Another stirling moment in bootcamp!


Let’s see, what bit of trivia do I want to talk about now? How about a little shortie?
We were well into my eight weeks of bootcamp. For those of you who ever served, I know you’re going to know what I mean. The rest of you, well, just wing it. You’ll catch on by the time you get to the end. Anyway, back to the story. We had started to really get the hang of marching as a platoon. Like all platoons, we made up a lot of songs that we sang as we marched. The singing made it easier to maintain the cadance so noone got out of step. We had some pretty talented women in my platoon so some of our songs were really catching. It took us a while to realize as a platoon there was a lot of rivalrie between the D.I.’s. So naturally, we all got caught up in the spirit of things. Sgt. Westfall marched us in front of the Batalion Commander’s building while we sang and marched so the Batallion Commander could hear us sing and watch us march at every opportunity. We could do our to the rears and left and right flanks really well. We had a bunch of other maneuvers which we were also really good at but I can’t remember now what they were called. Of course thirty “+” years is a long time to remember such things.
Anyway, we had this little guide-on bearer that was just at the limit for height. She was so short that when you watched us march by, it looked like the “flag” was floating along beside our platoon if you weren’t standing in the right place. Anyway, one day we were doing one of show off marches for the Colonel and Sgt. Westfall told us to do a “to the rear march.” The whole platoon performed the manuever and started marching the other direction. Now when we made this maneuver, that meant the guide-on bearer would be marching at our rear instead of out front in the lead. We had gone quite a ways the other direction when Sgt. Westfall put her finger to her mouth in a shush gesture and whispered very softly, “to the rear march.” We were all pretty surprised but by now knew better than to show our surprise. So we excuted her command. Now before I say any more I need to make a clarification. When you are marchig and you approach an obstacle, you continue your approach unless a command is given otherwise. As the lead members get to the wall they begin something called a “mark time.” That’s just a fancy name for “marching in place.” As each succeeding row reaches the row in front of them they again do the same thing until finally the entire platoon is marching in place. So keeping this in mind let’s continue my story. We were given a hushed to the rear march. When we completed our maneuver we saw the guide-on bearer all the way down at the other end of the field holding the banner and doing a mark time in front of a wall. She apparently had not heard the original to the rear march command. We all wanted to laugh so bad but we knew better. That could have been any one of us. And we also knew if we laughed, Sgt. Westfall would find some interesting way to help us remember the next time we needed to keep our composure. We silently marched toward the wall. Several feet away, Sgt. Westfall had the rest of the platoon do a mark time. We stayed in that position for several more minutes and then Sgt. Westfall started asking the guide-on bearer some questions. I don’t even remember what she said now but you could tell the poor woman was beginning to realize something wasn’t right! But to her credit, she didn’t turn her head and look back until the D.I. told her to stop and do an about face. Her face was scarlet. The whole platoon was doing everything it could not to laugh. Even Sgt. Westfall had to work hard to keep her usual stony expression. But, her eyes gave her away. Finally she let the poor girl off the hook and made her run over and join the rest of the platoon. She did so with the banner in perfect postion and assumed her position at the front corner of the platoon with great poise and dignity! Later that night during our free time, we all had a good laugh after we told her the whole story.

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~ by devildog6771 on December 12, 2004.

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