PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. – We lined up in front of the bus at 0600, not one of us late for fear of incurring the wrath of the Sgt. Major. No one was willing to bring down that hammer upon their head (well, most of us anyway; there were a few brave souls who frequently tempted fate). Standing at attention or in some cases swaying at attention, we eagerly awaited the command to mount our assault on the bus’ padded seats.
Shortly thereafter, the sun crested on the shivering educators, huddled against the cold of the early morning as they watched the recruits preforming their early morning routine. Clad in muted green sweatsuits with reflector bands strapped horizontally around their midriffs, the recruits ran in units following in the wake of a flag bearer, a coveted position Maj. Miller assured me. The recruits wake up every morning at 0400, well before the sun begins its trek across the sky, and by the time we had arrived shortly after 0600, their morning physical fitness was well underway.
The green sweatshirts of the recruits were interspersed with the bright red shirts of the shouting drill instructors. I noticed one of the recruits, who upon completing a lap around the field began dry heaving in front of the AB station.
“No one cares!” screamed the drill instructor. “Get down there!”