My Least Favorite Position

I’ve decided to include something new(ish) on my blog on Fridays:

Military Memories

I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane.

I remember Navy Boot Camp and the culture shock of learning to live with so many rules. One of those rules was to memorize the General Orders.  I especially remember number three. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

Our Company Commanders spent a lot of time with us, but they weren’t with us constantly. They trusted us to do what we were supposed to. After all, although many of us – myself included – were teenagers, we were sailors. We were responsible… if we weren’t, we would be by the time training was over.

During boot camp, one of our many rules was that smokers were only allowed to smoke in designated locations at designated times. I’m not now, nor have I ever been a smoker. Oh, I’ve tried a few cigarettes when I was in my twenties, but smoking never became habit-forming for me. My guess is that I didn’t do it right… Oh well.

One fine Navy day, while our CC’s were away, the smokers decided to take a smoke break. They may have gone to the designated location, but since the CC’s were not there to announce, “Smoke Break”, it was definitely not a designated time. I know you must be thinking, “Didn’t they leave someone in charge?” Yes. Yes, they did. We had an RCPO – Recruit Chief Petty Officer. HOWEVER… our RCPO was a smoker.

Push-upsEventually, somehow, the CC’s found out. You’ve heard the term “Push-up position”? The women in my company became very familiar with that term… and that position. We had to assume and remain in push-up position. For how long you ask? Until our Company Commanders told us we could move. Yeah… that was a long time. Now in case you think we could raise our upper bodies just a little and not suffer too much discomfort, think again. We were instructed to make our dog tags touch the floor. They had to be directly perpendicular to the floor. They could not bend or slant. Let me show you.  Imagine the card in these images is my dog tag, extended from a chain around my neck.

While in this agonizing position, we were asked what General Order number three was. And we had to recite it. Over and over and over.

It went something like this:
CC: Push up position!
Recruits*We all hit the floor in position with arms bent.*
CC: UP
Recruits*We extended our arms and went high enough so our dog tags were just touching the floor.*
CC: What is General Order number three?
Recruits: To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce, Ma’am.
CC: I can’t hear you.
Recruits: (louder) To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce, Ma’am.
CC: What was that?
Recruits: (louder) To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce, Ma’am.
CC: DOWN
Recruits: *We bent our arms, faces to the floor, grateful for a few seconds before the command came again.*
CC: UP
Recruits: *We extended our arms and went high enough so our dog tags were just touching the floor.*
CC: What is General Order number three?
Recruits: To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce, Ma’am.

I can’t remember how long we did this, but it was not fun and we certainly learned our lesson. You may be wondering why the entire company was punished for something a handful of smokers did. Well… we were a company. We were a team. We were one. Besides, although the smokers committed the offense, we all knew about it. No one reported it. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce. (Well, maybe someone did, because the CC’s found out somehow.) We all deserved it. I look back on that memory with fondness and gratitude to my Company Commanders.

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4 thoughts on “My Least Favorite Position

  1. When I went through basic in the army we still did the “female” push ups with knees bent. My hardest part was running. I have never been and never will be a runner. I hate running. I managed to get a waiver for that part of the final PT test. I also hated wearing the gas mask. Of course we were practicing in the day room. But, I’m claustrophobic and it upset me to put things on my face.

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    • Hi C.K. Yes! I remember the mask… or rather… being the only recruit standing OUTSIDE, because although the masks were one-size-fits-all, it didn’t fit me. LOL

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  2. Love, love, love your comments today. Yes, I remember well Basic Training. For the army it was the shock of my life. Drill Sergeants yelling, “Drop! Drop! Drop!” can still strike fear through my body. Even after doing a gazillion push-ups and your arms were shaking, that Drill would command that you keep pushing until HE got tired. Even now, I will wake from a dead sleep and jump to attention if someone yells, “On your feet!” Who knew all that pain would do exactly as they made us promise–condition our bodies and minds. Good times. Good times.

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