Soldiers Reveal How They Actually Got Their Drill Sergeant To Crack A Smile
It's a well known fact of life (and cinema) that a drill sergeant, second only to British Palace Guards, are the hardest people on earth to get to react to literally anything. Let alone smile.
People may try, and often, they will fail. But every once in awhile, they are able to coax a little wry grin from the drill sergeant. It may be because they did something dumb, or unexpected, but hey, at least it happened.
Soldiers of Reddit. What was something that was so funny even the drill sergeant couldn't help but giggle?
Here were some of those answers.
Battery had a charged guy with the last name "White", and a brand new girl with the last name of "Rice". Sergeant-major was on a rant and informed us that if we messed up, he'd be all over us like white on rice. Someone helpfully snapped to attention and notified the Sgt. Major that both White and Rice were on parade.
He seemed confused by the interruption, then incorporated the info, checked it over a couple times, and went red with embarrassment. I don't think he intended to imply that whitey hooking up.
Bless whoever the fast thinker was who called that out. He said what we were all thinkin'.
There were quite a few Puerto Ricans in my basic training platoon, and some of them struggled with English. We didn't mind helping them along, and of course, we took every opportunity to teach them the bad words first.
One day, at lunch chow, we taught one young fellow the word "queef", and what it meant. We weren't supposed to be talking at chow time, of course, so the drill sergeant honed in and made the young fellow stand up and tell him what they were talking about. He stood at parade rest and said, loud and proud, what he was taught. You could see that the drill sergeant wanted to yell at him for talking, but couldn't keep his composure, and the two got away with it this time.
In basic they made us keep our shower kit in a small Tupperware container so the rest of our stuff didn't get wet. Most people would dump the water out every day, but not this one kid. Kid already had the nick name of Tree because he was tall and talked/walked slow.
They do a wall locker inspection with a bunch of MTIs, and one finally get to Tree's wall locker. He pulls out the tub and yells "holy freaking smokes batman, what are you doing Tree, smuggling water?". Even the senior MTIs started laughing. Sadly it was Tree's last strike and he got recycled.
My step brother who is in the marines and was crawling under barbed wire, instead of doing that he turned to his side and rolled. The drill sergeant laughed and said "You're SO dumb."
In the recruiting slogan change from "Be all you can be!" to to the widely unpopular "Army of One" every time we noticed a DS looking at a private doing something silly we would yell "Army of one Drill Sergeant!"
That would usually elicit a chuckle before before they jumped the poor guy.
I'm an Air Force Academy graduate. We had TIs, or Technical Instructors, present during Basic Cadet Training. They were there to make sure all training was done properly, and would yell at the upperclassmen cadre just as readily as they would yell at a Basic Cadet. There were 9 training squadrons, 4 flights per squadron, and each TI was assigned to watch over an entire squadron.
Our TI was Staff Sergeant Hartman. My squadron was the Hellcats, or H squadron. During formations, when our Cadet Commander reported in, we were supposed to yell "HELLCATS, HOOAH!" The Interceptor (I squadron) TI was good friends with Sgt Hartman, and was jealous of our chant, so he tried to get his Basics to do something similar. One day, during the noon meal formation, he instructed his Basics to yell, "INTERCEPTORS LEAD THE WAY!"
However, when the appointed time came, it was less than stellar. We of course rocked our chant, but the Interceptors faltered immediately. No more than a dozen people even started, and by the end, there was literally one voice left finishing the phrase.
When this happened, Sgt Hartman just happened to have been walking right beside me. I watched him turn around and literally double over laughing, all sense of military bearing momentarily lost as he watched his friend's best laid plans completely fall apart. But just as quickly as it started, it ended, and then he was back to TI mode.
Another fun one with those two was during the field portion of training. Sgt Hartman has just pulled up in a gator (small 4-wheeled open top vehicle, like a tactical golf cart) to where my flight was formed up waiting to march somewhere. He was having a conversation with some of the cadre when the Interceptor TI drove by our formation and his parking spot in another gator.
Sgt Hartman proceeded to drop bearing once again, breaking out a huge grin, holding up his hand, and giving the most Phoebe-from-friends open handed wave you could imagine to his passing buddy. Then it was immediately back to training mode with the serious faced conversation.
I had a guy who really wasn't cut out for the Army in basic. The morning of a 12k ruck march, he woke up but didn't leave his bed. When asked about it, he said he had an accident. Things happen, we are all stressed, but no one expected a massive poop snake to be lurking under the covers. The problem was, it was intact. It wasn't smushed or smeared at all. Eventually we found out that he intentionally pushed a log out to try and get out of the ruck march.
The Drill Sergeants sent him to sick call after they made him clean it up and after he left, they were hysterical. They have never seen someone go to such disgusting means to avoid training. He was eventually sent home.
We also had someone who was so bad at throwing, he was not able to participate in the grenade exercise for fear of casualties. They made him practice while we all did the exercise but he was never able to get the fake grenade more than a few feet from himself. A few times, he even managed to throw it backwards, Wii bowling style. They felt bad because he admitted to not having a father figure in his life but they were obviously holding back laughter watching his pitiful attempts and listening to his grunts.
Drill instructor heard someone fart while we were watching some video about something, he then told us to turn on the vacuum. This meant we all inhaled like vacuums. He then said we better get it all and that he better not get a single wiff of it.
There was a new drill instructor that had never encountered this before so he quickly covered his face with his cover so no one could see him lose it, and immediately bolted off giggling to himself.
2nd exercise at phase 1, we were in our shellscrapes (foxholes) at night, and our DS contacts us and we have to buy out. After we collapse our harbour area and are about to patrol out, one of the lads walks up to a member of our training team and asks, "Can I go wipe my arse Corporal?"
"What?" The corporal said dumbfounded.
"I was taking a poo when we were attacked, I didn't have time to wipe." He got to wipe.
In our cycle we had a very knowledgeable class clown type, who was super funny but also super informed about everything military. One day he was doing impressions of a drill sergeant and had everyone cracking up, so the DS he was imitating heard the laughter and walked over to see what the commotion was about. Now, this DS was one of those that had the thousand yard stare, was super unpredictable, total BA, and was one I would've followed anywhere. He was probably one of the funniest and darkest people I've ever come across, and you simultaneously wanted him to be around all the time and never wanted to be within 100 yards of him.
So this DS comes in, asks what was so funny, and eventually gets the guy to do the impression of him. He stops, thinks for a bit, and then rounds up the entire company. At this point I'm thinking about how screwed this guy just made us (platoon punishments were his go-to, so we all were going to get it, not just him), and I am overcome with this sense of impending doom.
So he tells the guy to do the impressions, and after he finishes, the DS starts cracking up, and everyone else starts joining in. The guy then continues, and everyone is dying laughing. After 5 minutes of imitations, the DS suddenly gets serious and says, "Oh so you guys think this is funny huh? We'll see how funny you think it is later".
It was definitely worth it.
Very shortly after arriving to (Air Force) basic, you have to take whatever you brought in your civilian bag, and spread it out on the end of your bed. Pretty much everything gets locked up til you graduate, then you get it back.
The TI walks the aisle, looking at everything you've put out. One kid in my "flight" (what they call your training group) brought a skateboard. To basic training. He had it propped against the end of his bunk when the TI walked by.
I wouldn't say she giggled, but she made it about one step past before her brain registered what she had just seen. She almost fell over he own feet turning around to being.. addressing his problem.
It was my first week in basic and we had just received our rifles. We were marching to the dfac in the morning to get breakfast and reveille started playing. Our drill Sergeant called us to attention and to present arms. At this point we had never been taught how to salute with our rifles. So we all looked at each other and just pointed our rifles to the sky with our right arms full extended.
Everyone in our platoon was standing at the position of attention with our rifles pointing to the sky when our drill sergeant turned around. He immediately started laughing and said he had never seen anybody do that before. We proceed to be a platoon of many firsts for him.
We had all our bunks at the edge of the walls with an empty area in the middle. It had our rifle racks and a bed that was an example for how ours should look. Well near graduation we had to shave and fork our berets and a mannequin head was left on the fireguard desk with a beret as an example of how ours should look. Well we took the head and make a whole mannequin in uniform stuffed with clothes. It was positioned in such a way that the DS couldn't tell unless he walked around to the side of it.
He was calling names for accountability and was about to leave when someone told him he missed somebody and pointed to the bed. His eyes filled with rage as he walked over but instantly calmed when he realized what it was. He yelled "WAKE UP" and flipped the bed and walked out laughing.
After laundry was done they threw it on the floor in a big pile. Your name is stenciled on every article of clothing so one guy would stand next to the pile, pick up an article of clothing, read the name and then throw it at the owner as we walked around him in a circle. So we took one of our mesh laundry bags and carefully cut it to look like a thong, then stole a pink hi-liter and colored it pink and wrote our drill instructors name on it and snuck it into the laundry.
The day comes to pass out laundry and he sees it, loses it starts screaming, "WHO THE HELL OWNS THIS?!! I'M GOING TO OWN YOUR WHOLE WORLD!!!!" He picks it up, sees his name and had to leave the room he was laughing so hard.
My drill sgt made me kneel so he could scream in my face. He was 5 foot nothing and I'm 6'3.
According to my boys, the other drills were giggling like school girls. All I remember is terror.
I had a somewhat short, Hispanic TI in basic that would occasionally "squeak" when his voice broke. He would almost always give everyone permission to laugh about it when it happened, guy had a great sense of humor about himself.
Marine chiming in here, we were in first phase during boot camp and were in formation marching to the All Weather Training Facility, gym. We were still getting used to drilling our Kill Hat kept messing up the calls as he himself was new at calling drill so we kept tripping over each other's boots.
Out of nowhere we hear him draw his NCO sword and shout "Y'all better stop playing with my emotions before I slip and have an accident." We died laughing and he just walked off muttering to himself and trying not to laugh as well.
Drills were searching for contraband after a Private was found with chewing tobacco. One of the DS got a broom handle and started pushing the ceiling tiles up to see if anything would slide out.
A 'happy sock' fell out and hit him in the face. The other DS walked off into the office. He was cough-laughing the whole time.
We were smoked into oblivion.
One day during basic we had someone who my Staff Sergeant called Goon because of the way he marched.
During one of the daily line-up's the Staff discovered that Goon had a girlfriend to which he responded "how the hell is that possible? I want you run down to the toilet look in the mirror and tell me what you see."
Goon ran off and came back a few seconds later. After the Staff finished reading the daily updates he asked "so Goon what did you find out?"
Goon:"Staff I have discovered that I am one ugly MF-er!"
Goes without saying everyone couldn't really help but let out a roar of laughter.
"I GOT LOST ON THE WAY TO COLLEGE, SIR!!"
OMG, I have the best story for this. Basic training, some dude was getting a reprimand from the course officer because he was a bag of fail. He got briefed by the platoon Sergeant beforehand to march to the door, salute the officer, and wait to be instructed what to do. But this guy was as dumb as a brick, so he marches to the door, and stands there looking stupid.
The Sergeant waits a good long while hoping this kid will clue in, and nothing happens. Finally he yells at him "WELL, AREN'T YOU GOING TO PAY COMPLIMENTS TO THE OFFICER?!" And he stammers for a bit and finally chirps out, "Um, uh, you're looking really nice today Sir." Sergeant yells at him to GTFO, and slams the door and the entire course staff nearly die from laughter. It took an hour for us to stop laughing long enough to call him back and actually give him the reprimand. I was on the floor with tears in my eyes.
For YEARS afterwards, anytime we would see that officer we would stop him to tell him he was looking nice. It never stopped being funny.
The gas chamber - as privates were sprinting out of the gas chamber they would 1 by 1 slam into a tree that was conveniently located directly outside of the exit door. The DS has a different privates doing jumping jacks and singing "another one bites the dust" as it happened.
The food made us really constipated. Lots of people had to go get laxatives after not being able to poop for over a week.
So, it became tradition in my group when anybody was trying to take a dump and the drill sergeant wasn't around the person taking a dump would scream "GET OUT OF MY BODY!" or "IT'S FINALLY COMING!"...etc. (talking to the poop of course).
One day two guys were in the latrine (bathroom) trying to poop and screaming at the top of their lungs when the drill sergeant entered the barracks... He just stopped and listened for a while to what sounded like two men performing an exorcism in the bathroom.
He shook his head and just walked back out. We were his last group going through basic before he was going back to his regular job and I think that was the day he finally broke...
Someone in basic threw their half eaten schnitzel into the toilet and tried to flush it. It didn't flush. He left
So we are all in are rooms as we hear one of our drills scream to get out and line up.
We line up and he was one of the super serious guys, 190meters tall, easily 100kg of pure muscle and always mean mugging everyone.
He starts screaming at us telling us that we are pigs. No one knew what went on. Then he started yelling "someone threw a schnitzel into the toilet" as he finished he started smiling. First time in months I saw the dude smile. Everyone started laughing hard. He got angry again and started repeating himself. He starts laughing once he hits the schnitzel part again. We all laugh again.
He just tells us we are dumb and someone better fish that piece of schnitzel out asap.
Marine Corps, to preface.
We're doing the rappel tower in bootcamp, and once all of our harnesses (via plain rope) are secured, we stand at perfect position of attention 6" from the recruit infront of us to go down the tower. These harnesses were TIGHT, like feels like they're red hot tight. One recruit is leaning forward:
DI: Recruit, what is your malfunction?
R: This Recruit has his left testicle on the other side of the rope, Sir!
DI: pause, audible chuckle
DI: Fix it, Recruit.
the most high-pitched 'eeeeeeee'
R: This Recruit has fixed the problem, Sir!
Never forget, right Marines?
Well one time when I was in basic training, my petty officer was going around asking questions to people. If you got it wrong, everyone had to do push ups. If you got it right, he just moved on to the next person.
I was in panic mode because all the questions before now had been really difficult, or maybe I was just stupid. In retrospect, I'm inclined to believe the latter.
Anyway, my turn came up and the interaction went as follows:
Petty Officer: DANDY-LOU, WHAT IS THE NAVY'S BIRTHDAY?
Me, ecstatic because this is one of the few bits of trivia my brain had decided to retain, relieved: SIR, OCTOBER 13th, SIR!
Petty Officer: WHAT YEAR?
Me, without missing a beat: EVERY YEAR, SIR!
The room was quiet for a moment as the horror sank in. Everyone laughed at me. The Petty Officer laughed at me. Not a mocking laughter, but a sincere, oh my god I can't believe you're this stupid kind of laughter. I wanted to die.
I had to do a lot of push ups.
Late for the parade, and this isn't my story, but from my brother in the air force.
During one of the first inspections, one of the recruits had a honey packet from Chick Fill A he had before going to boot camp and some spare change he left in his pocket.
The drill sergeants said "WHY DO YOU HAVE HONEY AND MONEY IN YOUR POCKET!" Which is something that can't not get a laugh out of everyone.
Friends basic from years ago. During morning inspection the sergeant found a penny in someone's locker. Of course push-ups. So someone had the brilliant idea to put a penny in everyone's locker. 1" in and 1" from the left.
Sergeant walks in. Sees the first penny. Stops. Keeps walking. Finds more pennies. My friend caught a glimpse of him smiling and almost cracking up. He then snatches up a penny and screams at them. Push-ups.
Navy bootcamp 2008, we had a big Samoan guy in our division who loved singing Disney songs. This dude started singing A Whole New World in a shower with 80 other dudes and all of us started singing along. I can remember our RDC just shaking his head and grinning.
When I was in basic training we were truly terrified of one our drill sergeants, and she told us specifically we could not turn the lights on until 4:30 in the morning.
One morning we had to be up earlier than usual for some reason so we all got up and just got ready in the dark to avoid getting in trouble. She comes bursting into our bay screaming at us to wake up.
The light from the hallway shines in a bit and and she looks around at us all getting ready and goes "why are the lights off, privates?" So we tell her that she told us we couldn't have them on before 4:30 and she just laughed and said "that's not what I... okay privates carry on" and walked out.
One dude got literally sewed into his rack in the night. He had the top rack.
When "heave out and trice up" sounded the next morning, the guy tumbled off completely attached to all of his bedding... AND the mattress. Our RDC couldn't help smirking as he yelled at all of us for the next ten minutes.
IIR, the perps were quickly discovered and actually got sent back to the beginning of boot camp. We were like 6 weeks in at that point. Poor guys pulled off an epic prank and paid for it by going back to being smurfs again. I don't know if they still do that, but it was the major punishment de rigueur back in the mid 90's.
A friend of mine is a helicopter instructor in the Army. She is also tiny. She's maybe 5'1" on her best day. Her job was to instruct the helicopter pilot trainees in the actual equipment after they master the simulator. This is the first time the trainees fly an actual aircraft.
She met the trainee in a classroom and went over the entire exercise they were about to perform. He kept saying, yeah, yeah, I got this. They walked out to the tarmac. He kept snickering. They get to the helicopter. He said "This is a joke, right?" She told him no and get in the aircraft. He laughed and says ok.
She talked him through the pre-flight. He made a big show of going down the checklist. Then she had him start up the engines and check the gauges. He did and said "Ok, who put you up to this?" She told him to lift off about 10 feet above the tarmac and hover. The aircraft rose.
That's when it hit him. This tiny 5 foot Army Major was his helicopter instructor and not some girl his friends found for a joke. He went completely white and started apologizing profusely. The rest of the exercise he would not stop apologizing. She had to help him set down the aircraft. He thought he was dead meat after the way he treated her. She was laughing so hard that she didn't punish him.
Dude was told he couldn't trim his unibrow, if he did he'd have to shave both eyebrows as well... so that's what dude did, shaved it all. DS lost it laughing and then made the private report every morning to have them sharpied on with a new expression every day
Added: The best ones were when he was given two squares as eye brows or a constant surprised look
At a military college, during hell week cadets are standing in line at parade rest in the buff outside the shower waiting on their turn to go in. The expectation is that you look straight ahead at the back of the head of the person in front of you in line.
One cadet glanced at the instructor to his left, the instructor saw this quick glance and angrily demanded, "What are you looking at cadet?"
The cadet was suppose to be staring at the back of the head of his buddy who's last name happened to be Cox.
So without giving much thought to the current situation of thirty young men in the nude waiting on a shower - the cadet shouted back, "I AM LOOKING AT COX, SERGEANT"
After the laughing ceased, the sergeant regained his composure and the pushups began...
Not a soldier but an airman, hopefully you still like the story.
We are out on the pad standing in formation waiting for breakfast just like any other BMT morning. We are at the end of our training so the MTI's tend to not harass you as much in your last week or so at basic.
Our MTI has a doctor's appointment or something so he has a female MTI in the squadron we have seen from time to time watch us while he is gone.
So she takes us all from parade rest to attention and addresses the dorm chief (lead trainee position in the flight). He lets out the fatal response of "Yes Sir!" to whatever she said to him.
She's a petite athletic looking redhead and would not be mistaken for a sir. She gets right in his face as it leaves his mouth and starting yelling, "AAAAAAAHHHHH! YOU MAKE ME SO MAD I JUST WANT TO WHIP OUT MY PENIS AND SLAP YOU ACROSS THE FACE WITH IT! IFFFFFFF I HAAAAAAAAD ONNNNNE!" there were 3 other flights with like 20-40 trainees each including their MTI's immediately dying laughing. Even she only held it together for a few seconds of being angry red in the face before laughing.
I think you would get in some serious trouble these days yelling great lines like that.
We had inspections of our equipment at the end of AIT. Our Battalion Commander (a Lieutenant Colonel) was talking to this kid next to me. He mentioned he was from Michigan, and so did she. She asked where in Michigan and held up her hand (since Michigan is shaped like a hand, she wanted him to point on her hand where he was from in "The Mitten"). Instead this idiot high fived her and smiled.
The steam came from my DS ears like nothing I have ever seen. On graduation day a few days later, we all had a good laugh about it.
Fort Jackson, October 31st 2002:
The entire male barracks of the company, except for two guys, decided to dress up for Halloween. Instead of wearing our proper PT attire for bed check, we all tore the sheets off of our bed and fashioned them into Togas.
Every night in Army Basic, you had to line up on both sides of the barracks with your toes touching a line painted in front of each row of beds. It was called "Toe the Line".
So the barracks door flies open and our Drill SGT walks in. He's not even looking at us. He's looking down at his clipboard and reading off names. He gets about halfway down the list of names and looks up for a half second... then he just stops and starts laughing.
Then his head snaps back up and he bellows, "Why are you out of uniform!!?" All but the two guys who wore their PT's yelled "TOGA THE LINE!" He starts laughing again but quickly recovers.
Then he says, "I wasn't talking about you, I mean you two losers who aren't wearing Togas!"
So those two guys get down to do pushups and the rest of us jump down and start pushing too. He yells again, "Why are the rest of you on the floor!?!"
We didn't even plan this part, but we all said, "If they go down, we go down!" It was something that one of our DS's had been drilling into us from day one.
We had an inspection and we had to hold our money in the top of our shaving cream while at attention. One guy dropped his top and his change went clanging across the floor. The TI (Air Force) got up in his face and asked him if he was trying to make music for everybody by dropping money all over the floor and since he must be, told him to sing a song for the flight.
After a bit of more yelling while he tried to think of a song, the guy starts singing "Old McDonald". And the TI continues with the inspection. After a while, the TI tells him to go into the latrine so he can get a nice echo and so the entire flight is standing at attention with old McDonald ringing out from this disembodied voice.
Anybody whose been through basic probably had moments where you had to use all your strength to not laugh while the Instructor was railing on somebody and this was one of those moments. We were all dying and trying not to laugh, some were less successful than others and felt the wrath of the TI. Especially when the singer got into the less common animals from the song like "and on his farm he had a ...rabbit, eieio. With a fft fft here and a fft fft there, here a fft there a fft, everywhere a fft fft." We were all dying. And then the singing stopped.
"Airman White! Did I tell you stop singing!?!?" "Sir, no sir!" "Then why did you stop?!?" "Sir... I ran out of animals sir!" With that, the TI broke and thank God because it allowed the rest of us to break as well. We all laughed a long time after that.
Gave me right instead of left. I walked full force into a brick wall.
Joke was on everyone around me I'm the only one who didn't get smoked because they all anticipated and went left.
The DI who gave the order didn't say much but the full bird walking by couldn't contain his laughter.
Navy boot camp in Orlando Florida in August of 1989. The company was split up in two, on either side of the center line facing the front of the bay. Our company commander had us doing 4 count jumping jacks where we all had to clap on the 2nd and 4th together. It had to sound like one clap.
There were 68 of us and even though we struggled, all of us eventually got it. Well, all of us but one. This poor guy just could not clap with the rest of us.
He was eventually pulled up to the front of the bay where he would lead the exercise. At the last second, every time, he would change his pace and ruin it. The company commander smiled throughout and eventually just keeled over laughing at this guy.
It's funny though that I don't remember being angry even though we must have been doing jumping jacks for about three hours in 100 degree heat. I do remember that the only reason we quit was because the cement floor was too slippery with sweat to safely continue.
When my brother was in Marine Corps boot camp, there was this guy who snagged a whole bunch of packets of peanut butter from the chow hall and filled his foot locker with them, like some kind of comical Full Metal Jacket. For the rest of that guy's career he was known as Peanut Butter.
We all had these plastic nametags before getting our official ones stitched onto our uniforms. They were to be marked by first and middle initials followed by the last name.
For example mine said: AA Porg
Had a dude in my platoon whose (Not his real name, but same concept) tag said EJAT Smith. Naturally, the Drill Instructor asked him what the was up with his name tag.
Shouted with complete enthusiasm: "MY NAME IS EDWARD JAMES ALLAN THOMAS SMITH, SIR!"
Needless to say, the DI didn't expect him to actually have 5 names, nor did he expect to hear it so proudly stated. He covered his face with his hat.
"On our final ruck march on of the guys in our platoon got hit by a deer as we were going down the stair way to heaven. Drill sergeants messed with him until we graduated."
A latino friend of mine told me that when he was in training one of the drill sergeants would bully him for his accent. On one of the FTXs the drill sergeant asks him what his MOS was.
"25U, Drill Sergeant." "Communications? How are people going to understand you if you don't speak proper English." "With subtitles, Drill Sergeant." The other DS who was also standing there just walked away laughing.
We are told that, if you're not confident, you should just "fake it til you make it."
This is great--in theory. In practice, sometimes "faking it" can have extremely real and terrible consequences, which these people found out the hardest of hard ways.