Basic training 2013 at Relaxin Jackson. It’s our first FTX and we spent the day digging fox holes and practicing indirect fire drills. I was usually the guy doing the cliche loud descending pitch whistle like an incoming mortar. Our DS had brought us down into the woods on the edge of a swamp to dig our fox holes and set up 360 security. It was thick with vines and briars.
They had left us alone in the woods while they went up to the main part of the bivouac site to talk with the other DS’s or whatever they do when they aren’t yelling at us. It was after sunset and the woods were almost completely dark. After a few minutes of being alone in a peaceful place, a few of us started getting paranoid. We were sure it was a test and that our DSs were probably stalking up on us and if we weren’t pulling 360 security, we were gonna get smoked.
About half the platoon agreed to pull security. The other half was taking this rare opportunity to fraternize with the females. A few of us agreed we should take a knee and then lay down since a few minutes had passed but the others wanted no part.
That’s when I had a great idea on how to get everyone to lay down.
I let out a crystal clear descending whistle like a mortar. Someone yelled “Incoming!” And everyone hit the ground. I was pretty proud of myself until someone else yelled “12 o’clock, 300 meters!” Then forty three people including myself jumped up and started sprinting out of the woods into the bivouac site. I let out another whistle and everyone hit the ground again, wherever they happened to be which was a briar patch if they weren’t on the trail and few of us were.
In total I whistled three or four times and each time we all dropped on the ground from a dead run in the woods, in the dark. We ran straight into our drill sergeants, the company commander, the 1SG and the other three platoons who were in formation and at attention. Everyone was staring and we quickly realized we had f*cked up big time and made our Drill Sergeants look like idiots.
We were dragged back down into the swamp and put at front leaning rest while they questioned us to figure out what happened. I was thrown under the bus immediately as I was older than everyone else and rarely drew bad attention to myself. No one admitted to yelling “incoming” or “12 o’clock, 300 meters” and no one gave them up. We got smoked for almost an hour and there were bugs and spiders crawling all over us when we were done. I also had to write a 1000 word essay on the army values. It’s the only time I ever got someone else smoked and I wouldn’t change a thing if I could do it again.