One of the best SNCOs I knew said, ‘the drill field is the one billet where you can be successful without displaying any real leadership qualities.’
Like all of us, I have quite a few boot camp stories, and don’t hate the ever-loving shit out of the DIs I had. For instance, if one was on fire, I’d cross the street to piss on him. But that’s just common courtesy.
Having said that, let’s get to a couple of examples of the finest leadership in the world.
SSgt BlueFalcon was our 4th DI. Being new, he was a bit clueless. He talked with a voice like a buzzer so everything he said sounded fucked up without having to yell, and he may have actually been a GySgt the month before we got him in phase 2 of our training.
I’m not kidding. This motherfucker showed up in phase 2 with all his gear marked in Gunny chevrons. Now, it’s totally possible that he just got a helluva deal off a retiree, or maybe found stuff in his size at a second-hand shop, but there were signs that something shady was going on, and that my SDI was babysitting the shit out of him. Honestly, for me to notice, it had to be painfully obvious.
So there we were one day with Gunny – I mean SSgt – Blue Falcon in charge of us. I hadn’t eaten lunch and there was a tray from the chow hall for me. I kept requesting permission to eat, and BlueFalcon kept saying no. So I kept asking, because (A) I wanted to eat, (B) fuck him, and (C) I wanted to eat. It got to the point that other recruits were telling me to stop. Apparently, my wanting lunch was getting annoying for the fed.
Eventually, we were forming up to get a class at the movie theater, and I still hadn’t eaten lunch, nor would I since dinner was right around the corner. While there I went to my SDI, who had his own to go tray from the chow hall, and asked him for permission to eat lunch as SSgt BlueFalcon stood behind me, glaring indifferently over my shoulder.
“You haven’t eaten?” he asked.
With an incredulous look at BlueFalcon, who honestly could not have given less of a crap, my SDI handed me his own food, which I took because (A) fuck him, (B) I wanted to eat, and (C) fuck him.
I took it outside, where another great act of leadership occurred.
Since dignity can be foregone for hunger I sat on the cement facing a brick wall to enjoy my lunch with a swarm of delicious sand fleas, but who should be out there but a male/female DI duo, talking about some such shit. I can’t recall the conversation, so I’ll fill in the blanks the best I can:
“Yeah,” he said, “so I started eating my Chef Boyardee raviolis with a K-Bar.”
“Hmm,” she said, listening intently, her blonde hair pulled.
“It’s a real time-saver, because now I don’t have to tactically acquire my weekly supply of plastic ware from mini PX like I used to.”
“I converted old tea bags into Maxi Pads,” she chimed in, not wanting to seem less thrifty than him, “and vice versa.”