“You Don’t Have A F***** Thing To Say About It!!!”

Ahhh, army training, army messaging, army discipline. Some memories just stay with you, forever.

For instance, the corporal (could have been a general for all we raw recruits knew) who swore he couldn’t hear us as we screamed answers inches from his face. Does alcohol make you deaf and dumb?

Being called a dummy by the sergeant because my ‘steel pot’ (helmet) was backwards (excuse me, inexperienced and nervous), it stuck with me all these years as a reminder to check myself with one last glance in the mirror before leaving the house. Getting noticed by sergeants now.

But being told by the Senior Drill Sergeant that I ‘didn’t have a f****** thing to say about it’, after I was asked my opinion, well, that still brings a chuckle as I recall the exact moment.

That Senior Drill Sergeant’s assertion, that I ‘didn’t have an effin thing to say about anything’, just shut up and do as I’m told, is seared in my memory. He didn’t say that last part, but I was good at reading between the lines. i knew what he meant and took his ‘advice’ seriously.

And it worked well, army training, with that understanding. The military wasn’t built for opinions. It was built for action. There’s no time to debate. All discussions about any and every issue had gone on years before I came along. The rules work best when people react instantly to appropriate orders.

Strangely, when the training portion of my military service was completed, I realized, begrudgingly maybe, that it’s probably not a bad idea for a young man to have a brief period in his life when he has nothin’ to say about nothin’. Just do as you’re told. I think it fits into the broad category the army would call ‘discipline’.

Growing up and getting older teaches some of the same lessons but the army was kind enough to teach the condensed version.

I still check my appearance before leaving the house each day, making sure my ‘gig line’ conforms. The edge of my shirt, belt buckle and pant zipper must all be in alignment with each other: APPEARANCE! The corners of my bed sheets need to be tight and tucked, daily: ORDER! The area around my house is clean of any piece of scrap: CLEANLINESS! My shoe laces are still laid ‘left over right: UNIFORMITY! Above all, follow the rules:.CONFORMITY!

Yes, a substantial dose of discipline at an early age can have a positive effect for a lifetime. I just never understood, ‘hurry up and wait’*…

* anyone with military experience gets this

Steve B

To anyone with military training.

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Retired in 2013 after 5 years as an elementary school teacher and 40 years as a sales representative to begin anew as a school crossing guard. SMy essays/stories are a way to communicate through the telling of personal experiences. One reader said about my blog stories, "...these are like a cold sip during a marathon run, simple, real life events". Another offered about my blog, “it brings some sense of normalcy not easily found in the modern world.”

26 thoughts on ““You Don’t Have A F***** Thing To Say About It!!!””

  1. Hi Steve, The Marine Corps was always so different. Sgt. Crowe at OCS in Quantico always asked our opinions. Not! He had left the Army and signed on with USMC because of how the Army cared for casualties in Korea. He was the first to salute me when I got my commission. I gave him one dollar. USMC tradition! Interesting times! Jim Murdock



    Liked by 3 people

  2. And the memories comes at the time, when they want too, not when you decided. I would like to learn to control my thoughts, but it seems impossible

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Some good lessons there, SR. I never served – just missed the compulsory two years because apprentices were deferred from 18 to 21, by which time it had been discontinued. However, I did join the ACF (Army Cadet Force) at school. And, of course, back in those days, you learned a lot of that stuff in school. I’m guessing kids don’t any more, which is a shame.
    We also had opportunities for discussion in class where we earned how to frame an argument rather than respond with name calling. Another lesson that a lot of people seem to have missed out on.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Steve, your post was amusing although I am sure it was quite overwhelming at the time it occurred. I do believe in discipline and the lack of it is one of the biggest issues in our modern time. Discipline and respect go hand-in-hand.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said, Robbie. Funny thing, I found that while going through the training period, others and I didn’t like it. But while gathered around the beer table years later, we seemed to remember the funny things for the most part. I’m sure for those who experience actual combat, it’s an entirely different experience. Thanks for your comment, Robbie. Have a great day!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve not experienced in the same capacity as you or men that served but got the condensed version being raised by and army sergeant and a mother who was raised under the Hitler regime. We called her the General. We were brought up with strict discipline and to this day still keep things clean and tidy with military corners on the beds. We didn’t question anything in those days. That’s one habit I didn’t keep. I went from Army brat to Army wife. It was a very familiar life and somewhat hard to let go of when it was done. The lessons were good though.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There are good…and bad…lessons in all aspects of our lives, wouldn’t you agree. We’re the filters that de use which is which. I always thought, since I vacance an adult I should say, that introducing some discipline in a young person’s life is not necessarily bad. By discipline, I suppose I would mean knowing the diff between right and wrong. I didn’t mean to get philosophical in my story, it was just a snippet of one of my life’s experiences. Thank you so much for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I fully agreed with you though I obviously didn’t make that clear. I learned those lessons and they made me strong and honest. I passed them on to my children. Even though I was not active military, I learned so much from it. As I grew, I appreciated it more.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I have no military training, but I do abide by the idea that just because something happens does not mean that I have to have an opinion about it. You’d be surprised how many people find that idea disconcerting. Well, having been in the military, you wouldn’t…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ll try to interpret. If you’re saying that I wouldn’t find it odd if you did not have an opinion, you’d be right. Conversely, it wouldn’t be odd to have one, either. If someone reacts to my simple stories, that’s great. If not, no problem. But I have noticed that I have not reacted to yours and I need to do some catching up because your titles are attractive. Thanks for replying to me, Ally. Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You bet I get this!! And I’m the proud wife and mother; hubby and son in the Navy. I think boot camp is good for every young person. It is really life skills. Boot camp is far more than most people realize. Before I get too philosophical, I remember going to the movies with hubby to see “An Officer and a Gentleman.” He said, “Oh my God, every word the DI said was exactly what I heard from my DI.” And he learned more about honesty, goodness, giving, bravery…. long list. So, I know second hand the benefits of work ethic and so much more from “ You Don’t Have a F’in Thing To Say About It.” My favorite? Ship, Shipmate, Self. That’s the order of priorities. Thank you for a great post, Steve.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jennie, that’s my Drill Sergeant hat (Smokey Bear hat) in the picture, awarded after 6 weeks at US Army Drill Sergeant Academy at Fort Ord, CA (no longer there) in Monterrey, CA. It sits atop my file cabinet and my wife asks why I keep it around, anymore. If you haven’t earned one, then you don’t know why. A good Drill Sergeant is a good teacher besides
      all the other stuff. But, back to my theme, a little taste of discipline never hurt anyone. Thanks for your comments, Jennie. I salute you. Now, ‘Fall out!’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your hat. Drill Sergeant! am so proud of you, Steve! Earning one is a very big deal! The whole character piece is incredibly important, and that’s what brings what you do to life at the crosswalk. Yes, a good Drill Sergeant is definitely a good teacher. And I will now fall out, “Sir, yes sir!”

        Liked by 2 people

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