“I’m going to enlist to be a soldier.” I comforted my family saying the military wasn’t the same as it was when my Uncle was in. “I will be a lean, mean fighting machine!” My friends were probably tired of hearing about the adventures, secret missions and wars I might be involved in.

After we received our uniforms, indoctrination and haircuts, it was time to officially begin Basic training and meet our Drill Sergeants. We heard all the myths about them and we convinced ourselves it was just that…myth. No one is that mean.

The bus transported us from one side of the base to another. There they were. Our Drill sergeants were waiting to welcome and greet us. They did look spit shined, professional, military and behind those dark sunglasses, looked very, very mean.

Every man’s ego blew right out the door of the bus when it opened.
“GET OFF MY BUS!’ “GET OFF THIS BUS NOW! I have never seen
such a more lazy flock of sheep in all my days. Get off this bus.”

No one wanted to get off that bus. We did though and paid dearly with orders, shouting, controlled chaos and pushups.
These self proclaimed mean lean fighting machines, were ready to go back to moms I told you so’s. What was the big deal? why not just say we’re glad and proud you’re here? The truth was we were not prepared for combat. They were letting us know things were about to..had to…change.

The same idea in everyday civilian life, there are days it cannot stay the same. We have to get “off the bus” and do whatever you have been called to do.

In a weeks time we still feared the Drill Sergeants. It was more like revered them. Though we went on to a number of years of peacetime, we were prepared for the alternative.

Now these forty years later I still remember and respect those drill sergeants that pushed me to a new confidence and to “Get off the bus.”