You know when you’re in control of your life. You go through the days, weeks, months and things are just working for you. HOWEVER, we all know there is always another hurdle to go through.
The last week in AIT Training, instead of getting orders though the regular channels, my Captain and Company Commander calls me into HQ Barracks. He says, “Soldier, you are lucky.” “Yes, Sir, Captain.” “Captain, you’ve been chosen.” ” Yes Sir, Chosen?” From where I am standing at this moment in my life, chosen can mean a lot of things. Holding my breath I say, “Yes, Sir, Captain.” “Soldier, you have been chosen to attend the Non-Commissioned Office School in Fort Benning, Georgia. We need to fill the ranks with more NCOs.” “Yes Sir.” “Soldier, here are your orders. The good news is that the school that trains the NCOs is the same outfit that trains our brave Rangers. You will have the best training to become a NCO. You can go home for a week and then report on the 15th. NCO school starts on the 16th.
Non-Commissioned Office Training
Did you think that Basic Training and AIT Training was the toughest training you would go through? Think again. The drill sergeants that trained you in the NCO training center seemed to have come out of a time zone of absolute control and expertise. They knew everything, did everything, and always looked like they could manage and take charge of whatever occurred in the next moments of their life. This was actually very good because the candidates that showed up for NCO School at Fort Benning, Georgia were no slouches either. When the drill sergeants told us to run at 4:30 AM, we ran. We ran good and hard and long. When we lapelled down the training walls, we did it with the courage that was incubating and taking hold of our confidence. When we performed night maneuvers and stayed up all night knowing the next day we would be doing more training, the saying was. “We got this, what’s next?”
One of the duties as corporals (that’s the rank we held during our training) was to be First Sergeant for the training day. This was an exacting task. When picked for this duty the night before, you would attend the established NCO meeting with the lieutenants and captain for the briefing on the protocol for the next day’s training. When the next morning came, you were in the spotlight calling out the full company unit to order and asking for the report, which would come from the platoon sergeants. It would go something like this:
“COMPANY A-ten-shun.” Pause. Everyone was in the “do not move” position.
The next command is “REPORT.”
The platoon sergeants of each of the four platoons snapped a perfect salute, then each reported and said:
“First platoon all present and accounted for.”
“Second platoon all present and accounted for.”
“Third platoon all present and accounted for.”
“Fourth platoon all present and accounted for.”
You, very smartly with your best about-face, turned, then paused and saluted the company commander and said, “Sir, NCO Training Company, all present and accounted for.”
And that was just the beginning of the day.
– Coach Chris, VLP