The Fallen Star
Well, it finally happened. After 9 weeks of perfect dress inspection, I pulled the biggest blunder of all. I arrived at the Academy at 0630 on Friday with my carpool partners and as we were unloading our gear from the car, I realized I left my uniform at home. I turned to instant panic at the thought of being the only one in class without a uniform. I decided to race home, get my uniform and return to the academy late. I then realized this might be a bad idea so I raced up to the sergeant's office and contacted my recruit training officer (RTO). The RTO's are staff members that assist the sergeant and are our first contact in the chain of command -we never address the sergeant directly. I told the RTO I had forgotten my uniform and asked if I should return home to get it or just show up at inspection in my black and whites (dress shirt, slacks, and tie). He rolled his eyes in disgust and told me to dress in the black and whites. I then ran to the locker room and apologized in advance to the rest of my class for the punishment that would surely ensue.
The rest of the class was upset about the impending punishment but I think many were happy to see "the guy who never makes a mistake" be the one to make the biggest mistake of all. I got dressed, went to class and felt the anxiety build as dress inspection loomed. After an hour of class, we lined up and marched to the parade deck for flag raising and dress inspection. It was humiliating to be the only one in my class dressed in black and white. I could feel the recruits from the other classes staring, whispering and making faces about me as we passed by.
After the flags were raised, my class prepared for the inspection. The tension and anticipation of what was to come was killing me as I could see my sergeant in my peripheral vision approaching the class. I was soon in the pushup position as the rest of the class was checked for proper appearance. The sergeant then squatted down beside me and berated me for making such a stupid mistake. I did some pushups, accepted his criticism, and vowed to never make this mistake again. Luckily, the rest of the class was spared from punishment (for the time being).
I was embarassed for the rest of the day and became concerned when the staff announced a surprise exercise session right before lunch. We expected some kind of torture but it turned out to be a normal session moved up from the end of the day to lunch time to accommodate a late instructor. After the noontime run and workout, we were told to dress in our tactical uniforms (pants, t-shirt, and hat). One female recruit did not have her pants so our sergeant became very frustrated. Because of me and this other recruit, we had our uniform privilege taken away and were ordered to return to black and white dress on Monday.
I couldn't imagine that I'd be the one to make such a stupid mistake. My class was very supportive but I was still disappointed. We are only two weeks away from being the senior class at the academy and we're still making rookie mistakes.