Green Acres

Everybody who’s ever served usually has a personal basic training story. I have a few and I already posted one of them. This one is all about me…and my favorite Drill Sergeant…let’s just get right to the opening scene, shall we?

DRILL SERGEANT: Where are you from, Private?

ME: Wisconsin, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: So you’re a farmer.

ME: No, Drill Sergeant! I grew up in Milwaukee, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: So you’re calling me a liar, Private?

ME: No, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: Good! I’m glad we agree Private Dazeodrew! You’re a farmer. I’m going to call you Green Acres!

ME: Yes, Drill Sergeant!

So from that point on, I was called Green Acres for the rest of basic training. For some reason, that particular Drill Sergeant took a personal interest in me. It wasn’t all bad, but it definitely had its moments. Like the unspoken agreement we had that whenever he looked at me, I dropped and gave him twenty push-ups…and he looked at me a lot! He would also screw around with me, like, for example, in the mess hall line. He was walking along the line and looked at me. I dropped and began to do the push-ups.

DRILL SERGEANT: What are you doing, Green Acres?

ME (grunting a little as I pushed): I’m doing my push-ups, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: In the mess hall line? Get up, Green Acres. (I jumped up)>

ME: Yes, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: Did you do twenty?

ME: No, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: So I guess you owe me forty next time I look at you.

ME: Yes, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: I’m looking at you, Green Acres…

He liked to be deceptive that way. But like I said, it wasn’t all bad. He was a different man whenever we were learning things. He was patient, took the time to figure out the problem, and was a steady teacher. For me, he was Jeckl and Hyde. I would get something right and he would joyfully pat me on the back as if I were his son. Then we would celebrate with me doing push-ups. It was a very consistent relationship we had with each other.

I did more push-ups during that period then I had done my entire life prior to Basic Training. I always could do a lot of push-ups, but my skinny frame was deceptive about that fact. I just never looked the part of a push-up pushing guy. I would push and push and push, but my skinny muscles would just get harder, not bigger. I seemed to have a Barney Fife body that could do Andy Griffith things. It was weird for all of us.

Went I went on to advanced training, we swapped out Drill Sergeants. The new ones were a little more relaxed and the environment was more about learning rather than push-ups. Oh, we still did our fair share, but I didn’t have to drop every time I was looked at.

When they finally gave us a weekend off, I decided to take a walk around post. Fort Leonard Wood intrigued me and being so new to the army, I wanted to get a better feel of it. I was walking past my old building when I heard my, um, name.

DRILL SERGEANT: Hey! Green Acres! (I automatically dropped to the ground out of habit).

ME: Yes, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: Get up, get up.

ME (jumping up and waiting for the deceptive part): Yes, Drill Sergeant!

DRILL SERGEANT: At ease, relax man. You’re not in Basic anymore.

ME: I didn’t want to risk it with you, Drill Sergeant. (This made him smile).

DRILL SERGEANT: You want to know why I rode you so hard, Private Dazeodrew? (He actually used my name…I was confused and wary).

ME: Um, sure, Drill Sergeant… (I had my own theories…)

DRILL SERGEANT: Because I could tell that you were smart, I just thought you needed a little more upper body strength. That’s it.

ME: Yes, Drill Sergeant. (He could tell I didn’t fully believe him).

DRILL SERGEANT: I’ll make it up to you. Tonight you’re coming over to have dinner with me and my wife. Do you like beer n’ brats?

All was immediately forgiven… I had a great time and he had a great family. The man I visited with was the man that showed up when we were learning things. He was kind, patient, loving to his wife and kids, and turned out to be someone I could easily make friends with. He also made the brats the right way.

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