MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Some National Guard soldiers thought they had September off but instead faced mandatory fun days, sources confirmed.
The National Guard had announced at the beginning of September that, due to budget constraints, drill would be canceled for almost all units across the U.S. However, the Pentagon shuffled budgets around at the last minute and announced drills for many units immediately prior to the final weekend of the month.
"Fortunately, we were able to move some money and get these soldiers back where they belong, sitting on their armory floor looking at Facebook on their phones," said Maj. Thomas Peters, a public affairs officer for the National Guard Bureau. "Because this was a last minute decision, the NGB has decided to make drill optional for those units whose cancellations had previously been announced."
"However, we were unable to stop unit commanders from forcing troops to gather reluctantly together for unit picnics and other types of 'mandatory fun,'" Peters added
Pvt. Michael Andrews, the soldier in your platoon who is always asking for gas money to get to drill, was thrilled, at first. "I was all, 'You mean drill is optional? Fuck yeah! I'm not going!'
"I didn't even care if they're going to take out four months of back life insurance premium because I haven't been to drill in months," said Andrews.
Andrews reports he was devastated when informed that he would be expected to attend his commander's scheduled unit picnic.
"I don't even really like half these fuckers," Andrews said. "And I definitely don't want to be stuck playing the saddest game of volleyball of my life against aging sergeants and officers."
Spc. Edinson Perez added that he was worried about some of the NCOs. "I was worried my platoon sergeant would break his hip again like last year," Perez said.
Commanders had a different perspective. One company commander, Capt. Leroy Putman, was adamant that his soldiers show up for a day of fun, food, and bitching.
"There's no way I was going to let an optional drill rain on my command picnic," said Putman. "My wife was planning this picnic for over six months on this drill weekend and I made sure to let my troops know that it's not mandatory, but they will be carried unsat if they didn't show up," he added.
When asked what the goal of the so-called "mandatory fun day" was, Putnam responded, "I just want all my soldiers to get together and have fun."
"You know," Putnam continued, "like last time we had a company party and some specialist got drunk and took a swing at the first sergeant."
"It's team building," he concluded.
"Unfortunately, I can't be there. I really wish I could, but I've got a flight to catch early in the morning. I've instructed the first sergeant to get a sign in roster for the event though," said Putman.