Chapter 2: Sleep, Sweet Sleep
“Many of you were selfish. You wanted to get some sleep instead of breaking up the fight. That is how people get killed overseas.” – Drill Sergeant Riley
2100. Lights out. Every hour during lights out there has to be two people up at all times, patrolling around the sleeping quarters. This was known as the fireguard. I was laying on the top bunk, on the bottom was my battle buddy, Russell, a devout muslim.
Now you may laugh at the term, “battle buddy”, but let me explain it to you. Anytime in basic training you had to go somewhere to do anything, you had to have a battle buddy with you. This habit is developed so that when you are overseas, you will always have someone covering your back. The application to it stateside is that if something happens (i.e. sexual harassment, an injury, etc.) your battle buddy is there to witness it and to assist you. Once you graduate basic training and advance training, you don’t really need a battle buddy anymore. If you aren’t at some sort of military training school (airborne, ranger, air assault) then you are assigned to a unit, where you gain the status of “permanent party”. This means that you are treated like a fellow soldier, and you do not need a battle buddy with you. You are allowed to be more independant, just as long as you get your tasks done.
Anyway, my battle buddy, Russell, was passed out in his “rack” (we call beds racks in the army). The fireguards on duty were the top two most unwanted soldiers – I say unwanted because practically our whole platoon hated them. Their names were Brown and Edmund. They were black, and from Georgia. They had come from a rather racist neighborhood, and clearly had some gang related incidents as well as possible problems with the law. These guys weren’t all that bad, until you try to correct them when they don’t ask for it. In basic, you have to have an open mind and never take things personally. People correct one another because drill sergeants punish you as a team, not an individual. If one person fucks up, you’re all gonna get fucked up.
Edmund was walking around the bay (see picture above) and was shining around his flash light, annoying the fuck out of us. One of the guys (forgot his name, starts with a Mc) told him to shut it off and cut it out. Mind you, Edmund and this other guy are two big dudes. So Edmund walks up to his bunk and starts shining the light in his face. They exchange some trash talking, and Edmund slaps him on the head. This guy jumps outta bed, and they start a brawl. There is very little lighting in the bay, so we see glimpses of swings thrown, and all sorts of commotion. I jump out of bed to go break it up, then all of a sudden the light turns on. We all scurry away like a bunch of rats, back into our bed, from the two men fighting in the center. Drill Sergeant Riley, the drill sergeant who is famous for cruel punishments, walks in with a smug look on his face. He tells us all to go outside and line up for formation. It is 2145.
We all get out of bed, and prepare to go downstairs. All of a sudden, I see the Mc dude headbutt Edmund in his face, busting his lip up. Edmund throws a swing at him, Mc ducks underneath that one, then Edmund throws an uppercut and sends Mc into the air, landing flat on his back, knocked out. Edmund then squats over Mc (who is now on the ground unconscious) punches him again in the head, and walks away. One of the kids in our bay, we call him Froot Loop because he’s such a sissy, runs out screaming, “CALL THE AMBULANCE DRILL SERGEANT!” The Drill Sergeant comes upstairs, and we all go downstairs to the outside area and wait in formation. What happened there is for another post to come.
This all happened two days before graduation. What the fuck.