Everything I Know About Life I Learned in Boot Camp

Before I crossed over to the dark side and became an officer, I was enlisted for a few years. This means that I had the incredibly pleasurable experience of going through boot camp. Even though this happened around 14 years ago, I still remember parts of it vividly (other parts are lost in a sleep deprived fog). Here are some of the life lessons that I took away from my time there.

  • There is absolutely no reason to use a urinal. When you are going to have to clean every square inch of the bathroom, and you can take care of all your business in the toilet, why on earth would you dirty a urinal? This was seriously a beatable offense.
  • The toilet paper always pulls out from the top of the roll. In my house, there is no mistake greater than situating the TP so you pull it out from the bottom. We failed inspections for this, and so has my wife.
  • It is possible to march and sleep at the same time. Many mornings, I would step into formation outside our barracks and then wake up in the breakfast line with no idea how I got there.
  • There is no punishment worse than being ASMO’s. I can’t remember what ASMO stands for, but it meant being sent back in boot camp. In other words, if you were in the 7th week, they could send you back to the 3rd week, thereby giving you an extra month. This horrified me. You could have taken away all my money, demoted me (granted that would have been difficult since there was no lower rank), or sent me to Singapore to be caned. I would have gladly accepted any of those punishments before being ASMO’d even 1 week.
  • Some people are really good at yelling. In my 10 weeks, I had one RDC (the Navy term for drill instructor) who only spoke in screams and growls. A mortal man’s vocal cords would have been shredded within 20 minutes. Somehow, he made it through 2 and a half months.
  • You can always do one more pushup. Would you rather have your shoulder pop completely out of joint or be ASMO’d? Just keep pushing.
  • The toilet paper always pulls out from the top of the roll. Seriously. Don’t make this mistake.

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