Fuzzy Memories: Cajones and Cadence

Back when I was a young Buck Sergeant in the U.S. Army, I ran into trouble trying to re-enlist. It wasn’t because the Army didn’t want to keep me around, even under Clinton they were smart enough to try and keep an NCO who’d maxed his promotion board.

No, it was the Company Commander who was holding up my re-enlistment because he knew I was going to take the option to bail on his ate-up unit as a part of my package. My enlistment was up in 2 months, and he wanted me to somehow take care of it after I joined them on a 3 month excursion to the Middle East. Apparently other people had jumped ship and his ass was in a sling trying to find competent NCOs who’d prop up his house of cards on their backs.

Whatever, I was 23, and resigned to GTFO of that mess on to either a cushy job as the BN Signal NCOIC (setting myself up for a relatively lucrative IT career as a civilian), or joining the 160th Special Ops Aviation Regiment on the way to trying out for Special Forces.

But I was getting the run-around with paperwork because of Captain Dirtbag, and my ETS (end time of service) date was fast approaching.

So one morning I was running Company PT and leading the formation in cadence on our 4 mile run. Something came over me and I channeled the spirit of Marshall Mathers and improvised the following cadence, on the spot, which was to be repeated line-by-line, by the entire company as we ran. (For those of you unaware of Army culture, I’m including footnotes so this makes more sense to you.)

Sergeant Coffee1 what is up?
Will you tell me why, I can’t re-up2?
Is it DA3, is it the M-TOE4?
Or is it because of my C.O.5?

In hindsight, I could have gotten my ass put in a sling over this, and how. One of the senior E-6’s, upon me finishing my little improved cadence, exclaimed “damn!” with wide-eyed amazement and involuntarily covered his mouth out of shock. It’s a wonder how I got away with that, especially since I’d been yelled at for calling other cadences that were simply politically incorrect. Such as:

You go into the playground
Where all the kiddies play
You em-ploy your Claymore
And blow them all away

With a left-right-left-right-left-right-kill.

For you paranoid breeders, that cadence is older than dirt and common in units without sand in their vaginas or concern for being politically correct. I do not own any claymores and would not be happy if someone used one on a playground. Besides, this isn’t even the worst cadence I’ve ever heard. That would go to an ex-Marine who was our unit Armorer in Panama:

(To the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies themesong):
Now listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed
Poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed,
Then one day he was porking Ellie Mae
When up from his stuff come a-bubblin’ spray.

Next thing you know Ellie began to swell
Kin-folk said Jed this is what you do:
Get a can of Lysol and a coat hanger too…

I swear to god, this was an actual cadence, pretty much word-for-word, called while running the hills on Fort Clayton, Panama. And to top it off, there was a female Lieutenant running with us who called the guy out of formation and with tears in her eyes, chewed his ass for it. As we kept running by I could still see the hint of a remorseless grin on his face.

Anyway, that’s my fuzzy memory for the day.

1. The reenlistment NCO, in charge of getting me to stay in the Army.
2. Reenlist, duh.
3. Department of the Army.
4. Modified Table of Organization and Equipment – basically a unit’s inventory including soldiers.
5. Commanding Officer.

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