The Instructors

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The Instructors

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For those who teach the strong and the brave.


They call it the Brotherhood of War. For U.S. Army First Sergeant Bill Dexter that was more than just a saying. As a Drill Sergeant it was his job to take the raw material of incoming recruits and turn them into soldiers. He had come to love his work. For the past nine years Dexter had always put his trainees first. During that time, he had tried to instill his Junior Drill Sergeants the same drive. To him the Drill Sergeants Creed was more than just a moto, it was a sacred promise. As he watched the newest batch of recruits pulling in on the bus the creed ran through his mind.

I AM A DRILL SERGEANT
I WILL ASSIST EACH INDIVIDUAL IN THEIR EFFORTS TO BECOME A HIGHLY MOTIVATED, WELL DISCIPLINED, PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY FIT SOLDIER, CAPABLE OF DEFEATING ANY ENEMY ON TODAY'S MODERN BATTLEFIELD.
I WILL INSTILL PRIDE IN ALL I TRAIN. PRIDE IN SELF, IN THE ARMY, AND IN COUNTRY.
I WILL INSIST THAT EACH SOLDIER MEETS AND MAINTAINS THE ARMY STANDARDS OF MILITARY BEARING AND COURTESY, CONSISTENT WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE U.S. ARMY.
I WILL LEAD BY EXAMPLE, NEVER REQUIRING A SOLDIER TO ATTEMPT ANY TASK I WOULD NOT DO MYSELF.
BUT FIRST, LAST, AND ALWAYS, I AM AN AMERICAN SOLDIER. SWORN TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.
I AM A DRILL SERGEANT

As he stood there watching the bus pull to a stop, Dexter knew he would have his work cut out for him. Like all Drill Sergeants, Dexter knew there would be the few that would try his patience. But, he was a professional in always. Dexter would never break the Creed of the Drill Sergeant. Yet, they had signed the dotted line and swore the oath. It was now his job to turn them into soldiers.

He also knew that just like the slackers there would be the ones who would excel beyond the rest. The rare ones that wanted to be the one percenters. For those he would need all his skill to focus their attention on the tasks at hand. They needed to learn the basics first, before going for their dreams. They had to be taught to walk, before they could run with the big dogs.

Then there were the ones in between. The ones that would need his most attention. The ones that just wanted to survive their country, and an ideal that was bigger than they were. Sure, some saw the military as a way out of their old circumstances. For a good many of them it was gang run streets or a poor income neighborhood. For others it was the chance at a college education after their ETS. Then there were the ones that wanted a skill to use in the civilian world. These were the ones that made up the majority of his new recruits.

And then there was the very, very few that came in. The ones looking for their home. These were the military brats, and loners. It was these recruits that always made Dexter nervous. They could go one of the three ways. Most, just wanted to spend their time in the only real family they ever knew. A few wanted to be with the one percenters. It was the ones that joined just to get their parents off their backs that always worried Dexter. The reason was simple. Military dependents or as they were often called brats, knew enough about the regulations to cause problems, but not to know when to push matters.

Even now as the fresh young faces of the new recruits were exiting the bus to the sounds of the Junior Drills’ shouts Dexter could see the usual fear. Some of them had the same look on their face. ‘What the hell have I let myself in for?’

Dexter was not a sadistic man, but he could remember a time when he too had that same look on his face. It was those looks that he always looked for, in each new rotation. Those looks let him know which ones would be his problem children. Then out of nowhere came a face he had not ever expected to see. A face that took him back to a small child in the bombed-out ruins of a small town is Eastern Europe.

Dexter’s mind raced back to that day, more than twenty years ago. He was just as fresh faced and untried as these young men and women. The only difference was he had already graduated Basic and AIT. The Bosnian War had been brought to an end by young men and women like him, with Operation Deliberate Force targeting the positions of the Army of the Republika Srpska in 95. Yet not before the indiscriminate shelling of cities and towns, ethnic cleansing and systematic mass rape, mainly perpetrated by Serb, and to a lesser extent, Croat, and Bosniak forces had destroyed so much of the country. Events such as the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre which later became so iconic of the conflict.

“Yeah, Top. What’s got you spooked?”

Dexter turned to look at his old friend and fellow Drill Sergeant, Sergeant First Class Joe Bosco. Then pointed at one of the recruits. “A face from the past Joe.”

Bosco looked to where Dexter was looking. More at who Dexter was looking at. “That ain’t her, Top. We both know that, but yeah she sure does look like her.”

“We did all we could back then Joe. It still wasn’t enough.” Dexter turned his gaze back to the rest of the new recruits. “Do you ever wonder if we do enough to get them ready for that kind of shit? I know we weren't ready to see what we saw.”

Like Dexter, Bosco was a combat veteran of more than one war. He had seen combat in more than one country. He had the nightmares and scares to prove it. “In the words of a great man, Top. Fuck no.”

“That’s what I thought you would say.” Dexter turned to walk away giving Bosco his orders. “Get them bedded down Sergeant. We have a long ten weeks ahead of us.”

“Sure, thing Top. Meet you at the usual place?”

“Yeah, I could use a beer. We’ll raise one to those we failed.”

“Top, we did all we could. Sometimes the Reaper just has to have our payment in the blood of the young. Like that joker Croesus said, ‘In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons.” Bosco answered back.

“You know something Bosco. There are times I want to kick the teeth in of that Highschool English teacher you had. Just do me a favor, and don’t be too late.”

“Sure thing, Top. Sure thing.” As Bosco turned to carry out his orders he stopped. “You’re right you know. She could be that kid’s twin sister. Do you think the innocent ones like that get a free pass at the Gates, boss?”

Dexter looked back at his friend. “I don’t know, Joe. I hope they do. Because if they don’t I got enough C-4 to blow a hole in heaven and hell both to get them in.”

“I’ll see you at Fiddlers Green in an hour, boss. Keep the beer cold.”

As Dexter walked away he was once again brought back to his earlier thoughts and the Drill Sergeants Creed by a passing platoon of trainees. These were the ones that had come in eleven weeks earlier. Gone were the signs of a group of civilians. Here was a platoon of soldiers. Now, it would be up to their AIT Instructors and regular Platoon Sergeants to put the polish on them. As he headed for Fiddlers Green First Sergeant Bill Dexter thought about the Creed and felt rewarded.

I AM A DRILL SERGEANT
I WILL ASSIST EACH INDIVIDUAL IN THEIR EFFORTS TO BECOME A HIGHLY MOTIVATED, WELL DISCIPLINED, PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY FIT SOLDIER, CAPABLE OF DEFEATING ANY ENEMY ON TODAY'S MODERN BATTLEFIELD.
I WILL INSTILL PRIDE IN ALL I TRAIN. PRIDE IN SELF, IN THE ARMY, AND IN COUNTRY.
I WILL INSIST THAT EACH SOLDIER MEETS AND MAINTAINS THE ARMY STANDARDS OF MILITARY BEARING AND COURTESY, CONSISTENT WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE U.S. ARMY.
I WILL LEAD BY EXAMPLE, NEVER REQUIRING A SOLDIER TO ATTEMPT ANY TASK I WOULD NOT DO MYSELF.
BUT FIRST, LAST, AND ALWAYS, I AM AN AMERICAN SOLDIER. SWORN TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.
I AM A DRILL SERGEANT

As always in the past I have tried to have something on this most important day in the lives of a great many veterans. As has been my custom this one story is a stand alone for this day. I hope you enjoy it. De Oppresso Liber



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