While going through Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, I discovered that one of our drill sergeants had, over the years, developed an inordinate fondness for mortar simulators and smoke grenades. He lived for the Combat Obstacle Course, cheerily tossing about ordnance as we trainees crawled through the muck and under the barbed wire.
He delighted in sneaking up on any unsuspecting group of grunts he could find. Then, once in position, he would ignite a mortar simulator, throw it in their midst and scream, "Incoming!" After the flurry of scattering trainees, he would critique their performance.
The end to his sneak attacks came about while the entire company was on an overnight bivouac. After a ten mile march we set up camp near a rifle range we were to use the next day. The site chosen clung to the side of a steep hill, which figured prominently in the sergeant's undoing.
I had noticed him skulking about, a gleam in his eye and suspicious bulge in his BDU pocket. Figuring he was stalking fresh victims, I watched him closely. Soon he had found a dense enough concentration of trainees to make the expenditure worthwhile, and pulled out a white smoke grenade.
After a perfect toss, the grenade took an unfortunate bounce. Headed downhill, trailing billowing gouts of smoke, it was headed directly for the CP tent.
Head bobbing frantically as he watched the plummeting smoker, he shrieked out "Incoming!" just as the grenade flew under the tent. Within seconds it had filled with smoke, forcing the evacuation of the Captain, XO, and the First Sergeant.
Oddly enough, that DI wasn't allowed near any simulators or smoke grenades for the remainder of my training cycle, if ever.
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