FORT HOOD, TX — Second Platoon Leader Lt. Wilson Fraiser was recently replaced by a lovable, Dickensian, orphan chimney-sweep named Archibald Winters III, sources confirmed on Monday.
Such children were often found on the streets of 19th Century London and were made famous by the novels of Charles Dickens. Universally praised for their wily dispositions, resourcefulness, and can-do attitude, street orphans, such as Oliver Twist, often take work as chimney sweeps, muck gatherers, and factory hands.
Sources say Archibald was purchased by the Battalion S3 shop from a local workhouse for three Guineas, two shillings, and a ha’penny. His “Contracte off indenturefhip” provides that the young roustabout is indebted to work “during all houref of natural funlight and eight” and further provides for an annual surety of “one halfe” lumps of coal.
“This is part of a larger Army experiment concerning the continued viability of lower ranking officers,” reports Col. Ryan Jackson, Battalion Commander. “We feel that little Archie is going to fit right in with the team.”
Archibald’s reception has been mixed. While quite adorable with his flatcap, threadbare britches, and archaic Cockney accent, Archie has been found demanding by the soldiers under his care.
“Oi, Guv’na! Ey, lads, round up your arses and square up! I’ll be hearin’ none of your Irish lies ‘bout them connexes either!” Archie screamed while flailing a riding crop at a lower enlisted soldier in the motor pool. “You’re a right square-rigged chap, aren’t you, Johnson?” he added, as he beat a straggler.
“He’s a goddamned little sadist,” said Pvt. Teddy Johnson during his seven-and-a-half minute gruel break.
Despite the grumblings of the rank and file, Archibald has routinely impressed his command.
Camouflage netting is rolled, in Archie’s words, “as tight as the Vicar’s wife,” and the motor pool is spotless due to Archie’s liberal distribution of “strokes” — a euphemism for caning which quickly ceased to produce giggles from Pvt. Johnson. Further, superiors laud the orphan’s willingness to sleep in broom closets, forgo pay altogether, and soldier on through a recent bout with consumption.
“I just wish all of my junior officers showed the ingenuity of that 11-year-old boy,” said Lt. Col. Justin Shill, the battalion commander.
Due to Archie’s success and the recent sequestration of funds, the Army is considering piloting this program in other units.
Obstacles remain to an Army-wide implementation, however. Congressional hearings need to be conducted, and a request for proposal must be put out to bid for contractors to supply Cockney orphans. The Pentagon has already begun discussions with a disabled veteran-owned Romanian human trafficking business. “We tattoo funny, veteran-oriented messages on them,” a source with the business said.