Sunday, September 30, 2007


At the post where I am taking my current course of instruction, in addition to training Soldiers, Airmen and Marines for the services' various version of my job, they also train military firefighters for the Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps. These "firedogs" are an intriguing bunch. The majority are reservists who will return to their hometowns with their top-notch firefighting and hazmat training to become professional firefighters. A surprising number are from inner-city Boston and speak in accents that prevent me from ever being able to take them seriously, since people only really talk like that in movies. All of them have completely drunk the Kool-Aid and bought into the particular firedog mythos that is force-fed to them by their Drill Sergeants. Their bravado -- dare I say, braggadocio -- is not entirely unearned, of course; their training is seriously intense physically and nothing to sneeze at academically. It also strains relations that they have absolutely no real clue what my job entails, but do seem to have some strange ideas in their heads about it. So all in all they keep life interesting around here.

All of this is as background to the particular firedog ritual I had the honor of witnessing just now from the 3rd-floor walkway where I pick up a rogue wifi network. Every Sunday night, all the new firedogs fresh from Basic who've inprocessed over the weekend are called to line up in front of the barracks for a photograph. As the photographers snap away, senior trainees dump buckets of soapy water on the new recruits from said 3rd-floor walkway. Mild hilarity ensues. I'm sure it probably meets some bureaucrat's definition of "hazing" and someday someone'll complain and ruin the fun for everybody, but until then, we all just get to shake our heads and chuckle.

No comments: