Holy smokes, what is it about new privates that just makes my blood boil? The little bastards are rude, disrespectful, and cocky. Some of them are salvagable, but it seems that most of A-Co's initial entry... I hesitate to call them 'soldiers'... types are better off being thrown back into the civilian population. At least then they won't put me or my buddies in danger. Back in C-Btry, we looked at the arrival of new soldiers with a mix of glee and dread. Glee, because we'd get to pull all the old shenanigans on a new troop. Dread, because odds were he'd be a shitbag who'd wind up causing everyone in the battery a lot of headaches before he got caught with a DUI, popped hot on a piss test, or molested an underage girl (the only three offenses I've seen people get kicked out of the Army for). Just about every new soldier was an eighteen-to-twenty-year-old private who thought he was all that and a bag of chips because he graduated basic training. While some of that I can blame on their age, a lot of it simply goes back to TRADOC. They don't get taught that, while their dumb little buddies in IET land were just as low on the totem pole as they are, the soldiers in their unit ain't.
Take for example one of the little shits in my class. He's an E-2 barely out of BCT and not quite through IET. I'm an E-4 who's been some places and done some things. He acts as though following my directions were entirely at his option, and I have no recourse beyond going and grabbing an NCO! And because this is TRADOC, all the NCO can do is put him at parade rest and chew him out. He can't smoke him, can't write up paperwork on him. I've told him that I hope he winds up in the same unit as me. I fully intend to either break him as his drill sergeants should have done or make sure that when he screws up, the command does not look kindly upon him. I've had enough with shitstain privates. I don't mind the ones who're just dumb, but have a good attitude. I don't mind the ones who're cocky, but squared-away enough to back it up (that much). But when I'm chewing a private's ass because he decided that he would disregard my directions to continue working with the rest of the class rather than skip out to 'take out the trash' for twenty minutes, and he blatantly disrespects me? I tell him to go to parade rest and wipe that smirk off his face and he shoves his hands in his pockets? Fuck no. If the class leader (a SGT) hadn't intervened... heh, I probably woulda wound up losing my clearance and getting kicked out of the school. He thinks he's hot shit 'cause he can do 200 push-ups. Swell. That's completely unimpressive to anyone who's done PT with SSG Cobb (I bet everyone in old C-Btry remembers those "DIAMONDS!"). Doubly when you consider this private has lousy form and has to take breaks during this. Playing by the same rules, I can do over 500. You'll never hear me claiming that, though, 'cause I can really only do 50-60 a rep. Hell, you'll never hear me claiming that because I'm not some douchebag private who mistakes PT for soldiering. He asks "Why?" questions of an NCO. Anyone who's been in longer than three weeks understands that you do not do that. Period. Private does not ask "Why?", Private executes. If he's lucky, he'll figure out the "Why?" while he's doing it. The class leader had to tell him several times to get to parade rest. Not "At ease", not smirking, at parade-fucking-rest. What will his platoon sergeant do? Not a damn thing.
Before you think I was the one who started this, I wasn't. Except, perhaps, by being too soft and too nice to these kids. Believe me, I know how to be an asshole. I learned from the best. I chose not to, as it's not my job here. But when I start having to deal with a little bastard who disrespects everyone who doesn't have stripes on their chest... Well, I'm fully capable of putting away the Nice Guy hat and busting out with the Bastard McAssream hat.
This private is not the exception. He is the norm. This is why I have no intention of staying in the Army. TRADOC completely fails to instill any degree of respect into the new soldiers, and more and more the high command prevents units from correcting this oversight. They teach these kids that there's no such thing as rank inside the GCS. Bullshit there ain't. You can't pull rank to settle a disagreement over safety-of-flight issues, but there damn sure better be rank all the rest of the time. Privates need to follow the orders and directions of their superiors because... well, hell, they're the juniors for a reason. They don't know anything. If a private won't follow directions during a simple clean-up task, how can I expect him to follow directions during a firefight? How can I expect him to follow directions during a long, difficult mission? I can't. We are an Army at war. Even the noncombatant types like UAS operators need to understand that. I have a buddy who repairs optics. It's a job that sounds as poggie as... hell, the Navy these days. He's been in more firefights than he can count. What happens if I wind up in a knock-down drag-out firefight, and I have to rely on some shitbag private like the one described above? I'm trained and proficient in warfare. It comes naturally to me. I'll probably get killed trying to keep that jackass from getting himself killed, all because he won't listen to me when I'm trying to train him up... because he thinks that just because I'm not a sergeant, he doesn't have to listen to anything I say. Ignore the fact that I've spent more time in Iraq than he has in the Army. Ignore the fact that I've spent more time wearing a vest than he has wearing ACUs. Ignore that, he's an eighteen-year-old private and he knows everything.
Way to go, TRADOC. Glad some officer got that bullet on his OER. How many soldiers get killed because you won't let Drill Sergeant do his job the right way? How many shitbags have you released to the Army who we had to devote excessive time and energy into straightening out? How the hell do you think this is the right way to go?