A Kindly Air Force T.I. gently suggests an alternative view to a recruit
Hear Pat read this entry
Hear Pat read this entry
The plane ride lasted all night with a couple of stops, I was exhausted and fell asleep within a few minutes. We eventually wound up in another waiting room in San Antonio Texas where a kindly gentleman in Air Force fatigues met us. He was soft spoken and polite, and pointed us to the bus that would take us to Lackland AFB, the basic training center. I'd heard about how tough these guys were supposed to be, but this fellow was downright pleasant. Little did I know that was for the benefit of all the OTHER passengers in the room.
When we arrived at Lackland we were herded into a huge reception room with about 300 or so other recruits. We were advised that our official temporary title was to be “Rainbow” since we were wearing different colored clothes. We were sent outside to await our MTI or “Military Training Instructor,” yet another soft spoken guy named Sgt Howard. He briefed us on what was to be expected for the first week or so, still no yelling or screaming. This wasn't so bad! Then after an initial gear issue of duffel bags we were sent to our barracks, a world war 2 era building near a sports stadium of some kind. After waiting a few minutes, we began to get an idea of what an Air Force T.I. was REALLY like.
Holy crap, what was that? We heard a door slam and a clomp, clomp, clomp as he came up the stairs.
We all jumped up and stood at the closest approximation of attention that we could think of.
“NOWLISTENUPALLOFYOU... MYNAMEISAIRMANFIRSTCLASS MAAAAAAAAANSFIELD, ANDWHILEYOUAREHEREYOUWILL INSTANTLYOBEYEVERYORDERIGIVE. WHEN YOU ADDRESSMEYOUWILLADDRESSMEASSIR... DOYOUUNDERSTAND MEEEEEEEEEEE!!??"
Except for one poor slob we all answered “YES SIR” He forgot the “sir” BAD move! Mansfield's eyes flashed, I swear smoke came out of his ears, his face turned beet red as he got up into the poor guy's face.
“DIDN'TIJUSTTELLYOUTOADDRESSMEASSIR? WHAT'STHEMATTERWITHYOUBOY, CAN'TYOUHEAR? AREYOULOOKINGATMEBOY? DOYOUTHINKI'MPURDYBOY?MAYBEYOUTHINKI'MYOURMAMA! DOYOUTHINKI'MYOURMAMABOY? WELLI'MNOT....GIVE ME 20!!!!! COUNT'EMOFF!!!"
“Sir, one sir, two sir...” and on it went.
I seriously wondered if he hadn't come from some distant planet where they spoke an incomprehensible language, and everybody was near deaf. We were herded outside and given some basic drill instruction.
“Sir, yes sir”
50 boots snapped over the next... oh say 10 seconds.
“WHATTHEHELLWASTHAT??? YOUARETHEMOSTMISERABLE,IGNORANT,SLOPPYBUNCHOFNITWITSI'VEEVERSEEN...GIMMEE 20, COUNT'EMOFF!!!!!!!”
“Sir, one sir, two sir...”
The T.I.s had a special language when it came to counting cadence and facing movements too...
“TEN-HUUUUUUUUUUGGGGH!!!!” Translation: “Attention”
“ABOOOUUUUUU HAAAAAUUUUGGHHHHH!!!!” Translation: ”About Face”
“RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII HAAAAAUUUUGGHHHHH” Translation: “Right Face”
While marching he'd count off the steps, this is as close as an approximation as I can get:
I whispered to Dave “What's he saying?” Dave whispered back “I don't know, just keep walking!”
Basic training had begun.