Apologies, Drill Sergeant
Context: in army basic training, anything said to a drill sergeant needs to end with their title. “Yes, drill sergeant. No, drill sergeant.”
So early into basic our drill sergeant asks my battle buddy for his serial number. Battle buddy rattles it off.
So the drill sergeant, not having heard his title given, asks him, “Who the f– do you think you’re speaking to? A drill sergeant? An a–hole? A d–head?”
My buddy, realizing he forgot the title and now fully flustered goes to say, “apologies, drill sergeant,” but instead says “apologies, d–head.”
Both their eyes got wide at the same time in totally different ways. The private realized he may not survive what comes next. The drill sergeant is giddy with excitement that a private just called him a d–head to his face.
Dumb Enough To Raise Their Hand
Fort Sill, OK 2002 (during my basic) DS is smoking us on the first day, playing “Who doesn’t want to be here? – If you don’t want to be here, I don’t want you here. Just tell me and you can go home…” We’ve been in front-lean-and-rest for between 15 min – 2 years (give or take), when somebody raises their hand. DS was flustered for a second because I don’t think anyone had ever actually been dumb enough to raise their hand. He goes and gets going in Private’s face and in screaming at him. Finally, he says “Why don’t you want to be here?” I’ll never forget the response: “Drill Sergeant, this is not what my recruiter led me to believe this would be like. ” Only time I saw the DS speechless. I ended up doing basic, OCS, and officer basic course with that guy.
There was another guy with my name in the platoon and the DS asks my one day if I would mind if he called my “White [my name]” so he could tell us apart (I’m white, DS and other guy weren’t). I think he wanted to see how I would react. That weekend we got our phone call and I asked my parents to address my next letter to “White [my name]”. Next mail call, DS (who was really cool as DS’s go) is just rattling off names and gets to my letter. You could almost hear his brain record-scratch. Worth the push-ups.
Four Foot Nothing
I’m a military nurse and as part of our orientation we had to give vaccines to the new recruits at MCRD. One of the recruits was probably four foot nothing. They have yellow handprints on the wall for the bicillin shot and he couldn’t even reach them. One of the DIs just kept yelling at him: “Defy all odds recruit! Defy all odds!”
Not a DS, but a Navy recruit. I was on colors duty and it’s kind of windy in Chicago.
One time, we did not tie the fastening ropes well enough so the flag ended up half mast. Our RDC retrieves me and the other recruit from class an hour later and proceeds to yell at us and asks, “who the f– died?” The other recruit, without missing a beat, says, “Chris Farley.” (which was technically true cause he died a few days before).
The RDC had to leave to compose himself, before proceeding to have us stand at attention for a few hours while all the other ship RDCs came by and made fun/yelled at us, making Farley and SNL jokes.
“You make me sthick”
In Navy bootcamp we have a thing before Battlestations called Amnesty Night. This is where we confess all the dumb stuff we managed to get away with to our RDCs and not get in trouble. Our chief had a lisp, which we all talked trash about throughout boot camp, but never in front of him. We had a pretty short guy named Patterson that could do a perfect impression of our chief. Patterson proceeded to stand up in the middle of Foreward IG and said “Why the f– do I have to keep touching your dirty asth sthkivysth? You mother f–erths make me sthick”. The enitre division was dying, the RDCs were in tears about to fall out of their chairs. When everything quietened down, our chief looked at us and said “I f–ing hate you guyths, but that wath f–ing funny”. The entire division proceeded to die again
When I was in basic training, there was someone going through their locker in the middle of the night making a lot noise. So one of the trainee’s sat up in bed and screamed “shut the f– up!”. The person going through the locker was a drill instructor doing a random check. The trainee who told him to shut the f– up got ripped a new one, but the instructor was probably dying laughing on the inside. I don’t know how they keep a straight face.
Not necessarily what a recruit said but had to do…
Imagine this…0500 in physical training formation. Everyone is dressed in the proper uniform (gray shirt, blue shorts, white sock and a shiny new pair of New Balance Dad shoes) except for Recruit Dumba–. Recruit Dumba– realized he didn’t have clean white socks while getting ready and thought it would be ok to join the formation in knee high (green) socks. The following conversation transpired:
Drill Sergeant (DS): Trainee Dumba–, what the heck do you have on?
TD: Ma’am, I didn’t have clean white socks so I used my uniform socks instead.
DS: Trainee Dumba–, do you know what covert ops is?
TD: Yes, Ma’am.
DS: Trainee Dumba–, I want you to covert ops over to the barracks and acquire a pair of white socks from your laundry bag.
TD: stares blankly
DS: LOW CRAWL YOUR A– TO THE BARRACKS AND GET THE CORRECT PAIR OF SOCKS ON YOUR FEET!
TD: Does what he’s told and low crawls nearly a mile to the barracks. Nearly dies from exhaustion and humiliation.
One guy got selected to go to the Natick Human Research Center after basic, which is basically a place where they use soldiers in experiments to test new gear.
So he gets his pamphlet or whatever from the DS and as he’s walking away he says “Well, I didn’t want a robo-johnson in my rear but I guess I’m getting one” and the DS just lost it laughing. Had to close the door to his office.
“You just said it”
Not a DS but doing my best to translate ranks etc. from Finnish military: I served as an instructor for new conscripts during the latter half of my own conscript service.
We were testing how well the new conscripts had learned the ranks of our military. They would wait in line and when it was their turn I’d show them a piece of paper with the symbol of a rank in it. They would address me properly, tell their name and say the rank. For example: “Sir Corporal sir, conscript last name, a Captain.”
The rank depicted on the piece of paper I showed was Corporal, which was also my rank and thus on my jacket, very visibly. The new conscript first addressed me “Sir general sir”. I raised an eyebrow and he quickly tried to fix his mistake: “sir second general sir” (a rank that would be right below general if it existed, which it does not). The conscript behind him made a chuckle so he fixed his mistake again saying “Sir corporal sir, conscript last name, I don’t remember the rank you are showing”. I said “You just said it.” He went quiet in thought for a few seconds, then happily said “a conscript!”
“Our West or your West?”
I ordered the platoon to form up facing West. One troop asked, “Master corporal, our West or your West?” I just walked away angrily and let his peers sort him out. I came out of my office and they were facing East…