Doing Army stuff is awesome. Except that it starts so early, the time is best described as “yesterday.”
It’s not uncommon to hear (through my ears), something along the lines of “Formation at Yesterday O’Clock, soldiers! Then we head to the range for M-16 qualifying.”
I assume he means we will be qualifying with the rifles by the light of Orion’s belt, since that will be the major source of target illumination for the next 5 hours.
My particular training class has a group of Army Rangers in it, along with some Special Forces guys too. They all decided to hang up the guns and take up stethoscopes as P.A.’s and pursue things in life, like hobbies and families. As you might expect, these guys can handle Yesterday O’Clock better than anyone.
It’s a bit mystical, really. In our tent of 30 men, someone starts to stir at the ungodly prescribed hour, and everyone just organically follows suit. Soon every guy in the tent is methodically working step-wise to primp themselves (Army-style, more on that later) for another dimly lit Army morning.
Everyone except the 4 Rangers. They stay there, still as statues, enshrouded in their sleeping bags while the tent becomes a kicked anthill of activity. The minutes tick by, the spectre of arriving to formation suffusing the humid tent’s air.
Maybe these Ranger guys so easily stare down scary things like being late to formation because they’ve stared down much scarier things, like death via hot shrapnel. Whatever. Fine. But here in our little AMEDD training world, being late to formation is scary. And being late is easy, because it’s scheduled so freaking early, it’s yesterday o’clock.
As the appointed “time” (more of a philosophical concept, this early in the morning) approaches, a frantic rush ensues. In desperation, we huff out to stand in our little box of humans, also called “formation.” And guess who’s standing there, looking sharp and ready to plant a spear in a saber-tooth bear?
The Rangers. 2 minutes ago these guys were lined up on their cots like 3-toed sloths on an ativan drip. The rest of us have been running around for 45 minutes.
“Where you guys been?” One of them asks, as I run up, wild-eyed and still priffing with my uniform. “We’ve been here since yesterday.”