BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan — The Command Sergeant Major of Headquarters Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps is pretty sure that EOD captain he was just talking with was being disrespectful to him, sources confirmed this morning.
“It wasn’t anything I could put my finger on,” said Sgt. Maj. Kevin Bush, rubbing his chin, “but I’m pretty sure that little shit was being disrespectful.”
The captain was conducting an informal briefing to the J3 and some of the Counter-IED Working Group on recent trends and bomber profiles, and was showing the men some actual evidence recovered from a bombing.
“So I interrupt him to tell him to straighten up,” Bush told reporters. “He had one hand in his pocket, he was wearing a Texas state flag on his plate carrier — completely against regulations — had his sleeves rolled up … hell, his pants were even outside his boots.”
“It just looked completely unprofessional,” added Bush, pausing to emit a streamer of tobacco juice into a Styrofoam cup with a piece of napkin in the bottom.
According to Bush, the captain stopped talking, stared at him, and then began to profusely apologize.
“At the time I accepted his apology, but the more I think about it now, the more I think he might have been sarcastic, like, insubordinate almost,” said Bush. “There was all this ‘I’ll straighten myself out, Sergeant Major,’ and ‘You’re right, it’s no excuse I’ve just come from being outside the wire for 36 hours, Sergeant Major’ and ‘I wish everybody could look as professional as you, Sergeant Major, with your spotless, tailored uniform and clean-shaven, freshly-showered face, Sergeant Major.”
Bush frowned, thinking about the incident.
“And then there was how everybody was grinning. I assumed they were just enjoying seeing a wayward young officer get put in his place, but now that I ponder it ... were they ... were they laughing at me?”
At press time, Sgt. Maj. Bush was hopelessly mired in an existential crisis while thinking over the incident.