18 September, 2007

Inspection of in the Wall Locker

Discovered this gem of a story in the comments at Neptunus Lex:

I can still remember many things about AOCS [Aviation Officer Candidate School]. Running on the beach in combat boots in August, poopy suits, Gunnery Sergeant Bodine, being “encouraged” by the DI’s [Drill Instructor's] stick on the O-Course, even being evacuated in the face of Hurricane Camille and watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon on the Batt III TV. It’s hard to believe, but my experience in AOCS was in 1969, almost 40 years ago.

One of the most humiliating experiences, at the time, seems funny now: RLP’s are frequent and nasty, room-locker-personnel inspections. During one such RLP, I was in my assigned room with my 3 roommates, each of us assigned to our own task of preparation (if one person did the same thing for all four of us, folded skivvies and polished brass would be the same for all four… a good thing).

My job was the wall locker (closet, for civilians). We had two, and I made certain all buttons were buttoned, zippers zipped, and everything hanging straight and in the perfect center of their hangers. We had a DI who carried a cane, and he would announce himself by banging it on the door frame of each room. We could, therefore, judge how far down the passageway he was from our room = how much time we had to get “wired up.”

This particular day, he was at the far end… giving us ample time, or so we all thought. To our surprise and my sheer terror, our door slammed open as he banged his cane. The door swung open, trapping me in the wall locker! DI Armstrong commenced to swear and tear my room-mates apart verbally, demanding to know my whereabouts. After many loud outbursts and too much time for me standing in the closet at attention, the DI opened the [closet] door.

Ready for the inevitable tirade and obligatory PT in the sandpit, I said, “going up, sergeant?”

And then it did begin…