Sunday, September 04, 2005

True Stories of Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator's Army Days

I went in the Army in August 1989 after high school. My Basic Training was in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and after about a week in the induction center, myself and all of the other new recruits were bussed to our new units to begin training. Drill Sergeant Gallimore got on the bus with us and immediately everyone quieted down. The first thing he said when the bus stopped was "Well, I reckon." That's all I heard as I was nearest the door and exited the bus doubletime. That wouldn't be the last time we heard that phrase.

Drill Sergeant Gallimore wasn't the same type of DI that you see in movies, he wasn't huge, he wasn't always yelling. He did, however, have a crazy look in is eye and a knack for mixing up serious instruction with a little crazy humor. He was a Marine in Vietnam and spent his post-Vietnam career getting promoted and busted back (allegedly). At some point, he got out or the Corps, joined the Army and evidently did pretty much the same thing there.

At chowtime, he would calmly sit down with his food and coffee and chat with the other Drills, but when he was done, he would stand up and say "Well, I reckon" and 61 "Yardbirds" would scramble to dump their trays and head out to form up.

Drill Sergeant Gallimore would often take one of the Private's hats and put it on when Drill Sergeant Hall had us gathered around for instructions. He would poke his head into the circle of recruits with the dopiest look on his face, forcing Hall to try to continue the lecture without laughing.

One of his favorite phrases was "This ain't Arby's! This ain't 'Have it your way!'" As many of you know, "Have it your way" was in Burger King commercials.

He also had a very particular way of speaking. It is impossible to describe, but I soon gained the ability to mimic it very well. Many of the other recruits were often humored by hearing me yell "No, stupid" and "Move it, yardbird." exactly like Gallimore. There was even a point where all of the Drill Sergeants in the company wanted us to step forward and impersonate them if we could, the whole platoon wanted me to do it. I would have, but I had lost my voice at that point and couldn't affect Gallimore's unique vocal characteristics.

So we were nearing the completion of Basic Training and Drill Sergeant Hall was in our barracks late, taping numbers to our helmets for our common task testing that we had the next day when someone asked a dumb question. I replied in perfect Drill Sergeant Gallimore "No stupid! Get out of here, yardbird!"

Drill Sergeant Hall stopped dead in his tracks, the platoon got very quiet as he looked around and asked "Who said that?"

I was going to do pushups for the impression, I was sure of it. I wasn't going to let the rest of the company get in trouble for me, though. Ready to face my punishment, I stepped forward and said "I did, Drill Sergeant."

"Damn," Said Drill Sergeant Hall. "You sound just like Gallimore." And he went back to taping numbers on helmets.


FattyPants said...

hi, michele sent me :)

Easy said...

Hi. Michele sent me, sort of.

You have just described precisely why I did NOT enlist back in 1980.

Yaeli said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I was in the area and thought I pop by and check yours out.
:o) Have a great day!

Captain Typho said...

I did my Basic Training at Ft. Jackson also. That was December 1996- January '97.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Fattypants, Easy and Yaeli, thanks for visting, though Easy, I don't know how posting my experieince of one Drill liking my impression of another Drill would be "Exactly the reason" you didn't join when there are probably many others...

Cap'n Typho, you were enlisted first? They generally make better officers ;-) Commo or transportation?

Captain Typho said...

Typho is an officer, but I was a Sergeant. My MOS was 46Q (journalist/photojournalist).


goods posting?

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

That's right, Cap'n, I now remember saying that you were a photojournalist in your intro.

hough I did add the ;-) when I said you were prior enlisted. I was hoping that you caught that.