Monday, February 6, 2012

Tales from the Trail 2: Nothing Else Holds Fashion

I want to tell you another story from my years as a drill sergeant. But before I can tell you that story...well, it's more a sort of extended joke, really...I have to tell you this one.

The thing is that USAR once had something like a dozen or so entire "divisions" largely composed of noncommissioned officers, many of whom had never been on active service and who had been trained in a Reserve Component "leadership academy", as drill sergeants. I was in one of them, the old "Timberwolf" 104th Division scattered in the Northwest.

I like to think that I was a decent - not great, but decent - hat. A lot of RC hats had...issues...but that's really another story, and not a particularly humorous one.Anyway. Here's the odd thing about the way the Army used to train drill sergeants back in my day.

(And keep in mind the Army kept telling you that getting under the Hat was this big fat hairy deal and it how made you that much more of this high-speed leader of men.)

A hell of a lot of the training consisted of just flat out memorizing these little spiels - called "formats" - for drill and ceremonies and physical training.

Because at the time the drill sergeants in Basic did little of the actual tactical and almost none of the technical training. Range cadre taught Joe and Molly how to shoot, various specialty training cadre taught the commo and first aid and NBC and the rest. I have no idea if that's still the case. But it was then.All the hats did was pretty much use these little formats to teach Joe and Molly how to march and how to exercise, and then babysat them at all other times, and that was pretty much that.

So to become a drill sergeant - at least in the USAR, at least in my time - you had to be absolutely word-perfect in delivering these little "format" speeches.

They were all of a thing; an introduction, a description of the exercise or the drill position or movement, and a demonstration. For example, the one for the position of attention went something like this:
"Platoon, attention! At ease! I am SSG Blank and for the next XX minutes I will be your primary instructor on the position of attention. The position of attention is the base position for all stationary and marching movements. At this time I will talk my demonstrator through the position of attention. Demonstrator, post! You will assume the position of attention on the command FALL IN or the command Squad (platoon), ATTENTION. To assume this position, bring the heels together sharply on line, with the toes pointing out equally, forming an angle of 45 degrees. Rest the weight of the body evenly on the heels and balls of both feet. Keep the legs straight without locking the knees. Hold the body erect with the hips level, chest lifted and arched, and the shoulders square. Keep the head erect and face straight to the front with the chin drawn in so that alignment of the head and neck is vertical..."
There was a ton more of that crap, but you get the idea. You actually had to say all that stuff exactly like that, in that exact order, and you got gagged if you couldn't.

It seemed like a silly way to train "leaders" to me at the time and still does, but if I had one skill as a soldier it was learning to do what the Army wanted me to do so I did.

We memorized and recited formats for all the exercises in Field Manual 21-20, and for all the drill in Field Manual 22-5. These two GSA-paper-bound, camo-printed bibles were the Old and New Testaments for drill sergeants back when I was eager to become one, and we were told that all that was considered worth knowing was contained within their pages.

That was what we were told.

But we knew, as you all know, as every living adult knows intimately and perfectly well, there is more to life than physical fitness and military drill and ceremonies.

Sometimes, there must be romance.

Sometimes, there most be passion, the mad, heated passions that make men and women into ravening beasts, that awake the dark heats of lust that burn unslaked beneath the crispest shirtfront and frilliest blouse.

And, fortunately, there are drill sergeants there to take these untamed passions and turn them into a format. And drill sergeant candidates with time on their hands, sex on their minds, and the experience in the TRADOC format to use one to develop a format for the other.

So in case you do not know how to do this or wish to bring your performance up to Army standards, here is the officially approved 104th Division (Training) format for what we designated as "the Four-Count Hump", circa 1993.

Platoon, atten-SHUN!

At ease.

I am Drill Sergeant Lawes, and for the next twenty minute block of instruction I will be your primary instructor on the exercise known as the Four-Count Hump. This exercise is used to entertain troops not in formation as well as, when required, populate the United States inclusive of Alaska and Hawaii. It is a four-count exercise performed at a slow to fast cadence. The equipment required for this exercise include a partner and a roughly level portion of terrain.

I will now use my demonstrators to demonstrate one repetition of the exercise.

Demonstrators, POST!.

Not that in this case my demonstrators are one each male and female. Performing this exercise using two each male or two each female personnel is currently not authorized by Army Regulations or FM 21-20, however, I am informed that the Department of the Army is in the process of preparing a revision to these regulations so be advised that this information is subject to change.

My demonstrators have assumed the positions for the "conventional" or "missionary" variation of this exercise. This is the most common variation and is often exclusively used by personnel unfamiliar with the exercise or their partners. This variation is not the only variation authorized by Army Regulations, however, certain variations should not be attempted without the presence of safety personnel and a trained aidman on site.You will note that my female demonstrator has assumed a supine position. Her head and neck are erect, her shoulders square, her chest and back upright. She may place her arms at her sides or up to forty-five degrees from her torso. Her knees are bent and her feet approximately shoulder width apart.

My male demonstrator has assumed the front leaning rest position. His head is erect and faces his partner, his arms straight with his elbows locked and his entire body is in a line from his shoulders to his ankles. He may arch his back or sag in the middle but will return to the starting position before performing this exercise.

Now you will note that for demonstration purposes my demonstrators are wearing PT uniform. However, the actual performance of this exercise is done while wearing no clothing, or minimal attire consistent with the intent of the exercise. You will also note that to correctly perform this exercise the male personnel are required to maintain their penile assembly in the fully extended and locked position. Failure to do this will result in unsatisfactory performance of this exercise.At this time my demonstrators will perform one repetition of this exercise.

On the count of "one" my male demonstrator will begin the exercise by bending his elbows and lowering his entire body as a single unit until his upper arms are at least parallel to the ground. During this movement the penile assembly is inserted into the female personnel's vaginal housing unit. At the completion of the first count of the exercise the baseplate of the penile assembly should be firmly seated against the vaginal locking ring.Note that the female demonstrator is allowed to raise her hips up to eight inches from the ground surface and may make lateral motions up to four inches to either side during this count.

Ready. ONE.

On the count of "two". my male demonstrator will return to the starting position by raising his entire body until his arms are fully extended with the elbows locked. His body must remain rigid in a generally straight line and move as a unit while performing this count. My female may return her body to a fully supine position at this time.

Ready. TWO.

On the count of three my demonstrators will repeat the actions of count one.Ready. THREE.

On the count of four my demonstrators will repeat the actions of count two.Ready. FOUR.

At this time you will sound off with "Oh GOD!" and the number of the repetition. If you fail to keep your body generally straight, to ensure full contact between the baseplate of the penile assembly and the vaginal locking ring, lower your whole body until your upper arms are at least parallel to the ground, or to extend your arms completely, that repetition will not count.At this time what are your questions concerning the Four-Count Hump?

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