As with all units, we become accustomed to the one or two sh*t bags hanging around, biding their time waiting until they ETS or to reenlist to rob Uncle Sam of a few more paychecks towards their under performance of a job.However, nothing has topped my experiences with PVT Gravy. She earned her name from letters left unsecured in a wall locker or personal drawer.I sh*t you not, at a minimum of twice a week, PVT Gravy’s sh*t was scattered across the kill zone. It was often picked through by Drill Sergeants for reading material during Sergeant’s time training. We learned the infatuation she held for certain NCOs donning the round brown, her disdain of other Privates by name in our platoon. Also her love of Gravy and her ability to eat a package-worth per day, and how the struggles of Basic Training didn’t meet her expectations.Due to her high expectations, our Drill Sergeants did their best to turn up the heat. 2nd through 4th platoon is marching to chow? 1st would sprint around the complex to make it there. 35-pound foot march for the company? 1st platoon can do 45. Three-mile formation runs? Yeah, lets make that four.
For the rest of us, it was exactly what we needed to better ourselves as warfighters, but for PVT Gravy, they seemed to meet and exceed her expectations. PVT Gravy was on her way to earning her Ranger tab, making it to sick call three times a week on average. About halfway through Basic however, we saw the sick call she was attending.On ammo detail, riding around in the back of a TMP, we see PVT Gravy at a bus stop on post. She’s outfitted in the standard summer IPFU, but with something shiny and yellow around her waist, making her the standard of safety. Our Drill Sergeant stops the van, asks her what in the f*ck she’s doing, and she ultimately fesses up after in-depth “questioning” that she wore it to blend in with permanent party.The Drill Sergeants made sure she was safe for the next few weeks, making her wear ACH, IBA, and Road guard vests at all times. Platoon getting smoked? Full kit. Platoon run? Full kit. Running to chow? Full kit. It didn’t take long for PVT Gravy to break.Thankfully, the Army got it right, and she was chaptered following an Article 15 around week 8. Not the funniest story, but it’s one of good NCOs accomplishing the “talent management” process the Army has been pushing.