Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Favorite Army Story

So, here I was already a phase 5a (read five alpha) soldier* and I had a weekend pass. I had been put on duty (sit in the hallway), but I had it covered. I was planning on coming back to cover my shift which was in the afternoon on Sunday. I figured no one would notice anything as long as the shift was covered. Well, I was wrong, One of the drill sergeants apparently noticed that I was both scheduled for duty and going away on a weekend pass.

So, I showed up to my shift and there were three of us there. Gail Matolkowski and Danielle Burton** and myself, of course. Burton was a phase 5 not  alpha who was asked by that on the ball drill sergeant, Drill Sergeant T., our female drill sergeant who was actually attached to my platoon, really she wasn't around much because she was going back and forth with her ex-husband who actually taught in the school, but not my job, another job in our company, though. Remember, I was in school for my job training. Anyhow, We called Gail by her first name because I was the only one who could pronounce her long Polish last name. There are a number of Polish persons in Buffalo, so I was accustomed. So Gail was the one person who was without a doubt on the shift. There was no disputing that. However, she asked if we would cover for her phase 4 self so she could go and buy necessities. I felt sorry for her because I knew it was hard to get out when you are phase 4. Actually, it wasn't hard when I was phase 4, but that's another story.

Time was passing and here Burton and I were on duty wondering what was up. Eventually, we realized that our six hour shift (noon to 6pm) was almost over and this girl still hadn't shown back.  So, just after five o'clock, I dragged Burton down the hall to talk to Drill Sergeant N. with me. She was unsure. I assured her, "so, I'll do the talking, just come since I need a battle buddy to talk the drill sergeant."

What she didn't know was that I knew this drill sergeant respected me as a phase 5a soldier. I had been there for a while at this point. Actually, I was already finished with school being held over for a physical training test that I couldn't even take because I had some serious injuries. I had problems with my shoulder and both of my ankles. I actually still have these problems today, although, they are much better.

"Drill Sergeant," I started, "so I was scheduled for CQ*** with Phase four Private Matolkowski. Private Burton here was kind enough to do her a favor and offer to cover for her so that she could get some shampoo and soap from the store. She felt sorry for her. She left just after noon taking advantage of the good nature of a phase five soldier. While I know you don't have to care, however, I thought I would point out that she is scheduled to come back on at 9pm tonight for another shift." (This was normal when you were phase four, you pulled two to three times the duty of the phase fives and why we cut her some slack.) "I just thought I would tell you this, Drill Sergeant, in case you wanted to make sure she worked extra hard after a phase five soldier covered her shift and she hasn't even worked all day."

Drill Sergeant N. replied, "Oh, don't worry, she'll be working hard!" with a big smile on his face. We got off duty at 6pm and she still wasn't back, but Drill Sergeant N. was right there at the desk by the entrance just WAITING and WATCHING for her.

Did I mention that Private Gail Matolkowski was under 21? Well, she was! This is important because apparently, she scampered off to the post's bar, Sports Co. for some alcohol. Tsk, tsk, tsk! She came in drunk. While normally, a drill sergeant on duty was off in the back room probably sleeping, like I said, drill sergeant was looking for her! Since she was phase four and under 21#, she got slapped with two weeks of extra duty and had money taken out of her pay, not to mention, it went on her record.

Now, before you get mad at me, realize that she only got caught breaking the rules because of me. If she hadn't come in drunk, she would have just had to scrub the floors on her next shift instead of sitting at the desk in the hall doing nothing. Although, it's true that if I hadn't said anything, drill sergeant would have probably been sleeping and she wouldn't have gotten caught, it's entirely possible that he would have been there or caught on that she was drunk on her other shift. It's also entirely possible that she would have been ratted out by someone else since she was just at the bar on post which was adjacent to the bowling alley... oh and we alll frequented it.

*phase 1 to 3 are in basic training, phase 4 is the first 4 weeks of your job training, phase 5 is after that and phase 5a is I don't remember how many weeks after phase 5. However, it is important to note that phase 5a soldiers have been there the longest and have a certain amount of respect. After phase 5a is permanent party.

**Not their real names.

***CQ stands for Charge of Quarters, this is another name for duty.

# It's against the rules to drink from phase 1 to 4 in the Army. Furthermore, the drinking age in the Army is 21, no matter what state you are in or I should say was, as I've been out for a while and things could have changed.


  1. I recall your AIT was a lot longer than mine, though we never talked about phase 4 or 5 except that overnight passes were only permitted in the last two weekends before graduation.

    I don't know if I would have considered drinking, though I imagine it would only be permitted if you were in civilian clothes.

  2. Sounds like you have a strong sense of fairness and people getting what they deserve. Then you saw that not happening in the FFB world. You probably saw in Kohelet the other day, the injustice was too much for King Solomon too.

    Did you have any problems in the army as an above-average-attractiveness female, or did the guys (gals?) play by the rules?

  3. What do you mean problems? I had free meals because men would pay since I was pretty. I had marriage proposals... Actually, I had a drill sergeant who would drop the girls (any girl, not just me) when we were in our civilian clothes and then he would get in our face, but really he was trying to look down our shirts. The uniform was too high. I held my shirt in my mouth and he recovered me. He never dropped me in my civies again. I definately had a LOT of fun when I was in the Army ;-)

  4. '...was pretty' don't say was. i'm sure you still look fine.