A military meme...

tuna

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Not a meme, but a funny story.

I understand the historical point of Drill and Ceremonies. I understand that the Army and Marines do it as a tradition that harkens back to the day of marching onto a field and calmly shooting at massed ranks of people. I get that "taller tap" puts the larger soldiers in the front ranks as psychological warfare so the enemy thinks it is facing a bunch of giants. I get all that.

None of that applies to the Air Force. Marching in the Air Force is an exercise in stupidity - even for the military.

When I went to the NCO Academy, I thought that most of the things we were taught was idiotic. I hated the entire time I was there, and fought with my instructors at any chance. I believed that nothing could top the idiocy that we were taught in the classes.

Then they put us on the parade field and said we had to march our flight. I'd been in the Air Force for 10 years or so at this point, and had NEVER marched (prior service, I did my marching in the Army), forming up for a Commander's Call or change of command was it. One time, our Group Commander (O-6) wanted us to look like a military unit or something, and tried marching us away from a Commander's Call, and called "Right - Hook". When we didn't know what to do, obviously, he then yelled "You know what the f--k I mean, turn right!"

So now here I was in lovely McGhee-Tyson ANGB in the Land of the Not Quite Right, and I'm supposed to march a bunch of Air Force NCOs who hadn't marched since Basic around this parade field like we knew what we were doing. Talk about stupid. So we stumbled through the first few guys trying to remember the calls and commands. Then it was my turn:

"Right Face!
Forward March!
Change step - March
Change step - March
Change step - March
Change step - March
Change step - March
Change step - March
Change step - March
Change step - March
Chang....."

The instructor stopped us. Asked what we were doing.
"Skipping" I answered.
"Why?"
"Because this is f--king stupid"
"You're done, back in formation. You know you need this to graduate this school"




Dick. I still hate that experience.
 

KMM696

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McGhee-Tyson NCOA.... [rofl]

My roommate was in Coast Guard recruiting and personnel at some HQ level job, who was sent to the Air Guard NCOA under some ridiculous NCO academy exchange program. His boss couldn't come up with any reason why sending his service members to another services school was a good idea, so he would only put CG people in those slots if he knew they were relatively immune to thinking some other service's bullshit mattered. I got to try to translate Air Force into English or Coast Guard, depending. By day 4, his most used phrase had become "Well, this is stupid." Mine was "Stop trying to apply logic to this, it won't work." We got along well.

I was impressed by my main instructor, though. He figured out that I had deliberately made sure my uniforms looked like crap for the first 4 days, until after he had selected our class leader.
 

tuna

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I hated that school with a passion. My training manager "did me a favor" and got me into it, because it would look better for my career (what a joke) than taking the correspondence I was trying to take.


My favorite event while I was there, this was a week or two before I had everyone skipping across the parade field:

Ronald Reagan had died, and the flags were at half staff for a week (I think). I was slated to be on flag duty, we'd lower the flag, fold it, and then raise it again (it was lighted, but they wanted us to have practice). During lunch, I checked my emails on my home base account, and there was one that was addressed to the Command Post (I used to get their messages as a backup) that said "SECDEF DIRECTS that the mourning period for President Reagan has ended and flags will be raised to full staff, effective today's date". At 1700, I went to do the flag duty, and we took it down and folded it and then we raised the flag, to full staff.

Instructor (MSgt) - "Nope, the flag goes down to half staff for the rest of the week."
Me (TSgt) - "Actually sergeant, there was a message today that instructs the flags to go to full staff" (not being a smartass, just providing helpful information)
Instructor - "I know, but if we put the flag to full staff, we need to put up the state and POW flags, so we're just going to leave the flag at half staff"
Me - "What?"
Instructor - "I said, leave the flag at half staff"
Me - "But the message is SECDEF Directs, we're supposed to go full staff"
Instructor - "The school commadant says we stay at half staff"
Me (not actually believing this is happening) - "Are you f**king kidding me? Tell me this is a f**king joke!"
Instructor (now angry at being sworn at by someone one rank lower than him) - "No, I'm not joking. You're ORDERED to put the flag at half staff"
Me - "By who? You, sergeant?"
Instructor - "Yes"
Me - puts flag at full staff and ties it off
Instructor - "What are you doing"
Me - "I'm following the orders of the SECDEF. If you want the flag at half staff, you do it." Walks away to smoke pit, lights smoke and smiles at the flag being at full staff.

The next day my classroom instructor, a different guy, starts bitching the class out, and points me out and asks if I had deliberately disobeyed a lawful order.

Me - "No, I disobeyed an unlawful order"
Instructor - "He's a MSgt and gave you an order"
Me - "F**k him, he's a lazy c**ksucker who's making up bullshit rules"
Instructor - "He wants to give you an Article 15"
Me - "Tell him I double dog dare him to. Tell him I said he doesn't have any balls if he doesn't do it."
Instructor (shocked) - "You'll sign an Article 15 over this?"
Me - "Nope, I'll demand trial by Courts Martial. I've got a SECDEF message, he's full of sh`t and he knows it"

At this point, the instructor actually started crying and left the room in tears. I'm not exactly the poster child for following rules and regulations, but McGhee Tyson was just the land of the not-quite-right. The amount of crap that just plain didn't make sense was astounding. And every time I wanted to be an ass, all I had to do was follow the AFIs (Air Force Instructions) and I'd be out of compliance with McGhee Tyson regulations, but I'd have the legal backup. It was hilarious.

For the record, the issue about me and the flag was dropped, but the next guy to do it pussied out and put it at half staff for them.
 

KMM696

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McGhee-Tyson NCOA appeared to me to have an inferiority complex over being a Guard NCOA, and reflexively overcompensated in everything they did. I did have a decent instructor, when he was allowed to instruct and not forced to follow their flights of fantasy. We were fortunate that he had been active duty, reserve, reserve technician, guard and then AGR so he could usually understand where our mixed class was coming from.

My favorite moment from there was getting lightning warning-ed out of our 'outdoor exercise period', and getting to watch a hundred or so junior NCOs try to do aerobics for the first time. Wish I had video of THAT.
 

garandman

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We had an E4 in our troop, generally a good soldier who, for some reason, was walking back to the barracks with a glass of milk in his left hand and a sandwich in his right.

As luck would have it, the neighboring Troop Commander was walking by. He was a USMA grad, short, and went ballistic at all kinds of ”machts nichts“ events. The Specialist decided to salute him with his “sandwich hand.” Soo wish I had a camera….

Captain Ballistic starts dressing down this poor kid. He is in my Troop - but not my Platoon. Do I rescue him, or watch the show?

Troop loyalty won out (Didn’t like this Captain anyway). So I walked up, saluted, and stated, “He’s my responsibility, Sir.” He launches into me, to which I reply, “I’ll address it, Sir.” About five times…

Finally, his tiny, angry little body gave out and he left. This same Captain went on to become a West Point TAC - and got relieved.
 

tuna

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We had an E4 in our troop, generally a good soldier who, for some reason, was walking back to the barracks with a glass of milk in his left hand and a sandwich in his right.

As luck would have it, the neighboring Troop Commander was walking by. He was a USMA grad, short, and went ballistic at all kinds of ”machts nichts“ events. The Specialist decided to salute him with his “sandwich hand.” Soo wish I had a camera….

Captain Ballistic starts dressing down this poor kid. He is in my Troop - but not my Platoon. Do I rescue him, or watch the show?

Troop loyalty won out (Didn’t like this Captain anyway). So I walked up, saluted, and stated, “He’s my responsibility, Sir.” He launches into me, to which I reply, “I’ll address it, Sir.” About five times…

Finally, his tiny, angry little body gave out and he left. This same Captain went on to become a West Point TAC - and got relieved.

I once was passing one of our pilots who had both hands full when I was an E4. Normally I'd have been an ass to him, but this Lt was genuinely a good guy and former enlisted, so I popped out a crisp salute and said "Morning Sir, carry on!" to let him know that I wasn't going to be a dick about having my salute returned, and kept walking. Some senior NCO with nothing better to do decided to start busting my chops about my choice of words - the same words that this Lt would have said if he saw me starting to stand up to salute him - thinking I was just being a smart ass. As I kept arguing, the Lt put his stuff down and came over and asked what was going on. The E7 (may have been E8 or E9) started telling him how he was correcting me for being disrespectful, blah blah blah. The Lt begins chewing out the NCO, starting with "First of all, where the hell is YOUR salute?" and then going on an on.

One more episode from before universal cameras, LOL.
 

AntiHippie

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I once was passing one of our pilots who had both hands full when I was an E4. Normally I'd have been an ass to him, but this Lt was genuinely a good guy and former enlisted, so I popped out a crisp salute and said "Morning Sir, carry on!" to let him know that I wasn't going to be a dick about having my salute returned, and kept walking. Some senior NCO with nothing better to do decided to start busting my chops about my choice of words - the same words that this Lt would have said if he saw me starting to stand up to salute him - thinking I was just being a smart ass. As I kept arguing, the Lt put his stuff down and came over and asked what was going on. The E7 (may have been E8 or E9) started telling him how he was correcting me for being disrespectful, blah blah blah. The Lt begins chewing out the NCO, starting with "First of all, where the hell is YOUR salute?" and then going on an on.

One more episode from before universal cameras, LOL.
We rarely had officers around at stations, so it never was much of an issue, but whenever someone made warrant we felt obligated to break their balls about it by any means possible, including making sure to salute any time their hands were full. Otherwise, colors was the only time it was a sincere gesture.

Usually a half hearted salute-like gesture was just non-verbal communication. Either to mean "I'm leaving for the day if you don't stop me now", or an interrogative to mean "okay to leave?" when accompanied by raised eyebrows, or a "it's all yours now" - whether it was duty, the boat, some clusterf*** that you were passing off, or whatever.
 

Andy in NH

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... whenever someone made warrant...
One day I walked into the 2nd Marine Division HQ as a GySgt (E-7), got commissioned and walked out as a brand new CWO-2.

Within minutes I came upon another CWO on the sidewalk, promptly saluted and said, "Good morning sir!"

(Old habits die hard.)

He looked at me quizzically, halfheartedly returned the salute, and trying to stifle his laughter said, "Have a good one dude."

[rofl]
 

Admin

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I was walking out of dental one morning after a mandatory checkup (as a corporal), while walking down the sidewalk to the parking lot I had the rising sun behind me. I see a squid walking towards me in khakis with super shiny blown out gold blurs on his collar, and I could not make out rank to save my life. I said to myself "Derek, no f***ing way you're saluting a chief petty officer.... just play the odds" [smile]

I simply said "Good morning" to the squid and continued walking. He promptly returned a "good morning" back at me. Then as we passed each other I now see it's a LT Commander, and think "Well he must have known the lighting conditions are shit and let this one slide"....

Nope. About two steps past him he barks at me "Hey Marine you don't salute Navy officers!?!?"

I turn quickly towards him, bang out a salute and said "No sir, good morning sir" Literally trying to not to let my grin out, I am pretty sure he could tell I was amused which only made things worse. He then asked for my CO's name and said he would be talking to him.

I saw my CO later that day, told him the story and he said to me "I really hope he calls me" [rofl]

Sadly he did not call my CO.
 

KBCraig

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I was walking out of dental one morning after a mandatory checkup (as a corporal), while walking down the sidewalk to the parking lot I had the rising sun behind me. I see a squid walking towards me in khakis with super shiny blown out gold blurs on his collar, and I could not make out rank to save my life. I said to myself "Derek, no f***ing way you're saluting a chief petty officer.... just play the odds" [smile]

I simply said "Good morning" to the squid and continued walking. He promptly returned a "good morning" back at me. Then as we passed each other I now see it's a LT Commander, and think "Well he must have known the lighting conditions are shit and let this one slide"....

Nope. About two steps past him he barks at me "Hey Marine you don't salute Navy officers!?!?"

I turn quickly towards him, bang out a salute and said "No sir, good morning sir" Literally trying to not to let my grin out, I am pretty sure he could tell I was amused which only made things worse. He then asked for my CO's name and said he would be talking to him.

I saw my CO later that day, told him the story and he said to me "I really hope he calls me" [rofl]

Sadly he did not call my CO.
More proof that no one understands Navy ranks, even the Navy.

I was in my Army Cadet Troop Leadership Training (shadowing an actual Army lieutenant for three weeks), wearing my "Cadet 2nd Lieutenant" rank insignia (one round silver pip), when I was saluted by an Army captain. I always looked a bit older than my age, but he must have thought I was the world's only 21 year old Lt. Col.
 

KMM696

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