Military Idiots

November 15, 2022 | Samantha Henman

Military Idiots

Sure, there are plenty of dummies out there in the civilian ranks, but as these people from the military will attest, there’s nothing quite like the kind of idiot you run into while serving. These Redditors came together to share the moments that made them scratch their heads and ask “Just how did this person pass basic training”?

1. Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

At basic training, we had a guy who did a version of the Christian Bale deep Batman voice for the entire time. Somehow, it got worse. He also never took off his eye protection—it was terrifying to be woken up by him for guard duty in the middle of the night. He would just loom over you and say your name while jabbing you violently with his hands.

Apparently, his underwear eventually fused to his body because he didn't shower for weeks. The stench was miserable.

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2. Use Your Noodle

A fireman I knew named Akas was making noodles on deployment. He asked where to get the hot water and someone pointed him at the coffee maker, which had one of those red spigots on the side. I couldn't believe what he did next. Instead of using the hot tap, Akas opened his noodles and dumped them into the coffee maker, where the grounds go, and replaced the coffee urn with his empty noodle bowl.

The coffee tasted like noodles for the rest of deployment. People would typically stop him from doing stuff like this, but we were like six months into deployment at this point and he was our only source of entertainment. In fact, I have about a dozen Akas stories. He is literally the dumbest person I've ever met and I spent a lot of time wondering how he was still alive.

Once, I had to physically restrain Akas from dumping an entire bottle of hand soap (the small pump bottle you find next to sinks) into a washing machine because, and I quote, "it's all soap bro it doesn't matter”! This was after I told him he couldn't use my detergent, and after I later caught him trying to pilfer some of my detergent.

Akas worked in front of the boiler and, as a result, was often dirty. After doing a random bunk inspection, our superior found Akas's white pillowcase to be jet black on the underside. When asked if he was showering, Akas’ reply was truly deranged. He replied in front of God and everyone else: "Yes, I wash my hands every night before I go to bed”.

You could hear a pin drop because there were like ten of us in the room who were all acting like we weren't listening. It turns out he hadn't showered in weeks and thought washing his hands was enough to clean himself after working in front of a boiler all day. After waking up, he would just flip his pillow over to the white side for inspection.

He wasn't lazy. He literally thought washing your hands was synonymous with showering. We also all learned a few simple magic tricks because Akas had the object permanence of a three-week-old kitten. My favorite was when my friend unwrapped a candy bar and then arranged the empty wrapper like the bar was still inside. He showed the (obviously empty) candy bar wrapper to Akas and told him it was a brand new bar.

Then my friend put the bar in his pocket and slapped it flat before taking out the empty, flattened wrapper and telling Akas he pushed the bar through his stomach wall to eat it. Let's just say it wasn't hard to amaze this kid. That wasn’t the only “magic” trick either.  This next one was a bit more coordinated.

We had a camera that was pointed at a certain place in the engine room for monitoring. The camera fed to a screen in the office where we all spent a lot of time. One guy told Akas to pick a card (jack of spades) before shuffling the deck. In the process he (very obviously) handed the jack to another guy, who walked down and put it in front of the camera.

The first guy (the “magician”) did the whole “Is this your card, is this your card” thing before getting “frustrated” and throwing the deck at the monitor. Then a third guy acted bewildered and pointed to the screen where the card was sitting on the engine we were monitoring. Akas LOST IT. He literally had a meltdown and started yelling gibberish and refused to talk to “the magician” for weeks after.

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3. Don’t Bare Your Sole

I’ve met officers not lacking in basic competencies, just common sense. We had a water leak at the Naval Medical Center and the department head...kicked off her shoes so they wouldn’t get wet. There was a huge problem with his. Part of the ceiling in the space had collapsed and the computer tower was sitting on the floor in the puddle along with her feet. It and the outlet were throwing sparks and you could see the blue light of arcing electricity inside the tower.

She didn't stop working until a superior got there to point it out. You could FEEL the electricity in that room.

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4. Cogito Ergo Sum

We had a guy we called "Domestic Pepsi” thanks to his surname. He was dumber than a bag of hammers. One day, we had a big inspection. Company commander inspecting. The commander eventually made his way to Domestic Pepsi and started asking questions about general Marine Corps knowledge.

"This recruit does not know, sir”! "This recruit does not know, sir”! "Sir, this recruit doesn't know”! Finally, our commander asked him, "Son, you don't even know if you're alive, do you”? There was THE LONGEST PAUSE following the question, then a small, quiet, and incredibly confused voice replied, "Sir, this recruit does know that he's alive, sir”.

It's like he actually had to think about it. In his small and intimidated head, he was probably going through all seven of the facts he knew and seriously asked himself, "Am I alive”? The whole squad bay of hardened, nearly graduated Marine recruits AND our drill instructors, all burst into laughter. How he actually graduated, I have no idea.

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5. Lower Those Expectations

We had one guy in my basic training platoon that was a walking safety hazard. Among other things, he managed to fall out of a first-floor window, got the squad's packs stolen during an exercise because he fell asleep watching them, fired on full auto into the camp (with training rounds, luckily) because "he thought he saw a wild pig rifling through our stuff" and, to cap it all off, put a live round between the drill instructor's feet at the firing range.

He passed basic with the rest of us (the only guy that failed, failed because he deserted halfway through), although he did get a mark in his file that he was unsuited for any rank with any kind of responsibility.

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6. Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes

I had a kid at my first squadron in the Air Force who was quite possibly one of the dumbest, least self-aware people I've ever met. This kid either couldn't or wouldn't retain basic information, which was problematic given that he was in the Intelligence career field. At one point he was presenting a briefing about North Korea. I still can’t believe what came out of his mouth.

He claimed with a straight face that the capital city of North Korea was Bogota. For those keeping score, Bogota is the capital of Colombia. He tried very hard to project a redneck persona, and as part of this bought a massive bright red lifted truck with obnoxious "REDNECK" decal work. Anyone with half a brain could tell you he was struggling to pay for it on his measly barracks rat pay.

I thought the presentation was his dumbest moment—but the worst was yet to come. Eventually, he decided he didn't want to pay for the truck anymore, so he drove it into a lake one night and filed an insurance claim, then used the money to immediately buy a different vehicle. This was quickly uncovered by the authorities, and he was kicked out of the Air Force.

To this day I have no earthly idea who thought this kid belonged in intelligence, or how he got through intel school.

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7. Remedial Geography

There was this super nasty dude in our platoon who smelled terrible, and the squad leader figured out it was because he "washed" his clothes by putting them in the freezer overnight. He also got busted malingering by purposely not hydrating in the desert heat, passing out, and having to get IVs from the medics. He did it to get out of work.

Eventually, they did a home health and wellness check (off base) and found 12 dogs living in his two-bedroom apartment and the floor thick as carpet with dog poop. Y'all, he was in INTELLIGENCE.

One day he got the courage to approach me from around a sand dune and asked where I'm from. I said, "Iowa”. He said, "Isn't that in Nebraska”?

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8. Telling Tall Tales

This one dude was a reeeaaal special case. 100% a Gomer Pyle-type of situation. Only a few peanuts rattling around the can. He got to us right around the same time as "What Does the Fox Say”? was a big deal. He considered it his favorite song, and sang it nearly constantly. But that’s not the weirdest part. He honest to God thought he was a cat, and would lick himself/randomly meow at us.

Dude was white as can be, but every other week he'd be "repping" a different gang, typically one that doesn't recruit white folk. His favorite was Latin Kings—I think he just liked yellow. We'd catch him staring at walls and stuff, completely zoned out. We got orders to deploy, and nobody wanted him with us, but sadly he came along.

As soon as we got back he was chaptered for mental instability. A few of my guys are still Facebook friends with him, and according to him he was basically John Rambo himself overseas, single-handedly clearing buildings and stuff. I assure you, he was not.

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9. Don’t Sweat It

The first night of actual basic training, we’re all showering and getting ready for bed. I noticed a guy in the bunk across from me had already changed in to his sleeping clothes. I asked him if he was going to shower and he said, “No, I put on 48-hour deodorant”. The entire bay erupted into laughter and for the rest of basic, my guy's name was Private 48.

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10. He Had A Major Itch

I worked with a US Air Force Major long ago who'd been in grade for eons because he couldn't give a briefing without scratching his, ahem, nether regions. Only the time he’d spent in Vietnam was keeping him in the service.

Eventually, he went on an orientation tour of a Minuteman site and fell into a hole. When he got out of the hospital, they retired him.

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11. Putting The Basics In Basic Training

We had a guy who wasn't showering, so we just four-man carried him into the shower and squirted soap from the bottle and used long-handled brushes on him like a dog every night until he realized it was easier to do it himself. We weren't cruel, rough or brutal about it, he just needed to be jarred out of whatever state of acquiescence he'd been raised with.

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12. Here, My Deer

There was an entire week where we had to keep everyone from sneaking out of the barracks with excessive number of physical training belts. Later, we found out the bizarre reason why. Somehow, a rumor started that if you could put your belt on a deer you'd be exempt from physical training? By some sick twist of fate, a deer actually ran through our morning formation, like, through it, and it was just a hailstorm of belts at the poor thing.


13. If You Can’t Do, Cook

At one of my duty stations, there was a girl who wasn’t all there. One day, out of the blue, she decides to take the three-wheel bike (the one with the large basket in between the two rear tires) and go for a spin. She hit a fence post, a parked car, and a dumpster, all within 30 feet of her starting position. She eventually went to cook school.

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14. Spinning Out

Sergeant Stubby. On aircraft, we have these things called vane axial fans. Think of a big, DC-powered fan with blades that are about two millimeters thick. These things usually have a tubular housing for air channeling reasons and spin so fast they are near invisible. For whatever reason Stubby decided to check if it was spinning—and he did it in the dumbest way possible.

He stuck his hand down the back side of one of these things and stuck a finger in. The end result was a clean severance at the first knuckle. I watched this same guy fall asleep on the wing of an Apache while trying to install a clamp on a drain line and roll forward off the wing. He hit the rack on the way down, which broke his fall—and his arm.

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15. Two For One

One of my guys never passed a physical training test, not once. Not in basic, not in the "real" army. Never. Still, we needed the personnel and we knew he wouldn't pass, so we stopped testing him. Same guy wouldn't shower. Like, he spent two weeks in 100-degree desert, and he didn't shower when we got back.

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16. Ignorance Is Bliss

This guy I knew was a career specialist. If I remember correctly he was at eight years in when I met him. He was horrible at coping with stressors. He came in one day and had a grey undershirt on back when they were supposed to be brown. I asked him if he was wearing the proper shirt underneath his top to which he excitedly declared “Of course not”!

At that point I told him to look down, which he did, then in the span of about two seconds he grabbed both sides of his collar, zips his hands and collars tight across his neck, and then without a word runs full speed for the door. He clips the doorframe and eats it outside and then disappears for about an hour and shows back up with a brown shirt and no recollection of anything ever happening. But it didn’t stop there.

About three weeks later, he shows up to work and during morning uniform inspection, I get to him and notice he is wearing two left boots. He didn’t even notice he had two left boots. Fast forward a couple more weeks and I’m walking with him out to a helicopter and he is carrying a torque wrench. Evidently, his hand stops working like a normal hand and this torque wrench slips right out of his fingers, hits his boot, and gets punted about 40 feet down the flight line.

These are calibrated tools, so if they drop more than a foot they are supposed to get coded out and sent back for re-cal. He just walks his happy behind up to it, looks at me and stares at me while he picks the wrench up, and then starts sauntering back out towards the aircraft. I call him on it and he is straight-up bewildered that he would be told to go get a new torque wrench.

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17. Lost, Not Found

We had a guy who just kept losing stuff. He showed up to morning formation in a downpour without his rain jacket, and when asked just spouted "I LOST IT MASTER CORPORAL". He all had to go the day without a rain jacket. Another time he had gotten called to speak with a board of officers to see if he should stay or not, and as per the standard he had lost his beret and needed to borrow one.

I, being sympathetic, lent him mine, and by the end of the day had reported back to me that...he had lost my beret. He was also a cheapskate. A few of us on our infantry course would carpool when we got weekend leave and he never pitched in for gas. He got his comeuppance, though. One day, we just left him. He wasn't super thrilled the next time we saw him.

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18. Camp Stool Of Shame

There was this 23- or 24-year-old guy trying to be an Officer. When you get injured at OCS (boot camp for officers), you have to walk around in tennis shoes, a glow belt, and have a camp stool slung over your shoulder. This guy was outside our drill formation watching us march and, I kid you not, sat down criss-cross applesauce on the deck with his campstool slung over his shoulder. He somehow did not realize that you could sit down on the camp stool.

The next night he woke up suddenly, smacked his face against the ceiling, and got sent home with a concussion.

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19. The Wisdom Of Andrew

We have this guy, let’s call him Andrew. Andrew is a guy trying to become Military Police, yaaay! See, everyone hates MPs, even MPs. Now, everyone knows that most MPs aren't the brightest. It's that job that a lot of people go into because they don't want to be infantry or anyone that has to do a lot of rucking, or thinking. This guy, though, was a special case.

First couple weeks into basic training, he had to have multiple people do his chores for him, making his bed, cleaning his gear, packing his bag for the day...tying his boots. Guy somehow gets through basic training, even though his Drill Sergeants tried getting him kicked out for being dumb and so did everyone else. Guy barely passes his tests, and doesn't even listen to what the Drill Sergeants' say, and backtalks them all the time. So a bad soldier right there already.

I was in Korea when I first met this guy and instantly knew he was not the brightest bulb, as in the second I met him. I met him while I was on the road doing MP things before we went to the field. I was tasked with training him on road stuff, how to do traffic stops, calls, paperwork, etc. Well, during that time I asked him if he had his license so he could drive for a little.

He said yes, so I let him drive. He gets into the driver’s seat and says "This is cool. I feel like a cop". The first red flag was right there, but I didn't see it. He starts to drive and the second red flag goes up when he hits the accelerator then the brake in quick succession, causing us to jolt a little in the car. I asked if he knew how to drive and he said yeah.

He drives for about 30 minutes before he lets me drive again. By this point, it’s almost the end of the day and I got called to do transport. I had paperwork to do so I asked Andrew if he was up to do transport, he said yup and went on his way after I told him where to go. As I finished up paperwork, everyone gets back and one of my favorite Sergeants calls me outside to talk for a bit.

She asked me if I was tracking that Andrew didn't have his license. I stared at her with wide eyes and told her what he said to me. It got so much worse. She tells me she believes me, but that he almost caused an accident by cutting in front of her. Tells me not to let him drive again and we go on our way. But that wasn't the end of it.

Later it turns out he was on his phone recording himself driving and even posted it on Snapchat. We pushed that up and went on our way. At this point, everyone knew that we had to pretty much constantly babysit this guy while we were prepping for our field rotation, which if you don't know is usually very busy and a lot of work.

He would constantly go to the restroom saying he had bowel issues, but would sit on the toilet to play on his phone. When he wasn't sitting on his phone and he was told to go by himself to do something, he would disappear for an hour and then come back without the thing we needed, even if we gave him step-by-step instructions. After we realized this guy was a moron we had one of our other guys go with him to do the easy task to make sure he didn't mess up. He was just getting started.

While he was in our platoon, he decided he wanted to go on leave! Which is fine and dandy, we don't have cars so you just have to either take a taxi up to the airport, or get on a bus. The guy couldn't figure out the bus schedule even though it was written in English. Instead of getting a taxi or just figuring out the bus schedule, he walks up to a Sergeant and asks him if he could get a ride to the airport.

The Sergeant is a bit angry because he skipped the whole chain of command to ask him that, but takes him there anyhow. When he got back from leave we had complained enough to our platoon leader that Andrew is a moron and that he can't be trusted to even shoot. Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that he had a negligent discharge with an M9 after he shoved his finger into the trigger well before he wanted to shoot. TWICE.

Well after we complained to our platoon leader, he brings it up to the Sergeant that drove Andrew to the airport that Andrew shouldn't be in the field with us and that he needs to be transferred somewhere else. Well, the Sergeant also remembered the past event with the would-be car accident and decides to send him to a department where you do nothing but take calls and send patrols places.

We thought he’d stay out of trouble—we were so wrong. Wow, look at that! He can't do that job either. Constantly messing up his paperwork and getting yelled at. Whenever I worked I would go to the desk to ask a question and he would be doing push-ups while a Staff Sergeant yelled at him.

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20. Special Maneuvers

One base I lived on with my parents, there was a military policeman on guard duty at the main entrance. Usually getting on base is pretty straightforward. Exchanging of salutes, sirs/ma'ams, scanning ids, fingerprints. All that jazz.

We get up to the gate, the guard throws the salute and the usual spiel begins. The chaos breaks loose. All in one go, the guard goes to lean down, missteps off the curb of the hut, and like a bird against a window in a cartoon, slides down the side of the car. At the time, I was maybe eight or nine and I tried my hardest to keep quiet but I lost it and started laughing because I saw the other guy in the hut losing his mind.

The guy gets up like nothing happens and my dad just goes "If you wanted to check under the car we could've pulled into inspection". We were the only ones at the gate but holy moly, that is one of my best memories from that base.

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21. Remember This?

My boyfriend is in the Air Force, and he did basic training last year. A couple of months ago during his course, some idiot he was stationed with disappeared during everyone's night off. Most people had gone to drink and were back on time, but not him. My boyfriend was supposed to make sure everyone had gotten back but he figured he just missed him and went to bed.

He hears an angry knock on his door at 4 am. It's his superior yelling at him to get up. What they found was brutal. The guy was beyond inebriated. He even peed on some equipment that was lined up outside. When my boyfriend had to drag him to the Chief Warrant Officer, he could barely stand up.

While the dude was getting yelled at...he threw up. In his superior's office. All over himself. Everyone got yelled at to just wash him and put him to bed. My boyfriend and his friends had to strip him shirtless, forcibly shower him (he was yelling and trying to fight everyone), forcibly dry him, forcibly put him in PJs, and forcibly put him to bed.

He woke up with a huge hangover without a single clue what had happened. He allegedly went very, very pale when he was told. Legend has it he's still catching up on extra duty.

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22. When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

On my first day of Navy boot camp, we got off the bus and ran into the building, all lining up on in ranks. They gave us this speech about contraband etc. They gave us an opportunity to throw away any contraband we had at that moment. One of the kids in the back walked up and threw away something.

The Recruit Division Commander (RDC) yelled "Recruit, recruit, get back up here, NOW". The kid walks back up and the RDC said "What did you just put in here”? The kid mumbles something, and the RDC says, "Pick up what you just put in there and tell me what it is”. The kid picks up something, and says "It is a…personal pleasure device, officer”.

The RDCs lost it on that one. It gets better. During the in-processing phase, we all had to pee in a cup. If you got into the room and couldn't go for any reason, then you were sent back out into a large room with your sweatshirt backward to signify you didn’t go. I didn't have to go yet so I was walking around the room stopping at every fountain to get a drink. We weren't allowed to talk. Just walk and drink.

This same kid was walking just behind me with his sweatshirt backward and caught up to me. He said, "Dude where is the RDC, I have to pee”. I told him not to talk to me and sped up. On the other side of the room I decided I could go now so I walk to the line, and out of the corner of my eye I see it. This kid is peeing in a trash can!

He ended up three spots behind me in line and when he got into the room, the RDC asked him why his pants were wet. He said, "I couldn't find an RDC and I had to pee so bad I wet myself a little so I peed into the trash can”. The look on that RDCs face was horrifying. They took him to another room and I didn't see him the rest of the day until we got to our in-processing barracks.

That kid was amazingly stupid, he got sent back three times in boot camp, but I heard he eventually graduated.

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23. It Takes All Kinds

I had a soldier who couldn't spell his own last name correctly, and didn't know what "lbs" or "ht" stood for on his personal record sheet. He also hated to shower, because in his words "He's just gonna get dirty again”. Hard worker, but not the brightest.

I had a kid in Basic whose father was the Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Service is a requirement in Israel, and he had the option to join the US Army instead. Every weekend his father had a car come pick him up and bring him off post for whatever, even though the rest of us hadn't seen our families since we shipped out.

Halfway through our 16 weeks, he broke his arm. He stayed in Medical Hold for the rest of the cycle, and they still graduated him. I had another kid in Basic who went crazy halfway through and tried convincing everyone that he was gay to get out on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. No one believed him, so one night he snuck into the washroom and started slamming his hand in the dryer door. Screaming. He was put on Med-Hold and eventually passed Basic the next cycle.

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24. Major Mess

Me: Former Air Force officer and commander of a Security Forces squadron. We basically did law enforcement, flight-line security, and force protection. We got in a new troop out of basic training/tech school. I'll call this one guy Snuffy. Snuffy was literally the only troop I ever encountered in my 20+ year career who came to his first duty station with an Article 15 (a huge punishment code) already on his record.

That was unheard of in the Air Force; if you get in that kind of trouble in Basic or tech school, they usually just boot you. Like all first-term newbies, Snuffy has to spend a month at the base First Term Airman's Center, where they basically teach the young folks about the base, dorm life, financial responsibility, etc. Here’s where the trouble began. Snuffy gets kicked out of the base after one week due to not showing up and tardiness.

At this point, we don't know what to do with Snuffy. He's a major mess. In our career field, you have to carry a firearm every day, and this kid is so stupid we can't arm him. We are forced to relieve him of duty, meaning he goes into limbo where he can only do stuff like pick up trash, light administrative work, etc while we try to take steps to see if he can still be administratively discharged since he's been on Active Duty only briefly.

While he's relieved of duty, he starts being "late" to work. This is a really big deal at this point because he basically works directly for my senior staff. This gets him in trouble and I'm forced to consider having him punished for dereliction of duty. Snuffy continues to spiral out of control. He married a rather, uh, well he married a local woman he just met.

They move into base housing. He keeps getting in trouble (while his other issues are still working their way through the Staff Judge Advocate). For example, he spray paints his car with a rattle-can, blowing spray paint all over his neighbor's car. He keeps dogs locked in his garage and never cleans up their poop, breaking all kinds of housing requirements, etc.

This gets him kicked out of base housing. His "wife" leaves him shortly after he gets a rental in town. His issues with me are finally coming to a head. Then I get a tip that reveals the truth about Snuffy. He’s been working as an OSI (Office of Special Investigation) informant in a law-enforcement case they're running off-base.

Now, I was the Chief of Police for the entire base. This was my troop. I had daily meetings with the head of the OSI where we discussed all open investigations. I was never told a thing. It turns out OSI was using Snuffy as an informant with some low-level users in town. They had recruited him as soon as he arrived on base and entered the First Term Airman's Center because he had that Article 15 from Basic/Tech-school.

They pulled him into their investigation, kept him out late at night (hence him oversleeping), and just used him incessantly. When it all came to light, the OSI Detachment Commander finally admitted it (I was furious) and told me to just punish him fully because, according to him, what they had him doing didn't excuse him from his other issues.

Ultimately, I got Snuffy administratively discharged and didn't take any judicial action against him. He wasn't fit for the life. I never really hammered the kid—he was obviously below-average intelligence and OSI exploited that with no remorse. After Snuffy's discharge, my Chief, 1st Sergeant, and I went out and bought the kid a bunch of stuff he needed (clothes, food, etc) to try to get him on his feet.

All of us were just disgusted, not by Snuffy, but by the way we completely failed him. He was a mess, for sure, but what was done to that kid was unforgivable.

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25. The Delphinophile

Let's call this guy George. He was in 2009 Basic Training at Fort Jackson. Of course, everyone called him Gomer Pyle. He was just not someone who should be a soldier. He sucked at push-ups and everything else. Was always messing up in our drills. And then…he said he loved dolphins and wanted to marry one.

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26. Long Con

In Fort Gordon in 2009, I had a guy in our platoon who went to the hospital one day and complained of a heart murmur. He got put on a 90-day Dead Man Profile (no Physical Training of any kind whatsoever) and automatically granted off-base and civilian clothes privileges.

He was automatically pushed most of the way through training because he didn't have to take a physical training test like everyone else. That's fine, except by God he was so arrogant about it, so smug that he had pulled one over on our chain of command. That made it even more hilarious when I found out the truth about him. Over the next few months he was there, he regularly got inebriated at barracks and off-post hotel parties.

Again, he's supposed to have some sort of heart problem, but yet he's drinking, and underage at that, because he was 19 or 20. How he made it all the way through Basic Training, I will never know. How he made it through more advanced training, I will never know. How he made into, then out of, the active duty Army with a deployment under his belt, I will also never know.

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27. A Few Teabags Short Of A Pot

There was this kid named Daun. He was a special boy. He was trying to figure out how to make hot water for his tea. I suggested using his MRE heater (with the beverage bag, because common sense). So he just filled up the heater bag with water, drops the heater in, and sets it aside to do its job. Then he starts making tea...with the water that was in direct contact with the heater.

I opted to not stop him, because at that point, I figured the only way he was going to learn anything was through experience. His squad leader stopped him. Another time, he had to re-shoot his firearm qualification. He needed a higher score to be able to participate in an upcoming event, so he got back later than most of us.

By the time he got back, we had already returned our firearms, so we told him to clean his and turn it in. He spends 90 minutes cleaning it. Finishes and starts to head up to supply. I offer to give it a quick once over, just so he doesn't waste his time walking all the way up there to be turned away. He agrees, and hands it over.

I pop it open, pull the bolt carrier, and the firing pin plops out in my hand...Black. Completely black with carbon. The whole thing is carbon everywhere. He never opened it up to clean it. Just spent 90 minutes wiping down the outside. Daun was like a radio without a hub battery. The moment you turned it off, he forgot everything.

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28. He’s Not Losing Any Sleep Over It

One of my classmates in had narcolepsy. He could fall asleep standing up, and he did. He also had a really bad stuttering problem. One night on our Field exercise, we were practicing using a radio. He couldn’t say Romeo and kept stuttering through it. We were trying to not be jerks, so we were trying our hardest not to laugh.

He had his mom send him several boxes of clothes to him, and on Saturdays he would stand there ironing his cloths in his tan briefs with the door opened. I don’t even know where he got an ironing board from. When we all graduated, he had four large boxes of clothes and shoes along with his issued bags of clothes he had to take on the airplane.

I wasn’t with him at his first duty station, but I ended up at the same unit six months after he left the Army. During that time there, he totaled his car after falling asleep at the wheel and got a citation for leaving his weapon in Iraq.

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29. Triple Whammy

I had a guy whose house was such a disgusting pigsty that the whole unit had to go clean it up for him due to him being in base housing. He let his dogs go to the bathroom all over his house and never picked it up, there were bottles full of pee in his closet—but that wasn’t the worst part.  The cherry on top was that the genius sprinkled used rubbers around the house when he knew the unit was coming to clean.

He is easily the biggest pieces of garbage I have ever met and is now living extremely comfortably on disability welfare without lifting a finger for what are almost certainly completely fraudulent reasons.

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30. No Fear

There was a guy who just lost the ability to care. One night he went into the sergeant’s room and put on the sergeant’s hoodie and lay down on his bunk. He didn't get caught with that one, but he was caught eating rations on multiple occasions when he wasn't supposed to, and would sometimes just sit down when we were in formation.

Generally he just did crazy, bold stuff all the time without caring whether he got caught. Then when he did get caught he just stood there and took it like a true stoic. He said he'd been forced to join by family. I'm actually not sure if he made it but that was the memory that stands out.

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31. Last Resort

During my Navy time, part of my portfolio was doing psychological suitability assessments for security-sensitive posts and upper-level clearances. About 80% of that was evaluations for people who made a superior mad. Where I was, there were a ton of high-security areas that required elevated clearance, so even Mop Duty required an area-specific clearance. But there was one guy I’ll never forget.

I had a recruit across the table from me stop, mid-interview (it wasn't going terribly well at that point) and tell me that I'm a complete waste of skin and he'd rather dunk his junk in a vat of acid than spend another minute with me. It's bad enough to say that to a higher-ranking enlisted...but I was an officer.

The Navy is big on the whole "Tradition" thing, so that really didn't fly. I found out later he'd been bounced vessels multiple times for insubordination and was given a shore post because there was nowhere else to send him.

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32. Paging Buffalo Bill

At 18, I joined the Army but unfortunately was medically discharged as I injured my knee. During the discharge process you get put in a platoon full of everyone leaving, or the people being kicked out. Essentially, a bunch of idiots. I walked into my new room that I was living in until my paperwork was ready for me to leave to find one of my new roommates.

He was a Scottish guy. He starts trying to show off about how he’s a farmer and how he’s hot stuff. He tried talking back to me…and decided best way to do that was eat one of the biggest moths I've ever seen about 30 cm in front of me. Ok my man.

Military IdiotsPxHere

33. Sink Or Swim

Our branch REQUIRES you to know how to swim. Plenty of people show up not knowing how to swim, which is bizarre. So it was week two and we go for our initial swim assessment. If you passed this one, you proceeded on to the 10-minute tread water. If you passed that, you got to proceed on to the 20-minute mustang suit float test. If you passed all those, you didn’t have to enter the pool again during the eight weeks of boot camp.

One of the guys was really cool, and was going to be a food service specialist. I had a feeling he was going to have trouble swimming. And he did indeed fail the initial swim test—and it was brutally embarrassing. The dude started thrashing around after the 10-foot drop into the water from an elevated platform. He had to be rescued by the on-duty rescue swimmer.

So he spent the next three weeks waking up at 4 am to go to "remedial swimming" where they taught him how to swim. It wasn't pretty, and it was barely enough to get him around the perimeter of an Olympic-sized pool. But he made it. And he graduated basic training.

I went to the same A-school base as him, and he asked me if I could help him get better at swimming (I was the second-best swimmer in the company) and I said sure. Turns out, the biggest thing he was doing wrong was breathing like he would when walking around. I had him practice holding his breath while treading water.

That actually helped him out a lot. 235 pounds of extremely low body fat and you are going to be a heck of a lot heavier in water than 235 pounds of normal body fat. At the end of a month of helping him out, dude could swim pretty well under the circumstances. And he ALWAYS hooked me up with the best food.

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34. Mother Knows Best

This kid shot the backpack of another guy, which we used as a place to set the firearm on, at the range while laying on the ground. During the physical tests, he would be out of breath five minutes into slow-paced jogging, laying on the ground begging to be allowed to go back to the barracks.

When we were having bivouac for an entire week, this dude brought his phone along, because he was scared to lose his Snapchat streak. His mom called in one day, asking the instructors to make sure he takes his vitamin tablets and not to be too harsh on him.

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35. If At First You Don’t Succeed…

I had a guy who I sent out to count how many rocket launchers we had. He came back with a different number five times in a row. I finally just had to do it myself. I mean, I get Marine Infantry are supposed to be dumb, but how the heck do you consistently fail to count to 12?

Military IdiotsShutterstock

36. Not Worth A Hill Of Beans

"Beans" got his nickname because once while at Walmart, he bought two FLATS' worth of baked beans in two flavors, because they came out to $.20/meal. At the time, he was living in the dorms, so it should've been a red flag that he had baked beans stacked up to 1/3 of the total available space allotted to him...should've.

Beans spent years being extraordinarily creepy around women and strangely aggressive towards certain men. Years went by, and he was one day hospitalized for a minor issue. He asked his supervisor to swing by his home and grab his bag of clothes, etc. The supervisor found an indoor weed farm.

Understandably, the super called the Security Forces. On further inspection, they found quite a lot of harder substances. But it gets even better. On further inspection, they found a manifesto titled, "Why Al Qaeda Will Win," along with a fairly detailed series of schematics detailing the air ventilation system of our building, its intakes and its vulnerabilities.

Notably, we were an intelligence unit, so our building had highly particular and specific HVAC systems. This was only a handful of years ago, but Beans has been immortalized in that building. From an Intel perspective, it's not so much, "How did he pass Basic”? It's, "How did the background check not catch that he's psychotic"?

To this day, people wonder why the heck he invited his super into his house.


Military IdiotsShutterstock

37. From Bean To Sprout

There was a gentleman who worked in my unit who was genius brilliant. A mathematical savant. We worked in nuclear power in the Navy so most of us were relatively intelligent, but this guy was exponentially more intelligent.

One big problem was he would not eat Navy food. He grew sprouts in his bunk. And that’s all he ate. Thinking back on it, he must’ve eaten something else but it wasn’t in the chow hall. He lasted about six months and then one day he just disappeared. Got discharged. I don’t know what he’s doing now but I’m sure he’s either a Nobel prize winner, or malnutrition took him out.

Military IdiotsShutterstock

38. The Saga Of Squid

So there I was in Basic Training at Fort Sill in the winter. Cold as heck, but you don't need to feel your face to learn how to walk in formation and do push-ups. We had a lovely Specialist I'm going to call Squid. I never saw this man in the reception battalion but saw him when we were transferring to our actual unit.

I was about six bodies behind this lumbering boil of a human being as we did the circus of our first "shark attack". Personally, I had been through something similar before Basic when I went through LEO Training, so I got to enjoy the shock and awe of our Drill Sergeants ripping into the bright, young faces of my future battery-mates.

SPC Squid was a deer in the headlights. He was swirling around, lost in the sauce, and looked about two screams away from crying for his mother before we were told to pick up our gear and start walking. We marched in two columns for about a mile up the road with our duffle bags to the starship that would be our new home for the next nine weeks.

SPC Squid had fallen out so far that he needed other people to carry his gear for him, and he still needed some other coaxing to move along. Due to my name and his, we were organized into the same platoon, so I got to see SPC Squid firsthand the entire time. During the first week, we learned plenty of marching, drill and ceremony, and basic courtesies.

During our first few hours of facing movements, SPC Squid was having trouble with his turning. Something wasn't right. Confused and annoyed by his failure to perform simple tasks, my superior shouted at him and told him to raise his left hand. It was then that we realized we were in for a ride. SPC Squid raised his right hand.

My superior grabbed the brim of his brown hat, visibly shook, and then told him to fix himself before he was turned into fertilizer. Throughout training, SPC Squid never did get his left and right figured out, "monster mashed" whenever he walked, and couldn't stay in step to save his soul.

SPC was timid and hardly ever rose his voice to an audible level, which annoyed the Drill Sergeants. Even though he was intelligent in his studies, he had zero common sense. He couldn't think to save his life in standard situations and ended up getting us roasted for responding dumbly to the Sergeants.

For his first physical training test, this guy did six push-ups, 10 sit-ups, and ran his two mile somewhere around 20 minutes. It might've been longer, but I do remember our Drill Sergeant chasing him and telling him to hurry up while walking beside him. Yes. The guy was walking while SPC Squid was wheezing up his lungs. This dynamic persisted for the next two tests we did, and the numbers hardly changed.

In the bay, we learned that SPC Squid was very unhygienic. He showered probably a total of five times throughout training, rarely did laundry, and at one point he lost his laundry bag, but rather than ask to get a replacement he decided to just stuff his old clothes and uniforms into his locker.

We hardly got locker inspections due to our Drill Sergeants being more focused on training, but after a few weeks of SPC Squid pushing clothes into his locker, it turned Chernobyl. The smell spread like a plague around his locker and walking past his bunk would lead to your nostrils getting blasted.

One evening while I was on fireguard for the hour, I was sweeping the bay floor and decided not to be deterred from cleaning by his locker bile. So I came up with a plan. My solution was to put in my gas mask while I was sweeping. Well, joke’s on me; my Drill Sergeant picked that time to come check on us. So, there I was with a broom, standing at attention while my DS tried to figure out why I was wearing my mask.

I introduced him to the stench, and my DS paused for a moment, excused himself calmly from the bay, then returned a few minutes later with his own gas mask. He woke up SPC Squid, ordered him to open his locker, and was introduced to the beast within. Needless to say, SPC Squid and his bunkmate were goners for the next hour and he was then told to clean up his clothes and wasn't allowed to sleep until the locker was emptied, cleaned, his laundry completed, and his walking carcass cleaned thoroughly.

My Drill Sergeant joked about a shower roster the next morning and my platoon decided to implement it. The DS found it on the wall the following morning, shouted "IT WAS JOKE, YOU BARBARIANS", proceeded to laugh and told us to take it down. SPC Squid, being an intelligent college boy, was also never around a weapon.

Many of my fellows hadn't been so he wasn't alone, but this man couldn't shoot the broadside of a planet if his target was Jupiter and he was standing in front of it. It took almost a whole day for him to zero his weapon, took two days for him to qualify, and he never qualified on his higher tests but they marked him down anyways just to get him through.

During our ruck marches, Squid could hardly walk with the ruck and always had to pass his weapon off to someone else because otherwise he'd scuff the metal along with his knuckles. Every march, he ended up having to get thrown into the back of the rear truck after about three or four miles.

Out of everything, SPC Squid never passed a physical training test, failed evaluations, technically never qualified on his weapon, didn't pass any of the ruck marches, failed the confidence course due to being unable to navigate most of the obstacles, and was a biological hazard for the span of his time in the bay. But they still passed him and he never recycled.

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39. Where’s The Instruction Manual?

Navy. We had "armed" watches. The guns were real if I recall correctly, but the ammo was fake or something. However it worked, you couldn't fire these guns and shoot somebody. Ole Billy Bob gets bored at 2 in the morning on watch and decides to take the weapon apart. He managed that, but couldn't get it back together.

Oncoming watch wouldn't turn over with him, because his firearm was disassembled. He spent the remainder of the night trying in vain to get it back together, then going around trying to wake people up to help him. Sleep is a premium at boot camp, you don't get much of it, so that went over terribly.

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40. What’s Plan B?

One of my good friends was an Army Ranger, and he had a guy in Ranger school who was bragging that his whole goal was to get to the highest pay level he can and then get disabled by a "misfire" or accidental friendly fire. I guess no one had told this guy’s superiors before Ranger school, but the guys in his class sure as heck told on him. I think he ended up with a dishonorable discharge because of it.

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41. She Needs To Be Straightened Out

I got woken up by the fire alarm once during my training. We all file out of the barracks and discover that one of the female service members was attempting to iron her hair in the dark and set off the fire alarm. She was not removed from the course.

Paranormal emergencyPexels

42. GI Jane

This one's a little bit different. I was in a Co-Ed basic training at Fort Jackson back in the day. There was this one girl, I'll call her Jane, who was extremely smart but was super tiny and weak compared to her counterparts.

She would struggle on runs, push-ups, sit-ups, and ruck marches looked terribly painful for her. She would barely squeak by anything involving physical training. We would overhear the women talking down to her saying things like "you're making us all look weak". I mean she was really trying but her physical stature just made everything super difficult. She was improving over time physically but I remember her for her commitment and heart.

Towards the middle of training we had to hit the bayonet course. It's basically a series of obstacles on a path in the woods with dummies you stab with your bayonet. Everyone got a walk through and went back to the beginning. Each soldier was to go down the course by themselves and there was like a 10-15 second gap between when the next soldier would go.

Jane was behind me a ways, so when I finished she was out on the course. She came running down the course and finished which was good for her. Jane walked over to a Drill Sergeant who was talking to our First Sergeant and interrupted them. This is one of the biggest no-nos you can ever do in basic.

The Drill Sergeant whipped around and screamed "This better be really important Private"! Jane’s answer was not what he expected. Out of breath, Jane said, "My bayonet is in my arm, Drill Sergeant". Sure enough, this big old bayonet is impaled to the hilt through the middle of her forearm. The DS was like "What”? and asked how this happened.

Apparently, she fell over the second obstacle and pierced herself right through the arm. She detached the bayonet from the rifle and completed the course with a bayonet stuck in her arm. Completed the course. I like to think that I was reasonably tough back then, but I would have probably been screaming and completing the course would have been the last thing on my mind.

She came back that day all bandaged up with no lasting damage. She graduated with us on time.

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43. Greatest Hits

Army guy here. I went to basic with this one guy. Let's start from the top. He almost shot a Drill Sergeant, got a staph infection and refused to get medicine, and slept in his wall locker during toe the line. Toe the line is when you stand right by your bunks quiet at the position of attention and wait for your Drill Sergeant.

He would listen to the Drill Sergeant explain what you would have to do and the DS would ask if there were any questions. He would not ask at that time, but then five minutes later ask him a seriously dumb question.

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44. Spinning Away

This guy was a student in aviation school while I was an instructor. He was a new soldier attending his technical school after basic. Apparently, he was on the autism spectrum but functioned well enough for the Army. He was great at physical tasks. That's how he passed basic. He was also very intelligent in the classroom study. If he was directly instructed he was fine.

One day I found him in the hall between classrooms during a class session. He had taken a restroom break but got sidetracked and was staring deeply into the ceiling fan. It took several attempts to get his attention. I had to touch his arm when he didn't respond to my approach or calling his name a few times. It happened a few times with other instructors until our supervisor addressed it with the division chief.

It was decided after several medical consultations and meetings with the Colonel that it wasn't safe to allow this student to proceed as a helicopter mechanic. It was ultimately a safety matter because he could get mesmerized by a spinning rotor on an airfield. Strangely, I saw him later on a deployment to Afghanistan. He was reclassified as an artillery soldier.

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45. Peeping Tom

I had a girl who would hit herself in the face when she got upset. Like, full, hard slaps. It was unnerving to watch. She’d also hide candy and food from the mess deck and eat it alone in the bathroom. Our beds were next to each other, separated by a thin piece of metal with small holes punched in it for air circulation. One night I was reading a book and she asked me how I liked it.

I asked her how she knew what I was reading. Her answer made my blood run cold. She said she was watching me through the holes in the partition. This girl made it through the recruiter, MEPS (where they do a psych evaluation) AND boot camp! Clearly someone dropped the ball.

Military IdiotsShutterstock

46. Passing The Buck

I went through basic with this kid. This dude had literally, never a day in his life prior, done anything physical. Ever. He had a permanent hunchback from sitting on the couch all his life, he was literally purple because he circulation sucked. His arms had the batwings of an 80-year-old woman, and he honest to god had a wattle. This led to his unfortunate nickname of "Turkey”.

He legitimately couldn't do five push-ups, a single sit-up, this dude couldn't even jump high enough to grab on to a pull-up bar, let alone do a pull-up. Failed every single physical test we took. The Drills actually called his mother, and the ARMY paid for her to fly out, so she could give "encouragement" so maybe he would finally pass one.

Home-slice still graduated with us, because the Drills couldn't be bothered to chapter him and wanted his gaining unit to take the flak instead.

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47. Shoot Me Once, Shame On You

My cousin was a medic in the army for 25 years. He once had to patch a platoon sergeant AND a platoon commander who both were shot by a private playing with his firearm in the motor pool at Fort Campbell. He never saw the private again.

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48. Ba-dum-ching

While we were getting our immunization shots, I overheard the nurse asking another recruit about medical family history. His answer was so hilarious, it’s unforgettable. With a straight face, he told her: “My family has a history of hypothermia”.

Military IdiotsShutterstock

49. Daddy’s Little Recruit

I am in the Marine corps and I remember this woman who had been extremely sheltered her whole life. I didn’t pay much attention to her during actual boot camp, but we had the same job so we went to the same school. We ended up being roommates and I was like “How in the world are you a Marine”?

Here are some highlights: She wouldn’t allow myself or my other roommates to listen to music with cussing, she proudly talked about her father’s dress code for her despite being 22, bragged about never having a first kiss/boyfriend, and literally never cleaned and me and my other roommates had to pick up her slack. The straw that broke the camel’s back?

That was when I went to pick up rubbers at the PX store and she tagged along to get some things. When I reached to grab a box, this 22-year-old woman audibly gasped and covered her mouth. I was quite frankly tired of it and I whipped around and was like “WHAT”?!

She just turned her head awkwardly and was like “I didn’t know you were like that”. For context, she was homeschooled and grew up in a super Christian home. I kinda feel bad for her, but at the same time I was just so sick of dealing with an adult with the mentality of a 13-year-old.

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50. Knights Of The Round Mirror

I had a guy who was really quiet, talked to himself mainly, and would not shower because he feared being in the buff. He was just not all there at all—but none of that prepared me for what happened when I found him in the bathroom.  I had to go drop a deuce one night and I see this guy staring in the mirror, chanting something with a makeshift crown on his head and a hanger that he bent into the shape of a sword.

When he sees me, in runs into the stall and locks it. It blew my mind. I sat there thinking, “This guy can’t possibly make it in basic”, but sure enough he did.

Military IdiotsPexels


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