Professor Benjamin Smith
Military Language: Through My Eyes
My drill instructor TSgt Huggins proudly stated to my flight of sixty other high school kids from around the U.S., “Well boys we just got some breaking news from the commander, the state of Texas’s elevation has increased by four inches and it’s your all’s responsibility to right this wrong and the only way to do that is to push, so get on your face and keep pushing till I say stop.” When most people overhear military personnel conversing with one other, I’m sure their first thought would be that the English language is being butchered because all they hear are acronyms. Examples are abound everywhere: if you overheard me saying that it’s time to go chow at the DFAC, most civilians would just stare at me with a puzzling look, but if other military personnel or someone familiar with the terminology overheard me, they wouldn’t question what had just been said at all; on the contrary, they would just know that it was time to go eat at the dining facility.
The first time military language was introduced to me was the unforgettable day of June 29th, 2009 in the unforgivable heat of southern Texas at Lackland AFB. While 99% of my senior class was off having a last hoorah before they went off to college, I was getting told to get on my face and do pushups till my arms fall off by a man so huge, the earth shook beneath his feet. I was hundreds of miles away from home, and it suddenly hit me for what I had gotten myself into. Over the next two months I would have my views on life be changed almost on a weekly basis by what was going on around me. If I had known on my first day of what I should have said to Huggins question, I wouldn’t have had a problem, but instead I did the most idiotic thing you could do: I let out a small chuckle. With a blink of an eye, sergeant Huggins was in my face and letting me know if I thought something was funny, to which my response was “Sir...