Leroy Inspects the Troops

It only took me till about a week after receiving that Article 15 from Capt. Sawyer till I had my chance to partially get him back. It was during his first, formal command inspection of the barracks and the troops.

We had to clean every nook and cranny of the barracks real good for Capt. Leroy Sawyer’s first command inspection. We didn’t mind keeping clean, but everybody figured that that jerk Leroy was going to find something wrong no matter what.

While Leroy inspected the barracks, we all had to stand and wait in formation out back.

After Capt. Sawyer did his thing up in the barracks, he came down and stood in the front of the middle of the formation. As he did that the First Sergeant called us to attention.

Formation, for you civilians, is when the company of troops stands in four even rows at given intervals. Formal inspections meant wearing dress uniforms. Even though we all had to go back to work that day, and some of our jobs were messy and dirty which required us to wear work fatigues. My job sure could be messy, in the chemical filled environment of a photo lab.

I was in the third row back, over on the left side of the center of the formation, where the captain stood to signal the time to stand to attention and the beginning of the inspection, and maybe to address the troops, if he had anything to say. Standing inspections go from his left to right, from the front row, then back to the left on the second row and so on.

When a soldier is standing at attention they must not show any emotion. Cracking a smile or laughing is considered to be “breaking attention” and is a punishable offense. Unless the officer in charge tells a joke and expects you laugh.

As soon as Capt. Sawyer started in on his close inspection of each man in the front row, studiously looking over each man for any unshined brass or crooked lines in his clothing, stuff like that, low and behold, I hada’ fart try to escape my sphincter. It was one of them kinda’ bubbles of gas that felt like they were definitely all air, and easily controlled. I could have let it pass out slowly and silently, or I coulda’ let ‘er rip.

I weighed the facts.

It was not against 1970 era Army Rules and Regulations to pass gas, out one’s ass, like a bugler blowing reveille, during standing inspections. Sometime in the past, farting while standing at attention used to be punishable, but before that day in 1970 the Army had somehow been forced to accept farts as uncontrollable natural bodily functions.

But, I had the guys around me to consider. Not just that they had to stand there, while I went rude in their faces, and then they had to smell it, if it stunk (all right, mine stink), but if the solemn looks on their inspected faces broke into grins, giggles, smiles, smirks, or laughter it was their butts in a sling not mine. Capt. Sawyer would have torn into them worse than they deserved, so that they would maybe get real mad at me for causing their uncomfortable run in with the hated Cap’n Sawyer.

Lordy, Lordy. What ta’ do.

Leroy was a comin’ down the line up there on the front row. My butt was merrily bubblin’ inside. Leroy got closer and closer to the guy standing two rows up directly in front of me. My butt wanted to toot its troubles away. Leroy inspected each soldier on the front row faster and faster. I tightened up my gluteus maximus muscles like a nearly fartin' teenage boy sitting in a church pew in front the prettiest girl in the entire congregation. Leroy stopped at the man who was standing at attention directly up there on the other side of the guy in front of me, ahhh man, this is the chance of a lifetime, I gotta’ make it blast like a Moose lettin’ loose and that I did.

It was a loud, perfect, comedy movie style fart: baaraaraaraaruupp!

Fortunately, nobody broke being at attention.

Captain Leroy Sawyer had to go on about his inspection like nothing had happened.

Some of the guys grumbled about it to me a little right after we were dismissed from formation, but most of ‘um where right in tune with it. They only wished that Capt. Sawyer had been right behind me at the time, to receive the full blast of it. They were glad that I had the guts to pull it off and the backing of the Army Rules and Regulations to get away with it.

And a belated, “Excuse me,” to the poor fellow who was standing directly behind me when I passed gas.

Now, before you go too far in believing that I was just a disgruntled, lone wolf soldier who thought up a bunch of excuses to convince myself that I had a right to be disrespectful to all of the sound reasons why periodic military inspections are necessary for the health, safety, and general well being of the inspected troops, read this next tale of a military inspection that I was a part of. If you take into consideration what happened during the next inspection, you will see that just about the whole gahdamned 1970 era US Army must have had lackadaisical attitudes about inspections. Here is the link to that story:

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