An Army Story

When I was in basic training for the US Army I received some good advice from a training sergeant. He said “Never let this bother army you” For a second I heard it the other way around like he was saying “Never let the Army bother you.” That is good advice too but he was saying something else. He was saying the experience being a recruit is temporary. It will soon be over. Don’t’ let it change who you are. You are worthwhile as you are”. He was a good man.

However, the drill sergeants were another matter .Actually I had a pretty decent drill sergeant but the other drill sergeants for the other platoons in my training company were army crazy. They were insulting, cruel and were desperately trying to cover up their own sense of inadequacy by bullying the trainees.

This particular morning we were all lined up in company formation form left to right in 1st platoon through 4th platoon order. There were about 120 men all standing at attention.The formation was 4 or 5 times as long as it was deep and was maybe 40 yards long. The purpose of this formation was to make any announcement necessary and then to take morning roll call. It was freezing cold.

When your name was called you were supposed to scream “Here Sergeant”. Things went alright for awhile but then a recruit yelled “Here sarge.” The drill sergeant was visibly, red faced furious. He screamed “Soldier you go to the end of this formation and scream at the top of of your lungs “Here Sergeant” until this formation is over. The soldier hurried the twenty or thirty yards to the end of the formation and immediately began to shout “Here Sergeant”.

Things went well for awhile but then the screamer began to gradually change his pronunciation. IT became ” HEEER Sergeant, HEERE Sergeant like he was calling his dog It was hilarious.

However, my misery soon began. Every time the soldier sounded like he was calling his dog I wanted to laugh. Of course I couldn’t. It went on like that for twenty minutes or so. My telling of that story in my family has caused my ex-marine brother in law Ed Nutter to remark ” George you really should have tried the military.

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