Now when I say this was a room of junk I may have overstated the severity of the items. Now it was a mess but it wasn't junk. Aside from the cheap ornaments the stuff was actually interesting. Old trophies from military competitions long past, photos from mess dinners, stainless steel pots and pans, countless utensils and even some silverware thrown in the mix. The army buys the best because it truly does travel on its stomach. Like every problem with the military the root cause is generally piss poor planning and management. So for the day we pretended to be explorers seeing who could find the oddest or amazing find in the piles.
Typical Contents of a Canadian Ration Pack or Individual Meal Pack (I.M.P.)A side note of sorts. It's a truly misheld belief that Army food is terrible. I never ate so well up to that point in my life. Well at least the cooked stuff, the food we get in our rations is so-so, but I bet you never ate sirloin steak or chicken casserole with rice (my favorite) on your last camping trip. And usually the bad taste is caused from not having enough time to prepare it because your schedule is too packed doing missions. A "treat" in the Army is having a ration pack fresh off the LAV (Light armoured vehicle) heating unit in some places.
We finished up around late afternoon. And notified Derek.
"Wow guys. Just wow!" He said. "I never seen this place look so good. And it's all organized. This is great. Thank you so much. I'm definately going to send a letter of thanks to your boss."
A letter of thanks is an official thumbs up on a letter. It says thanks for the support and singles out work done by people. Officers hardly read it and it goes in your permanent record. You might thinks it's a waste of time, but during your "reviews" for promotions, etc. it jogs your bosses memory and becomes really useful. The problem is no one ever writes them and motivated young troops usually get shafted (this is me speaking generally and not bitterly).
"Yes Master....umm...Derek!" We said almost in unison.
We even got a meal from the cooks in the officers mess before we left. There was only one problem though. Military decorum wouldn't allow us to eat on those comfy couches we saw earlier. So our meal was a little less enjoyable and a bit more rushed as we ate amongst the officers in "their" mess hall. We finished our meals, said our good byes and made our way back to the PAT classroom to go back into the rotation after a job well done.
Back in the classroom we came back to a room full of guys watching the wall mounted issued clock out of the corner of their eye. Not used to such behaviour I asked Dashed what it was about.
"Oh, it's when we go do P.T." P.T. is short for Physical Training. Think of your high school gym class only tougher and you have three or four guys teaching it who are actually in shape and care if you are failing.
"Oh really, what do you guys usually do?" I asked curiously as previous images of "death-runs" from basic training filled the forefront of my mind.
"Not much. We go to the base gym and do whatever we want for an hour. Sometimes we play ball hockey or soccer." He replied.
"Wow, cool. Sounds fun." I responded. This was a very rarely spoken phrase when the topic of P.T. came up, unless you were a masochist or in the Air Force.
We all shoot up in our chairs. Some guys almost jumping out of theirs as the sharp disturbance to their slumber jump started their brain. The Warrant walked in gave the relax command and spoke:
"Ok, P.T. at the gym. Role call at 3:30. If one of you fu**s off. You're getting charged." He spoke matter of factly. "Getting Charged" means being punished via the military administratively, legally, or corporally. It's basically the backbone of military discipline.
As quick as it happend it was over. We went back to our rooms on base (those of us who lived on base) and changed into gym clothes (a.k.a. "PT-strip") and made our way to the gym where we all met in the front foyer and role call was done by the clerk James. The scammers had their medical excuses ready and handy and were exempted from participating or at a pace that made you wonder why the changed their clothes at all. At the end we were free to do our own P.T. and I went off all did some cardio machine work for a half hour. After a quick water break I saw one of my four roommates Matt and asked him off hand what was going on etc and if any sports were going on I could join in.
"Pffft. There would have to be people here for that to happen. Probably max ten guys still left including us" He said dismissively.
"What do you mean?" I asked puzzled.
"Look around man, how many people do you still see here?" He said.
I took another look, and while I had been on PAT only a short while I had agood enough memory to at least remember some faces. There really wasn't any bulk of the platoon I had seen earlier in the day.
"But...but...the Warrant said." I muttered.
"Yup, and look what that did." He said as he went back to workout some more.
Never had the concept of disobeying an order outright ever crossed my mind. Sure I had day dream fantasy of championing a wronged superior in some far off "Casualties of War" type fantasy. But never in real life had I seen any reason to not do what I was told. Liberal education be damned. I knew that "book talk" didn't cut it and the concept of "If I just explained" was well not in some senior soldiers mental phrase book.
What did they send me too?
To be continued...