Exceptions to Rules?
Rules are Rules, however, sometimes there are exceptions. While serving in a Truck Platoon in the 82d, we worked all hours of the day and night supporting units with truck transport. We had the Platoon rule that if you worked after 2100, you didn’t have to come in for the 0615 morning PT formation. You could show up after breakfast for the 0900 work call. If you worked after 2400, you could come in after lunch.
One Sunday evening I received another late night call, this time it was from my Company Commander. I was invited to go to Womack Army Hospital to retrieve a soldier that was directed by the MPs to donate a few ounces of blood to determine his blood-alcohol level. Naturally, I invited the soldier’s squad leader to accompany me.
As the MPs had me sign a hand-receipt for the soldier, they explained that they had received a call from a late night, on-post convenience store clerk relaying that a soldier in uniform had purchased a six-pack of beer and then drove away in an Army Truck. The MPs were amazed that by the time they pulled him over, not so much later, that he’d already consumed all six. To their amazement he didn’t act affected. After the sobriety test did not go well for him, they gave him a choice to either meet the night nurse and give blood, or go to jail.
Glory to the Bold
So, after we got him into our custody, he explained that he had finished his late-night mission and thought he’d get the jump on a few beers before getting home. He had completed around 1130 and knew he’d have to be in by 0900, so he didn’t want to spend the night drinking away.
However, he happily acknowledged, that now that it was way after 2400, he could, according to platoon rules, report after lunch.
I don’t recall if the squad leader restrained me or I him, from throat punching our soldier…..but the squad leader wisely and quickly whisked him away before any harm was done to him physically and to my waning career.
Needless to say, there are exceptions to all rules as our soldier found out in PT the next morning as the Platoon Sergeant vigorously ran to platoon in hopes of making him puke. Like a good truck driver and Paratrooper…..the soldier was unfazed by any of it. Also, needless to say, he too, got to revisit the rank of Private First Class. (Obviously this was in the days before automatic Chapter Actions, or removal from the Army, for stupid acts involving alcohol). Aside from realizing that all rules should have exceptions I also came to believe that one should never underestimate the ingenuity, humor, and boldness of a Paratrooper.
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