Thursday, February 16, 2006


What are they, a buncha pussies? When I arrived at Lackland AFB for basic training close to 26 years ago (next week, btw), I thought I was a tough guy. I was 17 and I knew everything. Two minutes after I got off the bus, Ssgt. Franklin was on my ass and didn't let up until I graduated. I finally realized I wasn't a tough guy, just a loudmouthed punk. He made me a good troop (and a good man) and after he was done with me, I was a tough guy. This is crap:

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- New recruits used to be welcomed to boot camp here with the "shark attack." For decades, drill sergeants in wide-brim hats would swarm around the fresh-off-the-bus privates, shouting orders. Some rattled recruits would make mistakes. A few would cry.

Today, the Army is opting for a quieter approach. "I told my drill sergeants to stop the nonsense," says Col. Edward Daly, whose basic-training brigade graduates about 11,000 soldiers a year. Last fall, Col. Daly began meeting with all new recruits shortly after they arrive at boot camp to thank them. "We sincerely appreciate the fact that you swore an oath and got on a bus and did it in a time of war," he recently told an incoming class. "That's a big, big deal." He usually is accompanied by two male and two female soldiers, who can answer questions the recruits may have.

"The idea is to get rid of the anxiety and worry," Col. Daly says.


To borrow a phrase from our friend Jay, 'are you effin' kidding me'? It's time for Col. Daly to retire.

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