04 December 2009

What don't kill ya', makes you smarter....?

From the Soldier side: Many, many years ago, when I was an 18 year old private E-1 in the Army, I was a smart ass.
The thing you have to learn if you are a smart ass is: When you can be a smart ass and not put yourself in a bad position. When you are a Private E-1 in the Army, going through Basic or Advanced Individual Training (AIT), it is most important that you learn to control being a smart ass...or really, really bad things happen to you.
These really, really bad things are usually inflicted upon said Privates by Army Drill Sergeants. The Army Drill Sergeants are highly trained and dealing with smart ass privates.
After I "graduated" from Army Basic Training at Fort Ord, CA (It's closed now), I saw that I was being sent to Fort Polk, LA for A.I.T. The school was called: "Indirect Fire Crewmen- MOS 11C". Translated to Civilian...that was Infantry Mortars.
I was totally confused because this was not what I joined the Army to do...and I made sure the Drill Sergeants knew. They didn't care, so off I went to Fort Polk. Damn that place sucks. Why does the Army always buy property in such crappy places?
After we settled into our new barracks at Ft Polk...and introduced to our new Drill Sergeants...I asked the Drill Sergeant if I could talk to him after formation. "Yes Private, what do you need?"
"Excuse me Drill Sergeant, but there's been a big mistake....I'm not supposed to be here... I joined the Army to do something else...that requires reading."
That pissed him off. 20 push ups later, I was dismissed.
I continued to ask to be reassigned to another school or discharged. The Drill Sergeants got so tired of me bugging them.
One day, early in the morning...we were getting ready to go for a little 10 mile walk with packs, rifles and crap. At this time of my life, I was a stud. I could run for miles, do hundreds of push ups, shoot, and all kinds of deadly stuff.
As we were standing in formation to start our hike....my favorite Drill Sergeant called me into the supply room. He said: "Hey Private, we have you discharge for you to sign."
I signed for the M60 machine gun and the PRC 77 (Prick 77) radio. Each with all it's crap weighed about 25 pounds.
So, I had to hump the "Pig" and the Prick 77. A few miles into the hike, some of my buddies offered to carry these lead weights....but I turned down the offers. I was going to stand up to the challenge....because I was a Smart Ass.
I learned to shut up after that....until I earned my stripes and can deliver the smart ass with the "crusty old NCO" approach.


Coffeypot said...

I had trouble keeping my mouth shut, too. More so out in the fleet than in bootcamp, but still a motor-mouth just the same.

Opus #6 said...

There is a time to shut up and be respectful. I learned that studying Karate. If they told us to do it a certain way, at first I wanted to say, "but the other guy said to do it THAT way LAST week!" Not acceptable. Shut up and say "YES SIR!"

Anonymous said...

1. Ditto on trouble keeping mouth shut.
2. In my case, was surrounded by a bunch of dumbasses and was unable to keep from pointing the fact out.
3. If someone ran out of cigarettes, water, bug repellent, etc, would assist -along with "helpful" sarcastic commentary.
4. When the LT wanted to bivouac on a artillery registration point, reminded him and his ignorant shake and bake platoon sgt of what happened to someone else who'd done the same thing.
5. Actually, they'd sand bagged. Sat in the trees and called out fake patrol locations. When the battery fired in, lost most of the platoon.
6. Anyway, was angry at being assigned to such a sad sack out fit and lacked the art to either conceal the fact or get myself reassigned.
7. The 1st SGT liked me -because I always showed up for formation.
8. Was called the airborne PFC -even after I made Spec 4.
9. In an all leg outfit, think they assumed airborne were bad tempered, foul mouthed ***holes.
10. Never got any come-uppance. Being there was punishment enough.
11. Learned later that good leaders would have turned that herd into a going concern.
12. I have very specific reasons for saying the troops are better quality these days -but without good leadership, that is wasted.
13. During my turns in the barrel as a military leader, was amazed at how much effort I had to expend, protecting my men and their missions from stupidity visited upon us from above.
V/R JWest

CI-Roller Dude said...

Later in life, I learned to make my smart ass fun too complicated for some dumbass leaders to understand...

Emperor said...

haha...PRC 77...

I remember being tasked to find a PRC E7 on my first day in the new unit. My SFC got pissed when I asked him if he knew here the "Prick E7" was...I was urged to ask him this by my own SGT.

CI-Roller Dude said...

We send new privates to supply to get:
1.) Compass bearings
2.) Boxes of grid squares
3.) 100 feet of water line
4.) Air hooks
5.) Trailer mirrors
6.) cans of radio squelch
7.) Prick E-7s.