User Story #2834

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There’s a lot of stories about Drill Sergeants that are funny, acurate and ultimately fucking up privates. This isn’t like that, this is a story about how one showed a young private (me) some simple gestures of humanity and kindness.

I had just finished my home town recruiting gig and didn’t have money for a plane ticket to my first duty station. So I bought a bus ticket. All the belongings I had were with me in my duffel, ready to start a new chapter in my life. So I rode the bus in uniform and after 16 miserable hours on a bus fending off people begging me for money and having the bus stopped several times for different people doing drugs or drinking in the bathroom of the bus, I finally made it to Louisville, Kentucky.

It was 4 AM, I was tired and I looked at my paperwork. I hadn’t gotten a sponsor yet, and the only number I had was for staff duty. To be fair, as a new private, I didn’t know that it was a 24 hour duty, so I figured I had to wait till 0600 to call someone to ask them to pick me up. So I made a little area for myself, sat down on the floor, and waited.

A Drill Sergeant came up to me, and when I noticed I jumped up and snapped to parade rest. He told me to go at ease, and asked me what the hell I was doing at the bus station at 4 AM. I told him I was here to report to my first unit, and didn’t have a ride. He asked about my sponsor, told him I didn’t have one. He asked the unit, and he hadn’t heard it. He was originally there to drop a troop off on emergency leave, and was headed back. Instead of leaving me to fend for myself, he told me to grab my gear and jump into his car.

The car ride was uncomfortable as hell. I was used to being yelled at all the time but here was this E-7 DS that was just talking to me, asking me about life, what I thought of the military so far. I answered respectfully, and sat at attention because I didn’t know what the hell to do.

Over the hour long car ride, he told me to relax and started telling me funny stories about privates and basic training. He told me what I already knew, that it was a mind game and a lot of the stuff they do on purpose because they want to teach a lesson about it.

The DS dropped me off at staff duty after riding around base looking for the building. I later found out that it’s because the unit I had been assigned had just been activated and moved from Germany. I was one of 50 people in the unit. He wished me luck, made sure I got signed in and took me to the DFAC so I could eat when it opened.

If it wasn’t for him, I’m sure it would’ve been a lot different trying to get on post. Instead, he showed some kindness and some compassion to a new boot private looking lost in a city he didn’t know, and took the initiative to make sure I was taken care of regardless that I wasn’t his troop nor his problem. It gave me a good taste in my mouth for the Army until now. Even though I’m leaving after almost 9 years of service on a medboard, that story always gave me respect and a desire to be a DS.

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