Boot camp and basic training are high stress environments. That, combined with some genius/cruel Drill Instructors leads to pretty funny incidents.
Pine Cone Family
Ah, yes, “The Pine Cone Incident.”
So, I was at Basic in Fort Benning, and we were zero’ing our weapons as a company. Zero’ing a weapon is when you ensure it shoots where you want it to by shooting a paper target repeatedly. Sounds easy enough.
Now, I am a terrible shot. I know this. Everyone knows this. However, I get even worse when I’m being screamed at. I spent hours on the line until, finally, there were only four of us cats who hadn’t gotten a “go” in the whole company. We had three more hours of range time, and if we failed to zero, we’d be “recycled.”
“Recycled” entails having to revert to another company earlier along in Basic Training. So, not only do you lose your buddies, but you catch a couple extra weeks of training with a unit that knows you’re a sh*tbird of some sort. So, a fate worse than death.
After another unsuccessful grouping, my drill sergeant, without a word, picked me up from the prone position and stood me up. He looked at me and said “Go find me a pine cone.”
Confused, I took four steps, scooped up a pine cone and took it back to him. I presented him my findings, and he responded “Private, that’s not my pine cone, go find me my f*cking pine cone!”
Keep in mind, this is a forest in Georgia, there’s a metric sh*t ton of pine cones. So I jog off and work on my “mission.” This entire time, my DS is shooting all my rounds off, genuinely enjoying himself. Every pine cone I bring to him is not his pine cone. This continued for about 15 minutes while the rest of the company, sitting in a clearing eating MREs, cheered me on.
Finally, I breathlessly run up and hand him another pine cone, about to jog off to grab another. He looks at me, then the pine cone, then me.
…. “STEVE!” he yells “You found Steve, private!”
I sh*t you not, I had never been more relieved in my entire life, until his face scrunched into a grimace.
“Wait, private, where’s his family? … WHO THE F*CK TAKES A PINE CONE AWAY FROM HIS FAMILY!?”
So, terrified, I spend around half an hour scavenging for appropriate sized pine cones, while he fires maniacally. Eventually, I hunt down his “wife” and his two “kids.” (At one point I brought “Steve’s estranged son, Dennis”, and I needed to do push-ups for causing Steve “emotional duress.”)
Anyway he lets me fire (after I prop up the family to “cheer me on”), I go prone, and I zero on the first iteration.
He picks me up again, cracks the only smile I ever saw from him, and says “It was all in your head, you dumb f*ck. Good job. Now go do push-ups till I’m tired.” He also had me write my congressman later that day to apologize for wasting taxpayer money on bullets.
Fort Benning, never again.
Had a guy decide to run through the barracks naked while a Drill Sergeant walked in.
They put him on fire guard the entire night and made him waddle around the barracks on his knees while wearing only underwear. The best part is that he had two flashlights in his hands while doing this and put a blue lens in one and a red lens in the other. The entire night he waddled around while making a “WEE WOO WEE WOO WEE WOO” sound like a police siren.
I lost a lot of sleep, but it was worth it.
Pump and Dump
After the first breakfast there we headed back up to the compartment to get ready for the day. AROC yelled, “Port side 5 minute pump and dump.” I whispered to my bunk mate, “I need a little more romance than that.” Chief overheard me somehow and got up in my face. I had to follow him to the head. Then stand in front of the mirror point at the mirror and say, “You’re an idiot.” Then point back at myself and then say, “No, I’m an idiot.” Forced to keep that up for 30 minutes. Will never forget most of the stupid stuff I did or said at basic in the Navy.
Thanks to the Veterans over at Reddit for sharing their boot camp stories.
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