Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obedience to Orders

Okey. So, I don' know aboot -


[the management would like to take this moment to apologize for the residual Yank accent. Further posts will be conducted in the proper Texan drawl.]

I don't remember exactly when it happened, but apparently one day the Platoon Sergeant woke up and decided that the platoon needed some sort of Big Green Weenie Injection of Motivation. He figgured that a good way of perking us up would come to him on the next hump.

Now, faithful reader(s) of my little blog here will understand the whole love/hate relationship with humps. It's a necessary evil, outstanding exercise, and one heck of a pain in the ass, neck, legs, back, and just about everywhere else. I would have no idea why Marines would get somewhat tuckered out after carrying a full pack, crew-served weapons components, ammo, and miscellaneous gear... in the middle of the night... all night. No idea, really.

One evening/night/morning/whatever, the Platoon Sergeant had a great idea. In between bouts of yelling at the gun team leaders to keep their teams together, harrying the stragglers, and generally providing a wholly unnecessary aura of excess motivation (where's that noise discipline when you really need it?), he got the attention of the platoon. "All right, 81s, when I sound off with, 'MOTIVATION CHECK, 81s!!!', you will respond with a loud and motivated, 'OORAH!!!'.

While this might sound somewhat motivating, the overwhelming consensus in the Platoon was that they would rather suffer through the tail end of the hump in silence rather than proceed with the boot-camp heavy sense of false moto. Rank being what it was, however, we were compelled to sound off with a loud and (somewhat) motivated, 'OORAH!!!'. Several times.

This 'motivation check' unfortunately turned into a somewhat regular event. I dunno if it motivated the hell out of him, or he thought that it motivated the hell out of us, but he kept it up. Fortunately, about this time, the Staff Sergeant bought himself a digital camera. Staff Sergeant being the guy he is, he wanted to take it out for a test run at his earliest opportunity.

A live-fire exercise was the perfect excuse.

On the gun line in between missions, he broke out his camera and started playing around. He gathered jokes, impressions, and commentary on the training. While a bunch of the guys were sitting around doing this, he asked everyones opinion of the regular motivation checks. Firmly informed of the groups feelings on the subject, he got a rather crafty look in his eye, and issued his order.

"From now on, whenever the Platoon Sergeant calls for one of those motivation checks, I want the entire platoon to sound of with a loud and motivated, 'FUCK THAT SHIT!!!', sounds good?"

Oh yeah, game on.

Surprisingly enough, for the rest of the day, the Platoon Sergeant was a little on the quiet side, or as quiet as a Platoon Sergeant can be expected to be.

Then came the hump.

The end of the day was filled with breaking down our mortar positions, accounting for all rounds fired, all charges unexpended, doublechecking our serialized gear, and plans for the movement to the next area. Finally, it was time to load up and step off.

The hump was like most others; heavy gear, moderate pace, and a motivated Platoon Sergeant. The time came, the Staff Sergeant had his video camera ready to go, and the motivation check was called. While the look on his face when we sounded off with the most recently ordered response was priceless, it wasn't the best.

The best part of this story was the Staff Sergeants opening words, "From now on..."

Some of you might see where this is going.

Commanding Officers, Exectutive Officers, and others, live in what is sometimes known as Officer Country. This might be an intimidating area to the younger guys, and while it loses some of that indimidation level as you progress through the ranks, the more senior enlisted guys tend to stay away unless they have some sort of pressing business in the area. Like say, visiting with the First Sergeant or Company Gunny.

It is a rare event when you might have an entire platoon in the realm of the Company Offices, but it happens on occasion. Especially when the platoon needs to be in an area heavily... infested with brass, the NCOs are usually very close by to ensure that order is maintained. For us, in the purposes of this story, it involved the Corporals and Sergeants making sure that the majority of the platoon was centrally located in one of the spare classrooms, not breaking stuff, and whatever squad was on deck to meet with one of the higher ups were lined up in the hallway, keeping the noise to a minimum.

I'm not sure what compelled the Platoon Sergeant to announce a motivation check to the squad lined up in the offices hallway, but they definitely remembered their last given orders. The thunderous, "FUCK THAT SHIT!!!" could be heard outside in the parking lot, some say.

The Staff Sergeant was kind of hard to find that day, but the Platoon Sergeant was right there in the middle of it.

Poor guy.


Peter said...

Oh, dear.

Dare one assume that the Platoon Sergeant and the senior officer at the scene had a "Come To Jesus" meeting shortly thereafter?

And dare one further assume that motivation checks were thereafter deleted from the Platoon Sergeant's list of approved evolutions?


dc said...

"Three Thousand, SIR"

"Three Thousand One, SIR"

"Loyalty and Discipline, Makes Marines... Bends and Thrusts, Make Us Lean...!"

"OohRAH, Three Thousand One!!"

Platoon 3001, MCRD SD Jan 1979

Murphy said...

Peter: 'Come to Jesus'? Heck, the First Sergeant almost arranged a personal meet and greet with the big guy!

dc: Funny what sticks with you, huh.

On a related note, I think that this was about the time that the phrase, 'last recruit' gained heavily in popularity whenever... yeah, whenever.

Old NFO said...

Oh that is great....ROTFLMAO! I would bet everybody up the chain was watching the Gunny to see what he was going to do...

And he just probably held up his hand in a stop gesture and said, "Major/Capt, I'll handle this."

kvegas911 said...

You just can't make shit like this up. That is fabulous. Just fabulous!