Yesterday we visited a park here in Romania which was full of all things military! There were fighter jets, tanks, hummers, a victory tower, an obstacle course and more! We had fun, as you can imagine, and I enjoyed reminiscing my days in green (more specifically… my basic training days).
Although I was smiling at these memories, I do clearly remember one rule in particular; smiling in a military formation is not allowed! I am sure that The Eclectic Contrarian and Darrin Dugger can attest to this fact as well.
After being given orders to do push-ups (A.K.A “feed your face”) I learned to put my smile to rest very quickly back then.
Smiling was not the only reason I was ordered to “feed my face”. For my short Drill Sergeant – I was too tall. Then, for my tall Drill Sergeant – I was too short. Whatever the reason, I did what I was told! Basically, if you were instructed to do push-ups, you did them! “Get down and give me 20!” was being shouted out all over the place at everyone for all kinds of reasons. Often, the reasons were contradictory. Does this sound confusing? Well, it wasn’t. It was actually quite simple! You learned to just listen and follow orders, it was that easy.
Basic training was an experience that I am grateful for, and one that I will never forget. It was more than just “following orders and doing push-ups”.
I was taught important life lessons which have helped me to this day:
- Respect for others (especially for your BOSS which was A.K.A. your Drill Sergeant at the time). The military culture lives and breaths respect! The smiling example above was one way of teaching this. Another way was what I call “hurry up and wait” which took place when there was a long stand-still following a massive rush. Many times we had to get into formation with one type of uniform, sometimes even at 2 am, only to be dismissed and asked to return in a different uniform… you actually learned to bite your tongue when you would rather just question the motive behind the rush.
- Never leave your battle buddies and/or teammate(s) behind was taught when the entire running platoon had to turn around for one soldier who fell behind the pack. This happened daily, so it was obviously an important lesson.
- Accountability was expected with any object a soldier was given. Loosing and /or misplacing items (especially the more crucial ones) was just not allowed.
- Punctuality was also hammered into our DNA.
- Health & Fitness played a big part of this culture… naturally!
I have to say, these life lessons helped me so much throughout my entire management career and they are still helping me even now. My Multiple Sclerosis flare-ups are actually better (less often and less severe), I believe, because of the fact that I keep up with my Health & Fitness.
Just to give you a little music to go along with this story, I have enclosed the following cadence.
Besides the obvious two, who else out there has “fed their face” for reasons other than simply being hungry?