Boot camp is not for the weak or the faint of heart.
So what happens when you screw up? Some crazy, hilarious, unexpected things.
Here are 16 times that things did not go according to plan.
1. I tree what you did there…
The drill instructor made a recruit stand in front of a tree, point at it, and say, “I’m not funny, you are,” when he was caught laughing.
The DI did actually laugh at that one.
I had a soldier one time stop doing mountain climbers while we were being smoked as a platoon.
The DS came up and squatted down, yelling in his face. Recruit yelled back, “This soldier has made it to the top of the mountain, Drill Sergeant!”
The dude just walked away trying not to break with laughter.
3. The force
A pair of battle buddies were late to the formation. Everyone was lined up waiting for them to get dressed, and they ran down about three seconds apart from each other which was a big mistake.
The first one ran out, and drill sergeant screamed, “FREEZE… Aren’t you supposed to have someone with you?” Without skipping a beat, the private replied, “The force is always with me, drill sergeant.” After thinking about it for a second, he told the private to shut up and fall in line. His buddy, meanwhile, had made his way outside and was trying (poorly) to sneak into line.
The drill sergeant saw the private trying to sneak in, “Well now hold on a second, who’s this big shot over here walking around like he owns the place? You the new top? You think you’re special?”
The private replied, “No drill sergeant, I’m the force.”
Everyone, including the lead drill, lost their cool for two seconds.
4. You blue it!
One of the other platoon’s DS in my company took them upstairs to hand out personal letters from our family. While the remainder of us were down in the central training area cleaning our weapons, we heard a muffled cadence coming from two stories up.
Apparently, the DS made them bear crawl around the barracks room while whipping letters at each person, all the while they had to sing the Blues Clue’s “We just got a letter” song.
5. One time is enough!
When I got to basic training, I was so nervous I didn’t know what to do. You wait in processing for like, a day or two and then go to your drill sergeants.
When I got off the bus, I was immediately smoked. I was so excited and nervous that I just awkwardly started smiling while in the front leaning rest position. The drill sergeant got down in the pushup position with me and was going up and down until he finally just cracked a huge smile and I lost it.
It was the only time I saw him smile. But was hilarious.
6. Brand new BFFs!
I had two guys get in a fight in our bay during basic training.
The drill sergeant made them hold hands and pretend to be on a date all week.
The only time they could let go of each other’s hands was rack time.
They ended up becoming pretty good friends.
7. You’re toast
During the beginning of basic training, we were monitored while we ate, which included being told when to begin “consuming” and when to stop. We had this chubby kid who was having a particularly rough time, and you could see he was already close to breaking.
We were told our chow time was up and we all instantly got up from our seats and formed a line next to the wall at the end of our tables to clear our tray. The chubby kid did not join us but instead chose to sit and finish his meal. He was completely alone in the middle of the mess hall.
A drill instructor came up to him and immediately began berating him.
The chubby kid looked at the drill instructor dead in the eyes while sitting and had a completely insane look on his face. In his hand, he had a butter knife clinched in what I can only describe as a threatening manner.
Without missing a beat, the drill instructor yelled at him, “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THAT TUBBY, SPREAD ME ON YOUR TOAST?!”
8. Look! It’s a bird!
Was the XO of a basic training rotation in 2001. I had a young man who couldn’t do two sit-ups. He cried, saying, “I can’t!” A drill sergeant came over and after yelling at him about how all he’d ever done in his life was eat Cheetos, he told him that he had better never hear the words “I can’t” ever again.
He then said, “Even if I tell you to fly, you’d better take off running with your arms flapping!” He then proceeded to run around the kid flapping his arms screaming “caw-caw” at the top of his voice!
I thought I’d fall out laughing!
When I was doing my basic military qualifications, I had forgotten my running shoes for P.E. I only had my boots.
While the rest of the unit was running laps around the facility, the Master Corporal took me outside and had me march to his instructions in the back parking lot. This was in February and the lot had just been plowed. There was a particularly large snow mountain in the very center of the lot (15 feet high or so).
He had me march over the snowbank countless times, back and forth, falling down every so often while he yelled. The others were back inside at this point watching it happen, enjoying lunch.
Never forgot my shoes again.
10. You, Me & Everybody!
We had a perpetual screw-up in our platoon that for once actually did nothing wrong.
However, his reputation led the DI to believe he did. So for a good hour or so, they made him leap between one set of bunks, crawl under the next, then leap between the next, over and over and over.
All while yelling, “Me, Myself, and I, sir!”
11. Oh cute
I saw a recruit doing burpees and at the top of his jump, he’d have his arms stretched out while yelling, “I’m a beautiful star!”.
12. Grave consequences…
Not in boot camp but in a “school” setting in the military.
In our formation one morning, I heard a loud slap. A guy killed a fly or a mosquito or something. The instructor started screaming that Corpsmen do not kill unless defending themselves, their Marines or patients. He had just killed an unarmed friendly and would give it a proper burial.
He made us all dig a human-sized grave while the sailor that killed the fly stood there watching with a dead fly in hand. We gave it a funeral and everything (without honors) and had to fill in the hole.
We kinda hated that guy for a while.
We had a recruit in our platoon that got caught with Skittles out of an MRE in his rack. The next time we had an MRE out in field week, the DI had him sit in the middle of everyone and anyone who had Skittles had to pass them forward. They made him eat only Skittles for the entirety of chow as fast as he could.
Of course, he puked later on, but imagine trying to eat Skittles that fast. He said his jaw was on fire.
We called him Skittles from then on of course.
As a former recruit, we were taught how to throw frag grenades.
I went on auto-pilot and threw it like how they did in movies— I pulled the ring by the teeth and threw. The DI caught me doing it the first time, ran over to me, then commanded me to demonstrate how I threw the grenade.
I mimed it, which made him laugh at the top of his lungs.
He beckoned the other DI’s to come over and made me mime it again.
I got torched.
15. Faaaaaaaarttttttttttt! **safety**
During basic training, when we were all getting to know each other, one guy said that he was a daytime manager of a nightclub. Another guy then asked, “What the heck do you do as a daytime manager of a nightclub?” The DS could barely keep it together.
In another instance, while we were having shooting practice, these two idiots were chatting, One guy said, “Hey dude, listen to this,” and he let one rip right as the DS stopped talking.
The DS busted his butt laughing.