Losing your cool

Our Command Sergeant Major frequently talks to us Drill Sergeants to see how we are doing, check on families, and give up professional advice about certain things.  One of his mentoring points was “a private should never make you so mad that you lose your cool.”  This is coming from a man that recently took […]

Where does the time go?

I first became a parent in April 2010, when my daughter was born.  My whole world changed at the moment I held her.  Now she is almost 4 years old.  She will also start her first sport, soccer, next month.  That was also my first sport.  She is full of energy as most toddlers are.  My wife chose soccer because she figured she could exhaust more energy that way.  It is the best thing to experience for me; watching her grow up, going from baby to toddler.  Time goes by fast and you never even know it. You just sit back and enjoy the time you have with your children while you can, because you know one day they will be grown up into an adult and will be leaving home for college, getting married, etc.  I always tell her to not grow up, and she replies, “ok daddy.”  I am not a moron, I know she will grow up, but this point in her life is the best for me because with her getting into sports its more of an excuse for us to go outside and play, teach her sportsmanship and how to make friends.  Time goes by fast; you blink twice and years not days go by.

Everyone gets a trophy generation

I always hear things in news about how young people are given everything.  Teachers in some schools cannot give zeros on assignments.  Some schools have cancelled awards ceremonies because its not fair for some students to get awards, and others do not get an award.  A football coach and school came under scrutiny because they won a football game and beat their opponent with the 3rd string players 90-0.  These stories specifically are because parents complained.  You may be ok with this and if you are a parent that complains against your child getting an award or something they have not worked for, then ok.  But as for me, this is detrimental to their development and learning the value of hard work.

If children and teenagers are given everything while they grow up; what will happen to them in college or when they start a career.  Some career fields are dog eat dog out there.  People stab you in the back, some people work harder and get promoted up faster than others.  But its not fair to everyone.  Young children and teenagers need to be taught the value of hard work.  They need to be taught that failure is not always bad. “Failure leads to success.”  This is a quote that I like to tell young Soldiers in the Army.  Making mistakes, as long as you learn from them, make you better.  Failure can lead to an increase in motivation, knowledge, hard work, and then the pay off is success.

This trophy generation has started because politicians and leaders, both military and civilian, think that this will help eliminate mental illness and suicides.  This process will make every child feel good as they grow up and they will not become active shooters on a rampage in a shopping mall or commit suicide.  They fail to recognize that all these kids have parents.  Parents should teach their children how to be strong mentally and that there is nothing in life worth taking a life or taking their own life.  We are failing our young society of children and teenagers.  Mom and dad will not always be there to stand up for them, so what happens when they have to fight for themselves?  They will not know how to and be looking for a parent to help out.  It aggravates me because as my daughter grow up, my wife and I want to teach her the hard values of work, making mistakes, learning to be a strong girl and lady.  I fear that our own process of raising her will be interfered by government, schools, and the watching how other children are spoiled.  In fact, this has already happened.  My poor daughter likes to play on playgrounds and other kids are running crazy and pushing other kids or playing in ways they shouldn’t or damaging playground property.  Its ok with their parents, but my wife and I get onto our daughter and tell her no.  She does the “monkey see, monkey do”  is wondering why she is getting in trouble, but no these children.  So we leave the playground because she cannot do what we are telling her and teaching her.  She is only 3 yrs old, so she does not understand.  But my mentality is the sooner we teacher her, the sooner she learns.   Children are a reflection of their parents.  That is how I look at it.  I will continue to raise my daughter the way I want, which is to be  respectable, strong, motivated, hard working, young lady.

Back to a slower life in the Army.

Well as most you know that follow my blog; I am no longer a Drill Sergeant, but I am still in the Army.  I thought being back would be kind of boring, and it was for awhile.  I took on a staff job, aka office job.  It was hard and different to change my pace.  Going from being a Drill Sergeant who is fired up and pissed off all the time; to sitting in a chair all day in front of a computer, watching people put on fake smiles for the big wig Officers, hoping and praying that their efforts of sucking up would get them promoted.  I quit blogging for awhile because I did not think I would have anymore interesting stories, but I do have some stories and opinions to blog about.  So I am back, and happy to see everyone who posts on here.  The stories will not be as funny and entertaining, but the stories will mostly be of military life in the 82nd Airborne Division.  Airborne Army is the best and I am happy to be back in a regular unit. 

Airborne All the Way

It has been awhile since I last posted.  Now that I am not a Drill Sergeant I do not have as many stories to publish, or at least interesting stories as I used to.  Now I am back in the real Army, 82nd Airborne Division, where leadership and moral are better, where things are kept simple, not too stupid.  The great part is the lack of politics.  I am now working in my first staff job.  Working at a desk, with many officers.  I have been known to disrespect officers without any remorse.  Yes I have been in trouble for this before, but it doesn’t stop me from saying that things are stupid when they get stupid.  I have only been in the new unit for a couple of days now, and thus far the leadership is great.  My next journey is preparing and going to jumpmaster school.  I have not jumped out of airplane since 2005, so the nerves will be ramped up to the maximum level when I do jump again.  Right now with the government shut down the jumps were canceled, but now that it has reopened things have to be rescheduled.

English: United States Army 82nd Airborne Divi...

English: United States Army 82nd Airborne Division shoulder sleeve insignia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was shown where my desk would be and was told to look through everything and see what I wanted to keep and throw out.  Its crazy how people in the Army are not organized and leave junk and old paper work just laying around.  I am a neat freak, I love to be organized so I went to making stacks to be shredded and a stack of trash.  Of all the people to come over, without being asked, was a private.  I asked “what do you want guy?”  “Sergeant I am the sort of office bitch, just wondering if you need help?”  So I showed him the stacks and gave him guidance and he took care of the stacks I made.  He kinda redeemed my outlook on privates….kinda.

Well, this is not a very interesting blog, I apologize for that.  I will keep up the post to let everyone know I am still alive.  If interesting stories come about I will post immediately, even stories about the horrible drivers on fort bragg.

Retiring the Drill Sergeant Hat

Today was my last day as a Drill Sergeant. To all my fans who have liked my posts and stories, I am sorry that I started my blog so late in the game. This was a great way to let the public know of my experiences as a Drill Sergeant, and to entertain by the fascinating stories I have published. It was also a good way to vent. This final day I received my award and got to shake the hands and hug fellow Drill Sergeants that helped me be successful while being on the Drill Sergeant trail. One thing I vocalized to my fellow NCOs is that being trouble free and successful was not an individual effort, but a team effort. With all the politics that one has to deal with and changes in rules on a daily basis, one must find resilience and help from others. Someone was always there to say.” Hey, that is enough, go cool off.” Or “I got your back, I agree with what you want to do or say, here is how you can do it.” During my 2 year tenure as a Drill Sergeant I couldn’t have asked for a better Drill Sergeant team, both past and present. These are all very professional NCOs and willing to go the distance to train civilians to be Soldiers.
I volunteered to be a Drill Sergeant, which is not common in the Army. As a squad leader I saw many flaws in Soldiers that I felt I may be able to influence and fix before they got “the line” in the regular Army. Little things such as how to pack a ruck sack properly, or that Army Values and Warrior Ethos are not just words on paper, but principle that Soldiers live by, in hopes that they would apply them and become better people and examples for others to see. What I didn’t fully know or was aware of is the politics involved in this process of putting Soldiers in the Army. I did what I could and trained the way I thought was right to prepare these young Warriors for combat and the real Army.
As a squad leader I got to see Soldiers go from Soldiers to NCOs and in some cases Army officers. It is great to see a Soldier transition and be apart of that; even better, a civilian transition to be a Soldier. I had many parents and family members, even Privates themselves come shake my hand and say “thank you”. At the time I blew it off because all I wanted to do was get rid of them so I could get back to my own life, which is my wife and daughter. Now looking back, that is a moment that some do not get to experience. It has been a pleasure to train Soldiers and help them achieve what most cannot….to be a Soldier in the Army. Not all that join make it through Army Basic Training. I always took graduations lightly, not fully aware of the past and experiences that these Privates may have experienced in order to get to this point. For some, being a Soldier was the best thing that ever happened to them. To be apart of that is a great thing. I look back now and feel proud of what I was able to do. It is great to see a private has gone out of their way to look me up and email me about their progress of Airborne School or Ranger School.
To all my fellow Drill Sergeants that may read this, the tour is long, but when you get to the end it is worth it. You can be proud and know you did something that mattered. For the bloggers that read this, the stories will change, but not stop. I plan to continue to blog about the Airborne and soon, Jumpmaster community. Stay tuned.

Offensive Statements

The Army always sends out updates about new developments in the organization. Updates on training, new standards, new uniforms, etc. In the Training and Doctrine command, that being Basic Combat Training; we are always seeing and hearing new developments and new ideas made by “good idea fairies”. In the basic combat training environment, people are very sensitive. They are not used to be being yelled at or talked down to or degraded verbally. It has been said that we are Drill Sergeants are very offensive in the way we talk to people. We are loud, obnoxious, cocky, and really do not care what other people think of us. We always have many meetings with higher ups, Colonel, Lt. Colonel, Sergeant Majors, etc.; which they discuss how we should loosen up and be nicer and not say offensive things. I get it, don’t call someone a momma’s boy because maybe his mom died, or daddy’s girl maybe her dad died especially in combat serving his country.
The other day the chain of command in my unit told us not to say male and female to the privates. You did not read this wrong, I am serious. It was said not to call male soldiers MALES and female soldiers FEMALES. We are to only call them Soldiers, Trainees, or Warriors. Well, me and my inquiring mind had to ask why? Why can we not call a man a male and a girl or woman a female; that is what they are. There was no answer to this question. I asked the person who did tell me to please filter up this question because I do think it is a fair question and deserves an answer. Same goes with Privates, don’t you dare call them privates because it reminds them they are lower stature and lower in rank and that is not condusive to a motivate them. New Army. This was a few days ago, and the only thing that came back to my question was; the way a Drill Sergeant called a female soldier a female and the Soldier became offended because by the tone of voice the Soldier took it as a dergatory term. So in the politica sense, the best way to overcome this serious incident is to change the terms that we use to address Soldiers now days.
So over the next few days I am going to find an excuse to seperate females and males. I will gather them up and say,”I want trainees here and the other trainees over here, you figure it out.” Then I will become mad because they do not understand and inform them of the new rule of not calling them male and female and become more angry. Then maybe they will be encouraged to commplain about how confusing it is when the Drill Sergeants need to seperate males and females, but cannot addressing them as such. The rules are changing constantly and the polictics are getting worse by the week. I’m very glad I only have just a couple more weeks and I can move on in my career.

Spelling Bee Loser

In my 2 years of being a Drill Sergeant, today I witnessed a very sad act where a private displayed a lack of education.  When a Drill Sergeant has CQ or charge of quarters, the CQ Drill Sergeant is responsible for preparing the privates for sick call.  You verify they have the items they need and fill out the sick call slip properly.  So this morning, no shit there I was getting privates ready for sick call.  I collect the sick call slips and sign them out from the company and verify what their illness or injury may be.  So there was one name that I could not find on our roster, I went out to ask the guy what his name was, I saw his name tag and noticed this re re misspelled his own name.  No, I’m not joking, no I’m not making this up.  I told him he misspelled his name, and told him to correct it.  He then looked at his name tag to respell his name.  I thought this was very sad and I didn’t even make fun of him for it because of how sad I thought it was.  Everyone in the Army has at least a GED/high school diploma, so he is not completely stupid, or is he?  Privates do some crazy things, take things literally, do some stupid stuff sometimes, but this by far is the worst I have witnessed.

A Little too Literally 2

In the world that I work in; you see and hear strange, stupid, and crazy things.  Privates take things too literally sometimes.  You may think at first they are being a wise guy or wise gal, but when you see the look on their face and how they react to stuff; you can tell it is just their lack of intelligence that they do exactly, and I mean exactly what a Drill Sergeant will say. 

Yesterday we were doing their pt test assessment.  We call it a 1-1-1, 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of sit ups, and a 1 mile run.  Each Drill Sergeant has a clip board with a paper that we write down the names and numbers of each private. (they wear jerseys with numbers for identification)  So as I go through the line, some privates state their last name and number, these are the intellectuals.  Some say their full name, first and last name, then their number.  I made the remark, “You first name is private, all I need is your last name and number, thats it.”  I go on to the next private, she says her last name, then her first name; as if this make a difference with my previous remark.  I again stated, merely as a joke, their first name is private, I don’t care about first names.  So I go the next private, he states, “Doe comma Private.”  I looked at him like “really guy”.  This kid was totally serious and a slight fear in his eyes, so I knew he was not being a wise guy.  At times it is funny to think that maybe these kids are so fearful they do exactly what is said so there is no chance of reprecussions.  Its sad at the same time because basic training today is way to easy.  When I went through basic training 15 years ago, it was much harder and the Drill Sergeants could say and do more to get a privates attention.  I guess it is just the generation we are in today, they are scared and sensitive, and take things way to literally at times.  The book knowledge of some of these kids is very good, but many, most, probably all; lack common sense.

Strange and Unusual things

I say this alot as a Drill Sergeant, “Strange and unusual things happen in basic training.”  It really does, there are things you wouldn’t think were possible of happening or hearing, but you see it and hear it here.  Here is one example about MREs, meals ready to eat.  This is a quick alternative meal that is stored in a plastic bag.  It is room temperature, but it comes with a heater.  MREs include snacks, an entree, a side dish or some sort, bread or crackers, and a little pack with matches, toilet paper, etc.  A private told us that her MRE did not have a main meal inside of it.  We told her to continue looking, she said she did and was not finding her main meal.  One Drill Sergeant got up to help her find it, but was also curious because we have been in the Army awhile and have never seen an MRE without a main meal.  As soon as he got up, a buddy right beside her showed her it was in the small box, which is what the main meals come in, a small cardboard box.  So then this private said, “Oh, I have to open the box?”  So then I began my rant,”YES weirdo, open the box and get your stinking meal, mommy and daddy are not here for you to depend on, you must do simple crap on your own, such as open your own little box and get your meal.  You also have to feed yourself, that might be a new concept for you.”  Is it sad to think that privates, especially the young ones right out of high school are so dependant on things to be done for them?  I think its very sad and sets them up for failure as an adult, especially a Soldier training for combat operations.  Another Drill Sergeant mentioned that was the first time in 3 yrs of being a DS that he has ever seen or heard of a private not being able to find their food.

Something I have never seen before as a Drill Sergeant or in my life is people leaving the code of their lock actually on the lock.  I am just a Drill Sergeant helping out because I am almost done, so I go into the bays to fill up my water bottle or put something in the office and then I go ahead and help out by checking for unsecured wall lockers.  I found a couple that were not locked at all, but I also found a few that had the code still taped to the lock.  So I am a very curious person, so I try to code to see if that is a code or maybe its a diversion, which would be kinda smart.  Indeed it was the code, so to me that is unsecured.  If the code is still on your lock anyone can get in.  To me this is strange and stupid.  You can take many things in life for granted, but security is not one I would take for granted.  Especially when you live with 59 other people.  Things get lost and if your wall locker is open, someone will easily aquire some items that they are missing from you.  This is just the beginning of strange things that will happen this cycle, many more will come. 

Phone time

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволю...

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволюция мобильных телефонов (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We picked up another cycle, time for more stories.  This was my last pick up day.  Very excited and I was pretty chilled out than I normally am because I don’t have my own platoon to mold this time.  When the privates first get here to their basic training unit their cell phones are taken up, secured and stored until it is time for them to earn the right to use them.  Within the first 48 hours the privates are allowed to make a quick phone call to let their loved ones know they are starting basic training, they are safe, and to give them the address over the phone.  I went to the bay to bs with a fellow drill sergeant, he issued the phones to the privates and makes them wait until everyone has turned on their phone and is ready.  It is kind of a waiting process to wait for 60 privates to turn on phones and get them in a uniform manner to start phone time.  I was sitting in the office while this was going on and I love to people watch, so I watched some of these privates while they waited.  The privates in my view were feigning to use their phones.  Some of them were shaking to turn on the phone, kept looking at it waiting for the command to call.  It was as if they were trapped in a concentration camp and finally got some food to eat, thats how bad they were acting about their phones.  I found it kinda sad that these young kids are so dependant on their cell phones that its like a drug to them.  While phone time goes on there is much commotion, crying, I miss you’s, then the drill sergeant counts down to end the time, and they talk fast, still talking while trying to obey the command to stop talking and turn off the phone.  There is always that last “good bye” you hear after you call time to stop.  Then aftewards there are more tears because just the voice of loved ones make them miss them more.  That is when the number of quitters begins to rise, as it did today.  After one small phone call one little guy threw in his towel and wanted to quit.  On a better note, phone time is a great time for Drill Sergeants to bs with each other, gives us a break while the phones babysit them for awhile.  There are more stories which will be posted soon, so stay tuned for more.  Sadly the next 30 days will be my last a drill sergeant.  I will probably blog about my transitioning from being in this intense drill sergeant environment to being a low key staff desk jockey, which is my next assignment.  But its ok, I get to go back to jumping out of airplanes and back to the center of the universe, fort bragg, NC.