Saturday, July 10, 2010

“Handball” USMC Boot Camp -- Part 12

As I said earlier, while the broom stick beatings were taking place the Platoon Commander wasn’t around. However, bright and early the next morning he personally took us out for close order drill (marching). The guys who had been beaten weren’t with us. We marched around the parade ground for a while and when he was marching us back to our platoon area he took a different route. We had no idea where he was taking us until he halted the platoon and then gave us the command to face right. He didn’t say a word for at least a minute. He turned his back to us and just stood there. We were in front of the handball courts.

His earlier warning rang in my head like a bell.  I was sure that we were about to get an object lesson, and I was very sure it was going to be more painful than playing his “air raid” game.

He gave us some commands to peel off by squads and enter the door of one of the fully enclosed courts. He then split us up, two squads on one end and two on the other. He said that on his command we were to trade ends and do it quickly. He produced a whistle and blew it. We all scurried from one side to the other. He yelled that it wasn’t fast enough. Do it again! He blew the whistle. We did this several times. It was getting very hot and humid in there and he wasn’t giving us any time to rest. Again and again, faster and faster.

He finally gave us the ultimatum. If we didn’t change ends in less than 10 seconds we’d regret it. He told us that to get that far in only 10 seconds we’d have to quit being so polite. He wanted us to quit going around each other, and start going through the guy in front of us. It started to get violent. People were doing everything they could to speed it up. People were starting to get hurt. It was so hot and humid now in the court that everybody’s utilities were soaked. We never made it in 10 and he finally gave up. But not without a threat. He said he had another treat in line for us the next day. Crap! The thing about it was he never seemed mad, he acted like he was just doing his job.

The next day after we finished our morning training we were told to change into our PT gear (gym clothes) and report back to the platoon road in formation. We were back out there very quickly.

He said “if you liked playing air raid and handball, you’re going to love today’s game even more!“
“Does anybody know why we’re out here?” He asked.
“Do you mean to tell me that not one of you girls know why we're out here?
More silence…
“Okay, then I’ll tell you! You are out here because you all sat by and let this fucking platoon fall apart! You sat by and did nothing while some slimy pieces of shit were grab assing instead of studying for the practical exams!”

He then made squad one and two line up shoulder to shoulder, one squad on each side of the platoon road. He then made squad three line up behind squad one, and squad four line up behind squad two. He said we would have only 5 seconds to exchange sides. The road was much more narrow than the handball court. We were standing shoulder to shoulder and there was no room at all to squeeze between the recruits on the other side.

We all knew what was expected of us, and when the whistle blew all hell broke loose. The sounds of bodies slamming against each other, sounded like we were at a football game. It took about five tries, but we finally made it happen quickly. But not before there were several minor injuries and bloodied faces.

He got us back in formation and marched us out to the parade ground. He then told us to take a knee and pay close attention to what he was going to say. He asked us who was missing from this ordeal. The names of the guys who caused all this by playing cards instead of studying were mentioned. He said no, and asked us if there was anybody else. Nobody knew what he was talking about. After a few minutes he said he was going back to the duty hut and when we figured it out, and figured out how to take care of the problem ourselves, the platoon guide would march us back to the platoon area. He turned and left us there alone...

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