A F&*#ing Piccolo Player!
Picture it, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, 1995.
A young man was making his first foray into the world of adulthood. That young man was me. By age 17 I had been playing the flute for 7 years and I decided to audition for the Army National Guard Band. I passed the audition and as soon as I turned 18, I raised my right hand and signed the dotted line.
Before I went to boot camp, I was told not to tell the Drill Sergeants I was in the band. I didn’t want to be dishonest, so this was the conversation on day one:
DS: “What is your MOS (Mission Oriented Specialty)?
Me: “Drill Sergeant, 02G, Drill Sergeant.”
DS: “What the F&*# is that?”
Me: “Drill Sergeant, flute player in the band, Drill Sergeant….”
DS: ***Stares….. then just walks away shaking his head***
Boot camp was a whole new world, unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was challenging, but I got through it. It’s designed to make you succeed and make you stronger.
Around week seven, I finally started to have fun. This is when we got to the obstacle courses. There was one obstacle where you had to climb up a rope (about 10-15 feet in the air) walk across logs that are spaced out, climb a ladder (another 10-15 feet) go over another log, then climb down a cargo net. Being somewhat afraid of heights I was not thrilled about this (and I’m sure it looked higher than it was), but I was determined to successfully complete the challenge.
They had two Soldiers start at a time and you do your best to get through the obstacle as quickly as possible. I was paired up with someone from the infantry, since the Drill Sergeants thought it would be funny to have someone destroy me time-wise.
They yelled "go!" and I was off. I figured I had no chance to win so I decided to just compete with myself and complete the “mission”. I climbed that rope with all I had. I carefully picked my way across those spaced out logs (in my mind I ran across them), and I was halfway up the ladder when I heard the Drill Sergeant yell something which made me turn back and see the infantry guy still struggling to get up the rope.
“Come on, you’re getting beat by a F&*#ing Piccolo Player!"
I guess I made the right decision to tell my actual MOS on day one! - Tim Belliveau, SSG Ret.