Even people that have not been in the military have heard the term "Hurry up and wait." I was driving home from a work trip tonight with my boss, who is a retired Marine, and we started swapping stories of all the times we had to sit around wasting time while we were in the military. Wasting time is a common thing that all service members remember. It is inevitable when you have to move or deal with a large amount of people and complex logistical or operational issues. Intellectually I know why it happened but it still didn't make it any less painful. I bet some of the scenarios below bring back some memories for a few folks.
Scene: Barracks/Platoon Office 82nd Airborne Division early 1980's
After being in the field for 2 weeks on some local training our Infantry Company had returned to the barracks and Company area and we were to pull maintenance and clean all Platoon equipment before we were to be released for the weekend.
Platoon Sergeant: Is that weapon clean Private?
Me: Yes Sergeant!!!
Platoon Sergeant opens his desk drawer and pulls out a paper clip. He straightens it out and inserts the straightened end through a small barely noticeable hole located in the front sight assembly. A little cone of dirt/carbon falls out.
Platoon Sergeant: WTF Dickweed!!! Get out of my office and come back when this weapon is clean!!! Next time bring your squad leader and if it is dirty you will both be in the front lean and rest position!!!!
Me to myself: Holy Hell I didn't even know that hole was there, This sucks
Repeat 200 times for every man in the Company and add 7 more hours.
Scene: Barracks 10th Mountain Division Late 1980's
As a Cadre member and squad leader in newly formed COHORT unit I had to prepare my squad for the dreaded IG inspection.
Me: Hey dipshit you need to canoe that sleeping bag properly and get all those black marks off your canteen cup.
Private: What is canoeing a sleeping bag?
Me: Good Lord, didn't they teach you anything in basic training? Roll up the sides of your sleeping bag like a canoe and lay all your gear in the middle per SOP.
Private: I tried to get those black marks off the canteen cup but they won't come off.
Me: Well genius that is what Clothing Sales stores are for, go buy a new one for inspections and leave that one for actual field use.
Private: We can do that?
Me: Yes, now hurry the fuck up before SFC T chews my ass for you guys being a soup sandwich!!
Scene: Army Airfield 10th Special Forces Group early 1990's
During one of our quarterly Military Freefall refreshers the wind picked up and we were stuck on the airfield for quite some time waiting for it to die down. We had one scheduled jump left to re qualify as Level 1 Military Free Fall parachutists prior to our deployment to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Ft Chaffee AR.
Me: Hey Mark I have to piss
Team Sergeant: If you unrig I will have to JMPI you again
Me: Crap, that means I have to take off my rucksack,weapon and Oxygen bottle just to take a piss
Team Sergeant: Just undo your leg strap and move your kit bag out of the way, then I can JMPI just that part
Me: Ok but when is the Bird going to be here?
Team Sergeant: When the winds get below 18 knots
Me: Can't we just cancel this stupid jump and go drink beer?
Team Sergeant: For the 100th time no
Scene: Local Training Area 10th Special Forces Group Germany late 1990's
Doing some local hide site construction and surveillance training, during this team training event our Team Sergeant and Team Leader had a little conversation
Team Sergeant: No, we need to go this way and construct the hide sites along this area over here.
Team Leader: I think they would be much better over here, better observation and fields of fire. More cover and concealment.
Team Sergeant: I disagree, you guys go over here and start constructing your hides. I will be by later to take a look at them and critique them.
Team Leader: Why are they going over there? I just said they would be better over here.
Team Sergeant: Because I have been doing this for 20 years and you have been on a team for all of two years, so your fuck'in opinion doesn't matter!
Team Leader: Oh
Scene: 10th Special Forces Group Romanian Hotel Room Early 2000's
Our Company was staging in Romania prior to the invasion of Iraq. The entire Battalion was basically on lock down inside this large hotel on the Romanian Coast. It would have been nice if it wasn't like being in prison.
Sergeant Major: You Team Sergeants need to keep these guys busy and do team training.
Me: SGM we have packed and repacked our gear, we have cross trained and practiced SOP's about as much as we can in a frickin hotel hallway.
Sergeant Major: Well the Major doesn't want to see guys laying on their beds watching "The Nanny" reruns dubbed in German. So do something, get creative.
Me: This is BS, any idea when we are getting the fuck out of here?
Sergeant Major: Nope
Me: Ok more mortar crew drills in the basement it is. My guys are going to love me
I spent 22 years in the military. I probably spent 2 years of that waiting for something to happen. Looking back on it now, it is somewhat humorous, at the time it was retarded.