headed towards the building that would be my home for the next little while.

Inside the barracks were bunk beds with lockers, just like in basic training. Other than being an inmate, I felt like I was back in the Army. We marched around everywhere including to the mess hall to eat dinner. I don’t remember what I ate, but I do remember that after the crap I was fed in the last jail, I would never complain about Army chow again.

That evening, after dinner, we were all allowed to just hang out. We were surrounded by fence, razor wire, and armed soldiers. No one was going anywhere. I met a few guys and we chatted about why we were locked up. Others were playing pool, basketball or just sitting on the front steps of the barracks “smoking and joking.” The only inmate I remember was because his first name was Mike and his last name was David.

The following morning, we were all woken up with a command to get dressed for Physical Training. What…? I hadn’t done PT in over a year. At a 105 pounds, I was in no shape for this type of physical exertion. No choice, so I put on the gym shorts, the grey Army t-shirt socks and tennis shoes that I had been issued. Leaving the barracks, I joined the formation and headed out with the other men to be punished.

Starting with calisthenics and stretching, we did jumping jacks, a lot of arm swinging movements. Then a bunch of push-ups, sit-ups and then finally the two mile run. I literally thought I was going to die. The best part about this morning was going to eat breakfast. Once again, real food and it was awesome.

Sandbags

Sandbags

The hard labor task we were assigned to do all day long, every day was to fill sand bags. There were green plastic weaved mesh bags laying in a huge pile next to an even larger pile of sand. A number of shovels were sticking out of the sand pile waiting for someone to grab them and start shoveling. We would rotate jobs, with some inmates shoveling 35 to 40 pounds of sand into each bag. Other inmates would hold the bags while they were being filled, tie them off and then neatly stack them to be picked up later.

We worked on that sand pile until lunch and then started over until about 5:00 pm. Once they called quitting time we ate dinner and went back to the barracks. We had the choice to go back to smoking and joking or in my case just collapse on my bunk and immediately pass out. The next morning came early and it was a repeat of the day before, and the cycle continued until the fifth day, which was April 1st and it was Sunday.

There was a small chapel inside the compound right near the sand pile. I can guarantee you that I attended the service that morning. It seemed kind of fitting that I went to church to get out of the sand bag detail on April Fool’s Day. I couldn’t tell you what happened or what was said in there, but I was so glad not to be shoveling.

As soon as the service was over, duty called and we were back to shoveling and filling those sand bags. It seemed as if there was a never ending need for those things. This went on for another three days and if I never saw sand again, it would be too soon.

I didn’t receive any letters while I was at Fort Hood because of the move and I had informed everyone to hold off until I was transferred to my permanent destination. I was so busy and so exhausted at the end of each day, that it just didn’t matter.

IDF inspected outgoing mail.

IDF inspected outgoing mail.

A slot had opened up at Fort Leavenworth and I was notified that I would be escorted there on the 5th of April. Just over five months of my confinement had passed and I would finally be going to prison.

I don’t remember being scared, but more relieved to no longer have to be where I was currently and definitely not back where I was before.

However, I did have some apprehensions, even though Inmate Devon had given me a rundown of what to expect.

Anyways, it didn’t matter, I was being transferred and that was it.

Next post, I was transferred to the United Sates Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth Kansas.


  • And the next best-seller continues..

    • David Mike

      Thank you Charles, you are too kind!

  • Christiana

    Thank you for continuing to tell your story. I look forward to the next installment. That might sound weird since it is your life that I’m reading about.

    • David Mike

      Not weird at all, thank you for following along. I appreciate your support.

  • This must have come as a shock to your system indeed, especially given how much you wanted to get out of the local jail. Better food seems like a small reward for the hard labor and P.T. required of you. Did it seem like you’d been confined for five months or did it seem longer?

    I cannot help but wonder if any of the guys you came across will remember your name and pick up your book because they have a vague recollection of you from that time.

    {side note: how incredibly random and crazy that you met another inmate whose name was Mike David}

    • David Mike

      The food was much better but they did not take into consideration that I had not exercised for a very long time. Most other inmate were coming directly from a unit. This meant they were used to PT from it being an everyday routine. My time was moving slowly, the five months seemed more like a year. Time would only get slower. I would think that some people would remember me. Who knows. I am changing the names of all the inmates unless they were notorious.

  • Thinking about you standing there alone and facing years of confinement and yelling “Inmate Mike reporting as ordered.” What a scary thought. For me it is a story, but for you, you were there. It’s a very real moment. You must have felt like the weight of the world was on you.

    • David Mike

      To be honest, the reflective moments were more recent. I did not understand the gravity of the situation until about two years into my sentence. You will understand what I mean when you get to that post. Thank you for reading and sharing!

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