Basic Training Story
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Life Lesson: True Leadership Learned on Graduation Day

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May 11, 2017
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This is a life lesson my DS taught me while in basic.I was at Fort Jackson in '05, near the end of the cycle. We were just days away from graduation and our DS cadre had us cleaning and inventorying all the gear for turn in. I was assigned to clean all the 1 and 2qt canteens. I was nearly finished cleaning all 600 of them, having washed, disinfected with bleach, organized them dress-right-dress on the formation pad to dry as ordered. My SDS, DS J comes storming in screaming about some shit, takes one look at my perfect arrangement of clean canteens, and then take a running swan dive into them, kicking them all over the pad, and telling me to redo all 600. I was PISSED.Fast forward 5 days: The graduation ceremony was over, families had come and gone, having picked up their soldier/family member. I was the lone wolf remaining, waiting for my family, sitting alone on the bleachers under the starship barracks with my bag waiting to be picked up.DS J shows up and I immediately snap to Parade Rest as he walks up, tells me to sit down and relax, that I was a soldier now and could relax a bit. All resemblance of a DS, campaign hat and the crazy fucker from BCT was gone. He asked what was up and why I was still there.After explaining that I was still waiting for my family, he called them and found out they weren't coming. He came back out to break the news that my family had yet again deserted me. He grabbed my bag and me by the arm, walked to his car and told me to get in, taking me out into town for a real lunch.After lunch he took me to the bus station, pulling $50 from his wallet, giving it to me for a bus ticket and a meal on the way home. (I lived in Virginia at the time). After 10 years in the Army, and several years as an NCO myself, I never forgot his example of living the NCO creed and how an NCO always takes care of his soldiers. I haven't seen DS J since, but I will never ever forget his example.To DS J: if you're reading this, I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate your example and have tried to exemplify this lesson to my own soldiers.Sgt C.Read more Basic Training Stories here.

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