• May 9, 2014
  • 2

Airborne Adventures II

Jump school was three weeks long. It consisted of Ground Week, Tower Week, and Jump Week. In three weeks we’d drink from the fire hose of training and indoctrination graduating as super duper paratroopers. 

Airborne instructors salivated at the thought of a Marine Gunny being in their class because they could put me in charge of the rest of the students knowing I would allow little to no anarchy.

I took great delight in messing with young Army troops or “Joes” as their leaders liked to call them (I will admit, the idea of being a “GI Joe” does have a certain appeal). Mostly I just had fun purposely using Naval terminology.  This prompted puzzled looks among the Joes, much to the delight of Sailors and Marines in the class.

“I just posted the duty roster for the week on the bulkhead, ” I’d say. “Excuse me, the wall.”

“Make sure we get the head cleaned before we go to chow. Pardon me, I meant the latrine.”

“Get me someone to sweep the ladder wells. Oh sorry, the stairs.”

Listening to Joes bellyache about how they didn’t join the Army to learn stupid Naval terms was balm to my soul. But it didn’t always go my way with the Joes.

One morning we marched down to a graveled training area where we were going to spend the day falling down a lot. It was still Ground Week where Airborne students smashed themselves to jelly learning how to properly collide with planet Earth without serious injury.

When we arrived I was summoned by one of the Airborne instructors so I could be verbally flogged within sight and hearing of the entire class. One of the Joes had been caught chewing gum and naturally it was all my fault because I let him do it. In defense of Sgt Airborne, I pretty much apply the same logic to my leaders and tend to ask questions like: “Why are you letting them do that?”

After my tongue lashing I sought out the gum chewer with every intention of engulfing him in a cloud of epic profanity. GI Joes were about to witness such obscenities they would all feel the need to shower.

I discovered my target had already been intercepted by an Army Corporal from our class. He had eviscerated the young Joe and was still jumping up and down on his guts when I arrived.  His deep personal offense that “the Gunny” got his ass chewed out because of a mouthful of this clown’s chewing gum sapped the rage right out of me. I turned my back on the scene and let him handle business.

Nothing like the fury of a good NCO to make it all better!

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj

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  1. Americia’s SgtMaj:

    As a zoomie who went through Benning in 1967 (or so, it was a loooong time ago), I am enjoying your tale.

    I got bounced by a black hat (I don’t remember them being called that in my day) because I was using blousing bands instead of having my trousers bloused into the tops of my boots. The punishment:
    blousing my pant legs properly in the “dying cockroach” position. I never got caught for that again at jump school.

    Paul L. Quandt

  2. I went through jump school as a Sgt, with about 8 other Marines, the rest mostly army privates and pfcs. 2 things I remember. First, when I had to march the class to chow, they couldn’t believe I wouldn’t let them talk in ranks while marching. They were used to just diddybopping along.
    Also, we would be standing evening formation and the 1st Sgt would announce to the soldiers ” I need 10 bodies to go to the 10th Mtn Division. Anybody who wants to change their orders, come see me”.
    Now as a Marine who knew you were not going to do a lateral move until you reenlisted, that just blew me away. I guess the army just had more flexibility than we did

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