Brogan is kind of a funny word. I never heard the term until I enlisted
in the Air Force. When we were being issued our clothing, the pile included two sets of brogans. Trivia note: The dress shoes worn with our blue formal uniform were called low quarters. The military used funny words.
For the uninitiated, a brogan is a thick, heavy shoe that usually covers
the ankle. In Iowa, we called this a boot. Go figure.
In basic training, we were required to alternate between the two pairs
every day. On Sunday, wear pair one, Monday switch to pair two, and so on.
The good news is that the boots had a day to dry out or air out between
uses. The bad news for us was that we had two pair of shoes to polish.
How do you tell the pairs of black leather apart? The clever minds in the
military solved that by having us cut notch in the heels of one pair.
I don’t remember what happened to my brogans. They may have been left in
Thailand, since that was my last assignment before being honorably discharged.
I do remember that while in Thailand, I had to have the brogan’s soles
replaced. (We were not issued jungle boots, but that is another story.)
Living and working in a tropical environment, with time in a rice paddy
and wading around during the rainy season, the boots did not hold up.
To get the boots resoled, I had to find a shoe repair shop in a smaller
city where I knew little of the local language.
The shop I ended up using was what I thought to be a shoe sales
shop. Turns out all the shoes on display were awaiting their owners, after the repairs were done.
As a side-note, I used the same shop to have a pair of black boots with zippers
on the sides for everyday non-military use. They were definitely custom made,
as I had to stand on a piece of paper while they traced around my feet to get
the right size.