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One aspect of my training in the US Army basic combat training was the Battle Buddy system: you were paired with another person, usually in your squad, and at no times as a pair would you lack accountability of one another. In subsequent training in AIT (Advanced Individual Training), this system became far more important, due to the additional freedom and privileges that were provided in AIT (and more importantly, the policy to aid a whistle-blower to report illegal activities). Who your battle buddy was became a huge issue, due to the fact that you essentially lived with this person, and had no choice but to spend a large portion of your day with them. If you didn't get along with your assigned companion, you were for the most part S.O.L., and in the worst case scenario, you could grudgingly ask the Drill Sergeant to assign you a new one. In my case, I became extremely good friends with my Battle Buddy, and I found the entire experience to be quite rewarding.

'Battle', during basic combat training, was often used as an affectionate name for drill sergeants to refer to one another as, especially one particular situation: Our training company had completed training on firing tracer rounds down range, and we turned the dry, windy and painfully cold range into a half mile wide brush fire with the help of approximately eighteen hundred 60 gram brightly burning chunks of magnesium that we eagerly blasted across the landscape. The firing range sergeants were extremely displeased by this whole event, and made that clear to the drill sergeants. One thing led to another, and one of the unfortunate range sergeants insulted a drill sergeant. Immediately, retaliatory remarks were returned in the form of hissed insults over the field radio. "That bastard just shoved my battle!", the drill sergeants launched their own assault on the firing control tower, all of them eagerly homing in and doing what drill sergeants do best: be loud and intimidating. This didn't help our situation as 'dumb privates' at all, and we still ended up standing out in the cold for three hours after we had ceased firing. I will probably never forget how beautiful those flames looked, making perfect rings of dancing fire and leaving a circle of ash out in the flat field, nor will I forget the display of camaraderie among those drill sergeants even out of the battle field.

See: Stupid Human Tricks

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