GIs soon to brandish asparagus spears instead of bayonets

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Whatever happened to the taste of cold steel? The U.S. Army is forsaking bayonet training in favor of core-strength workouts and nutrition classes. Just imagine: the drill sergeant glowering at recruits who try to skip their orange juice and yogurt.

With the military ready to embrace gays (in a manner of speaking) and with the chilling order, “Fix bayonets,” about to become history, you have to wonder what is next. Soon the only punch a drill instructor will be able to administer will be contained in a bowl during the afternoon break.

The change in training apparently is the result of technological advances like the handheld rocket launcher that shoots around corners. The bayonet is “obsolete,” we are told. No longer will recruits fix bayonets and run, screaming “KILL” at a dummy, running it through under the watchful eye of the DI.

More pressing for the Army, which is introducing its new program at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, (of fond memory) is the need to shape up overweight recruits. The nation’s obesity problem has made its way into the military. Thousand-calorie burgers and fries, plus endless hours sitting at the computer playing games, apparently has produced a crop of fatties who can’t even run to the mess hall.

According to the media, mess halls will no longer serve fast foods (when did that start?). Instead there will be more vegetables, fruits, and low-cal desserts. DIs will meet the recruits with their full trays at the end of the line and “suggest” that they may want to eat a more balanced meal today.

Can you imagine the scenario as the troops fall in?

DI: All right, you maggots, stand at attention and listen up. I don’t want to see a single tray without broccoli. You get it?

Recruit Buttrey: Aw, Sarge, do we have to eat that stuff? I never even heard of it before.

DI (screaming): Who told you to talk, Numbnuts? Stand at attention and suck that gut in.

Buttrey: I am sucking it in, Sarge.

DI: That’s exactly the point, Fatso. More broccoli at home and you might be able to do more than two pushups.

Lieutenant (approaching): What’s going on, Sergeant?

DI: Just shaping these idiots up, Sir.

Lieutenant: So I see. Well, there’s no use in abusing these boys. As you know, the new guidelines suggest we show a bit more sensitivity.

DI: Yessir, you’re right.

Lieutenant (amiably): No need to tell me I’m right, Sergeant. It’s presumed I’m right. I’m an officer.

DI (after officer has departed): Wipe that grin off your stupid face, Buttrey. By the way, you need a double portion of broccoli tonight. And don’t forget the liver. It has your name on it.

Buttrey (speechless).

DI: All right, the rest of you scumbags, RIGHT FACE and head for the mess hall. Buttrey, you stay here and give me three.

The platoon marches off and Pvt. Buttrey drops to the ground to do his pushups.

A gross exaggeration? Maybe, but I fear the worst. Once upon a time Napoleon treated a royalist mob with what he called “a whiff of the grape.” What he meant was grapeshot, small balls shot out of a cannon. It tends to settle disputes quickly.

I have this vision where “a whiff of the grape” in the new Army will mean a wine tasting just before the evening chow. Pinot Noir, any one?

Whiff of the grape…

About Stan Latreille 66 Articles
Stan Latreille is a novelist, blogger, lawyer, former newspaperman, and a retired Circuit Court judge. He is the author of "Perjury" and is working on a new novel, tentatively titled "Absolution."