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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: The Platoon Sergeant’s guide to dealing with Lieutenants

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Are you a Platoon Sergeant struggling to deal with a pesky young lieutenant? Do you need new ways to say “up yours” while still remaining superficially professional?

Every day Staff NCOs just like you strive to find dubiously respectful methods to remind butter bars that they have no idea what they’re talking about. Here are some tips to keep lieutenants powerless while still letting them think that they’re in charge.

#1 – The Empty Compliment

Sergeant Major Michael Barrett

“Lookin’ good, Sir!”

Lieutenants don’t often get compliments, because, let’s face it, they don’t often do things worth complimenting. Therefore, if you compliment them in front of others, they will be indebted to you no matter how meaningless the praise. You won’t even lose face because every one except them knows you’re kidding!

“Hey Sir, your platoon looked good out at the range!” It doesn’t matter whether they looked good or not, or even if they went to the range at all.

#2 – The Stare Down

Sgt. Maj. Kasal mastered “the stare down” as a Platoon Sergeant.

Like dogs, lieutenants can’t look you in the eye for more than a few seconds. If they disagree with you, just hold eye contact for five to 10 seconds and they will back down.

#3 – “In My Experience…”

Army Land Nav Course

This lieutenant is probably lost.

Whenever a lieutenant begins a sentence with “in my experience,” ask him to clarify which experience, specifically, he is referring to. As he relates a story about his high school tennis team, politely remind him that you were slaying insurgents in Fallujah while he was struggling to get to third base with Janie Daniels at junior prom. 

#4 – The Stack Glance

Not a lieutenant. (Wikimedia Commons)

If you’re wearing a dress uniform and are stuck in another horrible conversation with a lieutenant who is talking about CrossFit, the Naval Academy, or his new Dodge Charger, just glance briefly but obviously at his awards (or lack thereof), then casually adjust yours. He will become acutely aware of his inadequacy and be forced to end the conversation.

#5 – The Premature Salutation

Cliché picture of lieutenant saluting.

Sometimes you just can’t avoid crossing paths with a lieutenant while outdoors, but you definitely can’t give him the satisfaction of a salute. At a range of 4-6 paces, raise your hand as if saluting. When he returns the salute, just scratch your ear or adjust your hair instead, then smile and keep walking. If he tries to correct you, apply rule #2.

#6 – Appeal to Doctrinal Authority

Some doctrinal publications.

Lieutenants look at doctrine and other authoritative documents as a sort of military Bible. Whenever the ‘good idea fairy’ strikes just say, “Sir, I don’t think that’s in Joint Pub 3-02.” By the time he reads through the whole publication to confirm it, his original idea will be irrelevant.

#7 – The E-8 Exit

First Sgt. talking to a lieutenant. (Wikimedia Commons)

Lieutenants like to ramble, and sometimes your typical exit strategy isn’t tenable (see rule #4). If you’re caught in this situation, just stand at the position of attention, yell the proper greeting of the day, then promptly turn and leave. Typically only performed by E-8s and above, this can be executed by well trained E-6s and E-7s in extremis.

#8 – The Long Con

Soldiers pondering ways not to do whatever it is the lieutenant is saying.

When all other tactics fail, remember that he’ll be changing billets in a year or two, but you’re in it for the long haul. “That’s a great idea Sir, I think if we wait ’til the next fiscal year to start planning it, we can get the funding and make it happen.”

It’s a win-win. You’ll get your way, and you’ll prepare the mark for his first staff job by helping him understand that his ideas will always be crushed under the weight of bureaucracy.

#9 – Mentorship

One day he’ll be a man. (Wikimedia Commons)

Remember, it’s your job to mentor your lieutenant so that one day he can grow into a real man. Nurture his supple mind, but don’t go easy on him.

As a wise man once said, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to fuck with every lieutenant you meet.”

A demobilized Mobile Infantryman currently serving as Chief Cryptozoologist for the State of Rhode Island, he specializes in growing mustaches, deadlifting in silkies, and picking fights with '90s-era wrestlers. @theschmedium

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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: Tucker Max gives your weekend safety brief

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It was Friday in Camp Lejeune, the Marine base in North Carolina, where a lot of Marines are stationed. A bunch of grunts (those are Marines who are infantry Marines) were gathered on the field but not in formation yet, because they hadn’t been called to formation, but they were going to be soon.

The grunts were talking about all the cool parties and things they were going to do, mostly planning to drink a lot, and bang whores and sluts. One of the Marines, named SteelBlade because names like that are cool, said “I’m going to get so much pussy this weekend!”

Another Marine named DragonKnife, said “I’m going to get SO MUCH pussy! And have lots of alcohol and more sex!”

Steelblade: “Here comes Staff Sgt. Drunkrage Python!” The Marines fell into formation as Staff Sgt. Drunkrage Python walked up. He was a good looking, strong man, who had a giant dick, and got laid all the time because he was a super cool Marine man.

“Listen up Marines!” Drunkrage Python shouted, his voice was loud, and all the Marines listened up, because they respected Drunkrage Python. “Let me tell you a story about what I did last weekend, and I don’t want you to do any of it!”

Drunkrage Python: “I went out to a bar and started drinking but the place was bullshit because they didn’t have well.” (Drunkrage Python said ‘well’ like he heard someone say ‘well drinks’ once but didn’t want to admit he didn’t know what it meant so he said it in a way that didn’t make sense.)

“So I got really drunk and I noticed this girl was giving me the eye, and she was a genuine five star, like skinny runway model with massive tits, and so I go over to her, and I say ‘Hi,’ and she blew me in the bathroom. After the blowjob I started driving her back to her place, to have sex with her, and her three other model roommates, and I dropped her off, and went to park. I tried to park but I drove the car into a dry cleaners.”

“I realized I had to get out of there, so I jumped out of the car, but my stomach started gurgling, and I shit my pants right there, and wiped my ass with a Japanese businessman’s suit. Then I ran out of the dry cleaners because nobody had called the cops or anything. This is exactly how this all happened.

“The night was still young so I went to a strip club nearby, and a super hot stripper started giving me a lap dance. Then she asked if I wanted to rent a champagne room and I talked her into paying for it, and we went back there and we totally fucked.”

“After that I realized the model, and all her friends were still waiting for me, so I started going back to their place, but some big meathead dude stopped me and was like ‘hey I know you, you’re Drunkrage Python!’ and I was like ‘yeah so what?’ and he was like ‘you slept with my girlfriend!’ and I was like ‘yeah I probably did but I don’t remember because I bang so many whores,’ and he was like ‘don’t call my girl a whore!’ He tried to hit me but I kicked his ass.

“Then I went and had sex with all five of the model chicks who were all smoking hot.”

Drunkrage Python paused so his story would sink in with the Marines. He spoke again.

Drunkrage Python: “But I do stuff like that all the time so I forgot about it until a few minutes ago. Oh yeah, I also fucked a midget once. They’re going to make a movie about it. It’s going to be the #1 R-rated comedy of all time, because it’s so hilarious, and everyone in Hollywood has no idea what they’re doing, which is why my movie is going to be so amazingly awesome, and hilarious.”

“If you’re going to do stuff like that, make sure you’re cool, but you’re all cool because you’re Marines, you can do all this crazy stuff and never run into the cops at all.”

The Marines nodded. They understood. They each bought 50 copies of Drunkrage Python’s book and a bunch of female Marines went to Drunkrage Python’s website and applied to have sex with him. He only had sex with the hotties.

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Air Force

DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: 15 questions for your new interpreter

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1. WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

2. Why are you 3 hours late?

3. Wait, you were just a goat farmer yesterday?

4. Jesus Christ, what do you mean you need to get back to your goats?

5. No, I don’t want a goat, will you just get in the damn truck?

6. Does anybody know where the hell we got this guy from?

7. No sir, we are still five mikes out. Did you know he was a goat farmer?

8. Why can’t you get out of the truck?

9. You don’t think I know it’s dangerous here?

10. Will you just put your helmet on, so we can go talk to this guy?

11. Is this man an insurgent?

12. What do you mean “what is an insurgent?”

13. I don’t feel like I am yelling at you, do you feel like I am yelling at you?

14. What the hell, you’re quitting???

15. (To self, roughly two weeks later): Wait, why is my old interpreter shooting at us?

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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: Ayn Rand gives your weekend safety brief

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I do not know why you all look to me to give you direction for your weekend activities, much less your lives. Had I the choice, I would remove the shackles the lieutenant has placed upon me concerning your lives, and indeed, those of him upon me.

Sir, are these men and women not motivated to keep safe by their own interest? What strength have my cautions against their own instinct of self-preservation? Further, how might you defend your insistence to the troops in avoiding the excess of alcohol, while your Facebook account shows you naked and drunk during your stay at the Academy?

Alas, the detestable authority over me forces my hand.

Men, women, Marines: as you decide the course your weekend shall take you, make choices by your own free will, and serve neither master nor god. Satisfy your urges for drink (though, preferably, without excess exuberance), and consider with appropriate conscionability your willingness to drive thereafter. Do not compel another individual to satisfy your sexual urges. Rather, seek consent; the freedom of choice. Upon reaching agreeable terms for intercourse (whether for mutual enjoyment or a monetary sum), weigh your own risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.

But the question is not what will I let you do; it’s who is going to stop you? This payday weekend, remember that money is but a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it does not replace you as the driver. You can evade reality during liberty, but you cannot avoid the consequences when you stand in front of the sergeant major.

Failure to account for a risk is the definition of idiocy. Should you return on Monday morning a cripple, rapist, or herpetic, you will have made yourself a fool, thus committing the greatest evil upon yourself.

Then I will make my disdain for you clear: I will put you forward for NJP, and end my unwanted involvement in your affairs.

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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: Holden Caulfield gives your weekend safety brief

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If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where the hookers are, and where to get drunk cheap, and who sells meth the cheapest, and what a bunch of disappointing jerks you all are, and all that Gunny Highway kind of crap.

In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second, the company commander would crap a red star cluster if I went into it. He’s quite touchy about anything like that, especially since the last first sergeant got a DUI but they managed to cover it up. The company commander thinks he’s going to get a star, and he’ll put his mouth anywhere on anyone he thinks can get him one. And even though he preaches all the time about “do the right goddam thing!” he’s definitely not above completely lying to hide a mistake if he thinks he can get away with it.

Stay away from Antolini’s whore house. Yeah, sure, on the outside it looks just like a regular place, but the guys and girls in there are not your friends. This one time, I went there with a buddy. And we are in the bar waiting for our dates, and the bartender fixes me a highball of some sort of drink I’d never had. He makes them real strong, you can tell. Then something happened. I don’t even like to talk about it. I woke up all of a sudden on a couch. I woke and there’s some guy’s hand on my head. What it was, it was Mr. Antolini’s hand. He was rubbing my high-and-tight.

“What the hellya doing?” I yelled at him. Boy I was shaking like a madman. Whenever something perverty happens to me, I start sweating. That kind of thing has happened to me like 20 times since I was a private. So stay out of the whore house.

Now you might be tempted to walk over toward Broadway, just for the hell of it. Don’t. Jesus Christ, just don’t, okay? The liquor stores are full of Russian mafia guys who just can’t wait to steal your identity, see? I mean, full of them. Don’t even take your credit card with you, unless you want to be buying a goddam Russian oligarch’s girlfriend her next fake tits.

If you go to Hooters, that’s probably okay. But you have to stay out of the goddam bar next to Hooters. I went in there one time when I was an E-4, me and old DeShaun. Between he and I, we were pretty drunk, I don’t mind telling you, when this one goddam civilian starts trying to bother old DeShaun. Well, I got busted right in the goddam mouth but good. But old DeShaun put that guy right in the hospital. Which was too good for him. That guy should have wound up a lot worse than in the hospital. So stay out of the goddam bar next to Hooters.

Unless you want to wind up like the guy who had this job before me, wear a rubber. Jesus, okay? Not that it’s any of my business. But I don’t want it to have to become my goddam business either.

That’s all I’m going to tell you about. I could probably tell you what I am going to drink after I get home, or which gun I’m going to point at my temple and put in my mouth, and what happened to the money I saved for retirement, but I don’t feel like it. I really don’t. That stuff doesn’t interest me too much right now. If you want to know the truth, I don’t know what I’m even doing here. I really don’t.

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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: Jesus gives your weekend safety brief

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jesus brief

Greetings brothers and sisters. Before you go forth, allow me to bestow on you some wisdom. I feel like my Father hit these main points about 4,000 years ago, but some of you need a reminder.

For starters, no gods before me and no idols, okay? What that means is do not worship at the altar of Coors Light. Think “What would Jesus do?” not “How many shots can I do?”

Don’t take my name in vain, and really, just watch your mouth in general. The way some of you talk would make Satan blush. It is not okay to tell the young lady who works at McDonald’s you want some “effing fries” and her “digits if she wants to get freaky.”

Keep holy the Sabbath, which for you is midnight tonight or 1600 Sunday, if you filled out the appropriate liberty paperwork. In other words, don’t miss curfew.

Honor your mother and father, or your first sergeant, for you orphans in the barracks. I know they taught you to dress in an appropriate manner, which does not include showing the world your undergarments, midriff, cleavage, or any portion of your backside.

Don’t kill anyone, okay? That’s a biggie right there. Not only is it a mortal sin, which would cause you to burn in hell for all eternity, but it is a massive mountain of paperwork for the staff.

No adultery, folks. You should only “know” your own husband or wife. And while we’re on the topic of marriage, don’t go out and get married this weekend unless you have your commanding officer’s permission. Especially don’t get married to someone you meet at an establishment that has fire poles, mechanical bulls or neon lighting as part of the décor.

Stealing, even if it’s just a pack of smokes or $10 from your passed-out roommate, will get you brig time, my friend. If you hadn’t wasted all that money on a car with tricked out wheels and a BOSE sound system from that used car lot out the back gate, you could afford that new Xbox console you’ve been coveting. Speaking of coveting, that’s technically a sin too. You should really just save your money for things like college, retirement or a trained lawyer, since you’ll probably need one someday.

Lying – yeah, you’re bad at that, and I would know, since just like Santa and the gunny, I know everything you do. Yes, we saw you miscounting the situps (sinner), we know what you do in the shower (mortal sinner) and we know about the 6-pack under your rack (underage sinner). It’s better to just man/woman-up and admit your mistakes, and they might be more lenient on you at company NJP.

Go in peace to love and serve Me and behave yourself, or I swear to Buddha, I will tell the first sergeant what you really keep in your footlocker.

Duffel Blog writer Lee Ho Fuk contributed to this article.

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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: H.P. Lovecraft gives your weekend safety brief

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My knowledge of the thing began on Thursday, the seventh of September, with the imprisonment of my cousin Isaac Derleth for crimes related to drunken micturition in the town square. I paid his bail and, at his request, escorted him to a local tavern. I puzzled immediately over his paleness of skin and redness of eyes, and the manner in which he surveyed passers-by, as though they might have been sent to fetch him under the orders of some loathsome, unspeakable man-catcher.

It was not until he was deep into his cup that he offered something of an explanation for his finding such solace in the numbness of drink. My cousin spoke of strange weekend mornings when he had been called to report, for his soldiers, in the grip of dread Cthulhu, had imbibed weird liquors to excess, and smashed their automobiles into trees in mad worship.

His glass shook from trembling hands as he reported vile convocations in carnal temples, where men were seduced physically and monetarily by the gyrations and obscene waddlings of hideous, naked sirens of no small renown among the lost people of Sarnath.

These creatures took some of his men to marry, their minds held in thrall til they sought nothing but the acquisition of Coach bags and queer, Scentsy incense. Isaac himself had encountered what he named “formless servitors,” servants of slothful Tsathoggua, who hid behind masks of human flesh and enslaved servicemen in diabolical vehicle contracts at 19% APR.

The woeful tale of the events leading to his confinement disturbed me greatly. I excused myself, desperate to get free of that place, but not before he grabbed me by the coatsleeve and whispered a strange jumble of guttural noises in my ears. I have been unable to forget it since then. His father, my dear uncle August, had bequeathed his collection of ancient inscriptions and manuscripts to me upon his death in Providence. It was to this collection that I turned, feverishly searching for the words cousin Isaac had whispered.

To my eternal regret and fear, I have found them. Isaac’s word echoed the words of a squamous, half-bred collection of near-human creatures, known for their fearsome hatred of all men and lust for non-judicial punishment, the word-breaks being guessed at from the cadence of his speech: ph’nglui mglw’nafh First Sergeant Article 15- wgah’nagl fhtagn, which, being translated into the speech of common men, reads “in the 1st Sergeant’s hands, your Article-15 waits, dreaming.”

Loathsomeness and unspeakable errors wait in the minds of the junior enlisted, and decay spreads throughout the strange geometries of the barracks. A time will come when the terrible words of the Article-15 will be read aloud that all men may hear and tremble — but I must not and cannot think!

The walls! My god, the walls!

Lee Ho Fuk and She-Ra contributed to this article.

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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: Your weekend safety brief, Yoda gives

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DAGOBAH — Up you will listen, hmmm, yes!

The Force, it surrounds us. You, the rest of this formation, sergeant major, we are all part of the Force. Piss off the Force, and destroy you it will.

When drunk you are, drive you will not. Your instincts will not guide you. There is much beer that clouds your judgment, young drunk driver. If DUI you receive, trust in the Force to rip you a new one.

Marry a stripper you must not. Your feelings betray you. It doesn’t matter if your friends told you it’s worth the BAH. You must unlearn what you have learned.

Dancers, prostitutes, and strange women are strong with the Dark Side. Deceive you they will! Syphilis you will get, hmmm, yes. Whores not make one great.

If my weekend you disturb, ruin your life personally I will. Judge me by my size do you? And where you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.

If late on Monday you are, First Sergeant will smoke the company until you arrive. It is you and your humiliation the First Sergeant wants. That is why your friends are made to suffer.

Soon I will rest, and you should too. Monday at zero-six-hundred in PTs with reflective belts I will see you. Have a fresh haircut you will.

Released you are.

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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: Mother Goose gives your weekend safety brief

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mother goose

Hey! Private Diddle,
If it burns when you piddle,
Better see the Doc by noon;
The Corpsmen laughed
As they punched his bore
Diddle howled just like a baboon.

Hickory, dickory, dock,
This won’t end the way that you thought;
If you refuse NJP,
Soon you will see,
The Brig has got you on lock

There was an old stripper who didn’t look too bad
She had a few kids, on the prowl for a dad;
She gave up some tail to a new boot,
Now he has at the clap and she has the loot.

This little grunt hates field day
This little grunt hates pulling butts
This little grunt hates all POGS
This little grunt hates haircuts
This little grunt cried, “Wee, wee, wee!
My recruiter screwed me!
I wish I’d stayed home with my mom!”

Little Miss Muff,
Liked it a bit rough,
And often just gave it away.
But when she says no,
Even though she’s a hoe,
Your dumb ass had better obey.

One, two,
The UCMJ applies to you;
Three, four,
Can’t smoke dope no more;
Five, six,
Don’t be dicks;
Seven, eight,
You don’t rate;
Nine, ten,
Leave denied again;
Eleven, twelve,
Barracks looks like hell;
Thirteen, fourteen;
Underage drinking;
Fifteen, sixteen,
Duty NCO sleeping;
Seventeen, eighteen,
Shoulda checked her ID;
Nineteen, twenty,
NJP’s aplenty;
Thirty, forty,
Stick to your story!

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