There was a sergeant at a desk. I knew he was a sergeant because I recognized the marks on his uniform, and I knew it was a desk because it's always a desk. There's always someone at a desk, except when it's a table that functions as a desk. You sit behind a desk, and everyone knows you're supposed to be there, and that you're doing something that involves your brain. It's an odd, special kind of importance. I think everyone should get a desk; you can sit behind it when you feel like you don't matter.
I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary. People like Lori Piestewa and First Sergeant Dowdy who picked up fellow soldiers in harm's way. Or people like Patrick Miller and Sergeant Donald Walters who actually fought until the very end. The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes and they don't need to be told elaborate tales.
Emilia typed in her password and checked her inbox. A review by the Secretariat de Gobernacion of drug cartel activities across Mexico. A report of a robbery in Acapulco's poorest barrio neighborhood that would probably never be investigated. Notice of a reward for a child kidnapped in Ixtapa who was almost certainly dead by now. Her phone rang. It was the desk sergeant saying that a See±or Rooker wished to see her. Emilia avoided Rico's eye as she said, yes, the sergeant could let el see±or pass into the detectives' area. A minute later Rucker was standing by her desk, sweat beaded on his forehead. The starched collar of his shirt was damp. 'There's a head, ' he said breathlessly. 'Someone's head in a bucket on the hood of my car.
You'd like Freedom, Truth, and Justice, wouldn't you, Comrade Sergeant?' said Reg encouragingly. 'I'd like a hard-boiled egg, ' said Vimes, shaking the match out. There was some nervous laughter, but Reg looked offended. 'In the circumstances, Sergeant, I think we should set our sights a little higher-' 'Well, yes, we could, ' said Vimes, coming down the steps. He glanced at the sheets of papers in front of Reg. The man cared. He really did. And he was serious. He really was. 'But... well, Reg, tomorrow the sun will come up again, and I'm pretty sure that whatever happens we won't have found Freedom, and there won't be a whole lot of Justice, and I'm damn sure we won't have found Truth. But it's just possible that I might get a hard-boiled egg.
On a distant hilltop, twinkling like an early evening star, a white light was flashing. Blouse lowered his telescope. 'They're repeating "CQ", ' he said. 'And I believe those longer pauses are when they're aiming their tube in different directions. They're looking for their spies. "Seek You", see? Private Igor?' 'Thur?' 'You know how that tube works, don't you?' 'Oh, yeth, thur. You jutht light a flare in the box, and then it'th just point and click.' 'You're not going to answer it, are you, sir?' said Jackrum, horrified. 'I am indeed, sergeant, ' said Blouse briskly. 'Private Carborundum, please assemble the tube. Manickle, please bring the lantern. I shall need to read the code book.' 'But that'll give away our position!' said Jackrum. 'No, sergeant, because although this term may be unfamiliar to you I intend to what we call "lie", ' said Blouse. 'Igor, I'm sure you have some scissors, although I'd rather you didn't attempt to repeat the word.' 'I have thome of the appliantheth you mention, thur, ' said Igorina stiffly.
We have been waiting for an hour when we see a squad of German soldiers line up on the roadbed alongside the train. Next comes a column of people in civilian clothes. Surely they are Jews. All of them are rather well dressed, with suitcases in their hands as if departing peacefully on vacation. They climb aboard the train while a sergeant major keeps them moving along, 'Schnell, schnell.' There are men and women of all ages, even children. Among them I see one of my former students, Jeanine Cremieux. She got married in 1941 and had a baby last spring. She is holding the infant in her left arm and a suitcase in her right hand. The first step is very high above the rocky roadbed. She puts the suitcase on the step and holds on with one hand to the doorjamb, but she can't quite hoist herself up. The sergeant major comes running, hollers, and kicks her in the rear. Losing her balance, she screams as her baby falls to the ground, a pathetic little white wailing heap. I will never know if it was hurt, because my friends pulled me back and grabbed my hand just as I was about to shoot. Today I know what hate is, real hate, and I swear to myself that these acts will be paid for.
Tawny," I barked. My voice held the authority of a drill sergeant. She jumped. "I am NOT making out with you until the end of time. You want to do this, then you've got to work for it. Now, TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES." "Oh," said Hugh. "I've waited ten years to hear you say that to another woman.
The central attitudes driving the Drill Sergeant are: I need to control your every move or you will do it wrong. I know the exact way that everything should be done. You shouldn't have anyone else - or any thing else - in your life besides me. I am going to watch you like a hawk to keep you from developing strength or independence. I love you more than anyone in the world, but you disgust me. (!!)
Always ask any questions that are to be asked and never answer any. Turn everything you hear to your own advantage. Always carry a repair outfit. Take left turns as much as possible. Never apply your front brake first. 'If you follow them', said the Sergeant, 'you will save your soul and never get a fall on a slippery road.
In the early nineties, I was a cub reporter on a city newspaper in Limerick, and assigned to the courthouse there. One day, an old detective sergeant came and whispered to me in the press pit. He pointed out a young offender, a teenager who was up for stealing a car or something relatively minor, and said, 'See this kid? He'll kill.'
After tea, we discussed a variety of topics before the fire; and Mrs. Micawber was good enough to sing us (in a small, thin, flat voice, which I remembered to have considered, when I first knew her, the very table-beer of acoustics) the favourite ballads of "The Dashing White Sergeant", and "Little Tafflin".
Mike Hall was my old friend and, more important, the finest soldier I'd ever known. After over 30 years of service and then 18 months at a good civilian job, a phone call had brought the retired command sergeant major back on active duty to become the senior enlisted adviser of all international forces in Afghanistan.
Stanley A. McChrystal
The classic war movies of the post-Vietnam era have generally taken on grand, philosophical themes: the meaninglessness of war, the grinding down of man by the machine - the machine being war itself, represented by someone like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in 'Full Metal Jacket,' the sadistic marine who turns his boys into instruments of death.
What branch do you want to go in?' 'I don' give a god-damn, ' said Pilon jauntily. 'I guess we need men like you in the infantry.' And Pilon was written so. He turned then to Big Joe, and the Portagee was getting sober. 'Where do you want to go?' 'I want to go home, ' Big Joe said miserably. The sergeant put him in the infantry too.
The War on Drugs, from the Hastings-facing window of the Portland Hotel, is manifested in the pregnant Celia kneeling on the sidewalk, handcuffed wrists behind her back, eyes cast on the ground. There was no Detective-Sergeant Gillespie to protect her when, as a little girl, she was raped by her stepfather and subjected to the nocturnal spitting ritual, so in the War on Drugs she has become one of the enemy.
The purpose of the bayonet training, Sergeant Gerheim explains, is to awaken our killer instincts. The killer instinct will make us fearless and aggressive, like animals. If the meek ever inherit the earth the strong will take it away from them. The weak exist to be devoured by the strong. Every Marine must pack his own gear. Every Marine must be the instrument of his own salvation. It's hard, but there it is.
How can you protect yourself by carrying a sword if you don't know how to use it?' Not me, sir. Other people. They see the sword and don't attack me, ' said Maladict patiently. Yes, but if they did, lad, you wouldn't be any good with it, ' said the sergeant. No, sir. I'd probably settle for just ripping their heads off, sir. That's what I mean by protection, sir. Theirs, not mine. And I'd get hell from the League if I did that, sir.
During Basic, sometimes you're so tired you can't even get up to piss. You're pushed beyond whatever limits you had set for yourself. You realize that your body can do things that you never imagined. But there are times when you don't think you can go on, and that's when your brother is there to lift you up and push you forward. He yells encouragement when the drill sergeant's yelling obscenities. You know that if you're ever caught by the enemy, your brothers will never stop looking for you. If you're hurt they'll help heal you. The Corps is a unit of many, not one, but dozens, thousands even, who have your back. You can smite one Marine, but a thousand will rose up to avenge him.
Everything that we think God has in his mind necessarily proceeds from our own mind; it is what we imagine to be in God's mind, and it is really difficult for human intelligence to guess at a divine intelligence. What we usually end up with by this sort of reasoning is to make God the color-sergeant of our army and to make Him as chauvinistic as ourselves.
As the wine went down in the bottles, patriotism arose in the three men. And when the wine was gone they went down the hill arm in arm for comradeship and safety, and they walked into Monterey. In front of an enlistment station they cheered loudly for America and dared Germany to do her worst. They howled menaces at the German Empire until the enlistment sergeant awakened and put on his uniform and came into the street to silence them. He remained to enlist them.
I guess I was always looking for something. What it was, I didn't know. I wanted help from the VA, but didn't want to go back, didn't want to be subjected to that second-rate treatment any longer. I wanted to find peace within myself, but didn't know how or where to locate it. I wanted to be a sergeant again, a writer, less angry, a better husband, and to ward off the constant bombardment of war-related thoughts. Most of all, I didn't want any more Americans coming home from Iraq in boxes or with jingle-jangled minds.
Clint Van Winkle
He told me that once, in the war, he'd come upon a German soldier in the grass with his insides falling out; he was just lying there in agony. The soldier had looked up at Sergeant Leonard, and even though they didn't speak the same language, they understood each other with just a look. The German lying on the ground; the American standing over him. He put a bullet in the soldier's head. He didn't do it with anger, as an enemy, but as a fellow man, one soldier helping another.
No matter, they weren't going anywhere. Never again. Two skeletons buried beneath a dead city. No more fitting a barrow for a warrior of the Apocalypse and a Malazan soldier. That seemed just, poetic even. He would not complain, and when he stood at this sergeant's side at Hood's Gate, he would be proud for the company.So much had changed inside him. He was no believer in causes, not any more. Certainty was an illusion, a lie. Fanaticism was poison in the soul, and the first victim in its inexorable, ever-growing list was compassion. Who could speak of freedom, when one's own soul was bound in chains?
I met this boy here who I knew as a kid and his mum left him with a pedophile for two weeks when he was eight years old and I'm presuming you know everything there is to know about Jonah's father, and that my father is dead, and my mother hasn't been around for years, and God knows Jessa's real story. So what I'm saying here, Sergeant, is that we're just a tad low on the reliable adult quota so you have no right to be all self-righteous about what Chaz did and if you're going to go around not talking to him when his only crime was wanting me to have what he has, then I think you're going to turn out to be a bit of a dud and you know something? I'm just a bit over life's little disappointments right now. Do you understand what I'm saying?
The best place for discovering what a man is is the heart of the desert. Your plane has broken down, and you walk for hours, heading for the little fort at Nutchott. You wait for the mirages of thirst to gape before you. But you arrive and you find an old sergeant who has been isolated for months among the dunes, and he is so happy to be found that he weeps. And you weep, too. In the arching immensity of the night, each tells the story of his life, each offers the other the burden of memories in which the human bond is discovered. Here two men can meet, and they bestow gifts upon each other with the dignity of ambassadors.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
I took a few dragging steps toward the locker-room door. 'You're doing something to me that I wouldn't do to a dog, ' I mumbled. 'What you're doing to me is worse than if you were to kill me. You're locking me up in shadows for the rest of my life. You're taking my mind away from me. You're condemning me slowly but surely to madness, to being without a mind. It won't happen right away, but sooner or later, in six months or in a year - Well, I guess that's that.' I fumbled my way out of the locker room and down the passageway outside, guiding myself with one arm along the wall, and past the sergeant's desk and down the steps, and then I was out in the street. ("All At Once, No Alice")
You mean that because I have no name I cannot die and that you cannot be held answerable for death even if you kill me?" "That is about the size of it, " said the Sergeant. I felt so sad and so entirely disappointed that tears came into my eyes and a lump of incommunicable poignancy swelled tragically in my throat. I began to feel intensely every fragment of my equal humanity. The life that was bubbling at the end of my fingers was real and nearly painful in intensity and so was the beauty of my warm face and the loose humanity of my limbs and the racy health of my red rich blood. To leave it all without good reason and to smash the little empire into small fragments was a thing too pitiful even to refuse to think about.
ALL HE COULD SEE, IN EVERY DIRECTION, WAS WATER. It was June 23, 1943. Somewhere on the endless expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Army Air Forces bombardier and Olympic runner Louie Zamperini lay across a small raft, drifting westward. Slumped alongside him was a sergeant, one of his plane's gunners. On a separate raft, tethered to the first, lay another crewman, a gash zigzagging across his forehead. Their bodies, burned by the sun and stained yellow from the raft dye, had winnowed down to skeletons. Sharks glided in lazy loops around them, dragging their backs along the rafts, waiting.
I took the thin magazine from the pouch in front of me and began to thumb through it. I felt self-conscious, as if I shouldn't be there. My mind began to wander, as I knew it would, back to the boonies. I was on patrol again. Monaco was on point. Peewee and Walowick followed him. Lobel and Brunner were next, then Johnson, the sixty cradled in his arm as if it were a child. We were walking the boonies, past rice paddies, toward yet another hill. I was in the rear, and for some reason I turned back. Behind me, trailing the platoon, were the others. Brew, Jenkins, Sergeant Dongan, Turner, and Lewis, the new guys, and Lieutenant Carroll. I knew I was mixing my prayers, but it didn't matter. I just wanted God to care for them, to keep them whole. I knew they were thinking about me and Peewee.
Walter Dean Myers
The next day I was driven down to New York City to take the physical. It was one of the strangest things I'd ever seen. Several hundred young men, maybe even a thousand, in their skivvies, walking around an enormous room, all of us lost, dazed, and confused. Some of these guys had dodged the draft and were there under the watchful eyes of dozens of federal marshals lined up against one of the walls. After eight hours of being poked, prodded, stuck, and poked again, I was given a large red envelope. I had been rejected. I had the respiratory problems of an old man, high blood pressure, partial loss of hearing, very bad teeth, very flat, very wide feet and I tested positive for tuberculosis. 'Frankly, ' the doctor said, 'I don't know how the hell you're even standing up, ' and that was when the sergeant told me that if they bottled everything that was wrong with me 'we could take over the world without a shot.
John William Tuohy
Bad lovers face to face in the morning Shy apologies and polite regrets Slow dances that left no warning of Outraged glances and indiscreet yawning Good manners and bad breath get you nowhere Even presidents have newspaper lovers Ministers go crawling under covers She's no angel He's no saint They're all covered up with white washed grease paint And you say... Chorus: The teacher never told you anything but white lies But you never see the lies And you believe Oh you know you have been captured You feel so civilized And you look so pretty in your new lace sleeves The salty lips of the socialite sisters With their continental fingers that have never seen working blisters Oh I know they've got their problems I wish I was one of them They say daddy's coming home soon With his sergeant stripes and his Empire mug and spoon No more fast buck And when are they gonna learn their lesson When are they gonna stop all of these victory processions And you say...
Relegated as he was to a corner and as though sheltered behind the billiard table, the soldiers, their eyes fixed upon Enjolras, had not even noticed Grantaire, and the sergeant was preparing to repeat the order: 'Take aim!' when suddenly they heard a powerful voice cry out beside them, 'Vive la Republique! Count me in.' Grantaire was on his feet. The immense glare of the whole combat he had missed and in which he had not been, appeared in the flashing eyes of the transfigured drunkard. He repeated, 'Vive la Republique!' crossed the room firmly, and took his place in front of the muskets beside Enjolras. 'Two at one shot, ' he said. And, turning toward Enjolras gently, he said to him, 'Will you permit it?' Enjolras shook his hand with a smile. The smile had not finished before the report was heard. Enjolras, pierced by eight bullets, remained backed up against the wall is if the bullets had nailed him there. Except that his head was tilted. Grantaire, struck down, collapsed at his feet.