There’s probably not a whole lot that’s funny about joining the military.

I’ve never done it, but in my mind, those first several weeks are probably some of the hardest of your life.

That said, if you’re the sergeant in charge of all these young, green boys you’re tasked with turning into men, I bet they say and do things that are pretty funny, right?

Let’s hear the responses from these drill sergeants and see if I’m right!

1. That’s how you work together.

Our DS called us a bunch of $$sholes who were not team players. So we came up with a cadence that had us yelling “week to week. Cheek to cheek. Us a$$holes stick together”.

The DS would try to hide his smiles when we pulled that one out.

2. A bit concerning.

I ordered the platoon to form up facing West. One troop asked, “Master corporal, our West or your West?”

I just walked away angrily and let his peers sort him out. I came out of my office and they were facing East…

3. Everything is sweating.

Crying while doing push ups, gets asked “Why are you crying?”

Answer: I’m not crying sir, my eyes are sweating.

4. What a numbnuts.

Not a DS but doing my best to translate ranks etc. from Finnish military: I served as an instructor for new conscripts during the latter half of my own conscript service.

We were testing how well the new conscripts had learned the ranks of our military. They would wait in line and when it was their turn I’d show them a piece of paper with the symbol of a rank in it. They would adress me properly, tell their name and say the rank. For example: “Sir Corporal sir, conscript last name, a Captain.”

The rank depicted on the piece of paper I showed was Corporal, which was also my rank and thus on my jacket, very visibly. The new conscript first adressed me “Sir general sir”. I raised an eyebrow and he quickly tried to fix his mistake: “sir second general sir” (a rank that would be right below general if it existed, which it does not).

The conscript behind him made a chuckle so he fixed his mistake again saying “Sir corporal sir, conscript last name, I don’t remember the rank you are showing”. I said “You just said it.” He went quiet in thought for a few seconds, then happily said “a conscript!”

5. No wrong answer.

My dad tells me this story all the time.

Back in the 80s when he was doing basic training the DS was going down the line asking why everyone joined and my dad was like “oh s*%t, I don’t have a good answer for this” and was nervous

DS goes to the guy next to my dad, asks the question and the guy says “TO DEFEND MY COUNTRY SIR”. DS goes “THAT’S BULLS*%T, YOU’RE HERE FOR THE MONEY AND THE EDUCATION”

And that became everyone’s answer

6. Kind of the point.

I had a particularly troublesome private who (for a long, complicated set of reasons involving – and this is key – a lack of judgment) I had required to stand fire picket outside of a port-a-john immediately adjacent to the brigade CP I was running.

I gave him a clip-board with an approved access list and required him to log all authorized visitors in and out of the john, which was the only real (read not a hole in the ground) facility anywhere for at least ten kilometres. He didn’t much like his job, but that was kind of the point.

Being the CP for the whole FTX, VIP visitors were to be expected. We had the brigade commander pull up and take the usual tour of CP – she looked at the master event list, checked where everybody was, called someone on the radio “to make sure that it worked” but really just to call herself Sunray etc.

That done, she excused herself to take advantage of the only toilette in the AOO. She returned a surprisingly long while later, made a cryptic comment about the facilities, collected her sergeant major and left.

It was at that point that I remembered that I’d left a borderline idiot posted up outside of the s*%tter. When I asked him what had happened, the following interaction occurred:

“The colonel wanted to use the john, sergeant!”

Fine, I told him, but what took her so long?

“I refused her access, sergeant!”

I was about to ask him why the apocryphal f**k anyone would do such a thing when I saw his white knuckles on the clip-board, and the answer became obvious: he had questionable judgment and she hadn’t been on the access list. Trying to keep my cool, I asked him what she had thought about that.

“She was very nice sergeant, said I was right to challenge her on that!”

Ok, I said, and then what?

“Then she told me to get the fuck out of her way or she was going to take a s*%t in my hat, sergeant.”

And did she take a s*%t in your hat, private?

I swear to god I think I saw him start to check. It was lucky for us that she had a sense of humour about it, but maybe not so lucky for him.

7. In the guide.

We had just finished our obstacle course and we were lined up in the squad bay getting ready to be hazed for sure, the guide was just fired he couldn’t complete the course. Drill instructors were pissed!! (Guide is the guy who is up front with the flag in the platoon – Marines)

Drill instructor asked “who in here wants to be the guide??”

Everyone quiet, you could only hear the previous guide getting quarterdecked (they make you do exercises and yelling at you) and sounds of things slamming and other recruits yelling in other squad bays.

Out of nowhere this dude says “I think “The Rock” should be the guide”

Drill instructor snapped a turn and got right on his face. Then asked him “who the f**k is The Rock??”

At this point I closed my eyes and I just said under my breath…… “fuck”. I had no idea it would be so obvious even at boot camp. People had always told me I looked like Dwayne Johnson.

This guy proceeded to say my name and then the drill instructor got right on my face and asked me to do the eyebrow.

Normally I would do it joking with friends and family, but this time it was an order. It felt different, I knew I couldn’t laugh after.

He had the hardest face while looking at me, and I proceeded to do the eyebrow, his Campaign cover snapped down so fast as soon as I did it, you could tell that he was holding his laugh and a few recruits couldn’t hold their curiosity and also smirked. I could tell as my eyes wondered for like half a second.

He put his fingers up to my face without saying anything, his Cover still down, you couldn’t see his face. He walked away. Everyone was quiet, nobody was moving.

A minute later he comes back with the other two drill instructors. And proceeds to ask me to do the eyebrow again, all looking at me like they hate me.

I did the eyebrow.

They all smirked and tried so hard to not laugh and proceeded to walk away toward their office as fast as they could. Once in there you could heard their laughs again and again and how the whole mood change for everyone that day.

We still got hazed and yelled at. I became the Guide and The Rock in the same day.

Good times.


8. No answer for that.

Recruit fired all his blank ammo during “ambush response” training. He crawled in ditch to opposite where the aggressors were, and started throwing rocks at them.

DI came running in middle of the road blowing his whistle and screaming “what the f**k are you doing?’. Recruit screamed back,” throwing hand grenades drill sergeant.’

With out missing a beat, the DI screamed “out f**king standing.” and walked away.

9. Stop it.

Marching the troops back to the barracks after lunch, I noticed a recruit with a white stain on his hip pocket. I halted the platoon and got in the recruits face. Me: “recruit, that white stain on your shirt better be because you are excited for this afternoons training”

Recruit “no Sgt. I am saving my snack for later”

Me: “what snack are you saving?” Recruit “ice cream”

10. A perfect crease.

Back in basic there was a huge amount of importance put on ironing creases. This was back before the Navy switched from Utilities to Digis.

Anyways, our RDC was a turbo-harda$$ 9 year Senior Chief; Chief Faulise (I think I spelled that right). So we’re all doing morning inspection, having ironed our clothes sometime during the night, when Chief sees some random recruit just walking though the hallway looking like absolute s*%t.

Chief called the recruit into our compartment, and had him take part in our inspection. This recruits uniform looked like it had been balled up and steamed. To this day I still can’t fathom how he managed to look so f**ked up.

So Chief looked at this kid and his f**ked uniform and started laying into him with the usual. “You look like hammered dog s*%t. I’ve seen smoother nut sacks.” etc… when Chief asks him “Did you iron even a single article since you’ve arrived” and the recruit replied “CHIEF, I IRONED MY SKIVVIES, CHIEF!”

Keep in mind we’re all standing at parade rest as this was transpiring. That means you couldn’t move or make a sound.

So Chief, hearing that this kid ironed his skivvies (underwear) made him dress down to his skivvies and march around the compartment saying “I IRONED MY SKIVVIES, CHIEF!”. We almost f**king died from holding in the laughter.

There was another time during basic that was pretty good too. Chief Faulise, like many RDCs, had a whole arsenal of insults at his disposal. But his favorite was definitely calling someone a bag of d*%ks.

So this guy is running track, and he’s struggling to keep a good pace. Chief starts motivating him with insults. I can’t quite remember the earlier ones, but eventually Chief called this guy a pu**y. That’s when this recruit replied “I’d prefer a bag of d*%ks, Chief!”

Basic was some of the most fun I had in the military.

11. Pack everything.

Planning a ruck sack March a private asked his section commander what he needed to pack. The Sgt said pack everything on your kit list.

As we are out on a 16km (10mile) March I look the private up and down and note his ruck looks a little light. I whisper to my friend ( his Sgt) this fact. At the next rest break The Sgt goes over and picks up the private’s rucksack.

There appeared to be nothing in it.

The Sgt (who’s 6’3”, 240lb and mean and ugly) goes to the private and after a few expletives asks him to empty out his ruck. The young private pulls out a piece of paper and says, “ you told me to pack my kit list Sgt”.

It took every will in my being not to lose my shit at that moment. Needless to say the young private had remedial ruck marches for the rest of the week.

Afterwards us section commanders had a great laugh at the audacity of the young lad.

Man I miss those days.

12. Quick thinking.

But I was US Infantry, serving in Korea. We were part of a mixed US/Korea unit, and during a briefing, one of the Korean soldiers fell asleep. Our sergeant wakes him up and begins screaming at him.

The soldier said “No Sergeant, you got it all wrong. In Korea, it’s a sign of respect to listen with your eyes closed, because then you have no other distractions.”

The sergeant bought it, and as soon as the meeting was over and the sergeant was out of earshot, we all cracked up.

13. Unfortunate name.

I feel bad for the guy, but I gotta say it. His last name was Smellie. As in, “smelly”.

So when I had him come into the class for the orientation/admin day the very first day, I ask everyone to stand up and give their rank, name, serial number. So when I heard “Private Smellie”, I lost it. I felt so bad for the guy.

I don’t know what fully came of Smellie, but this was back in 2007 and I had heard he didn’t make it through BMQ, and VR’d (voluntary release). This was in the Canadian Forces.

14. Priceless.

I have terrible vision. I had SUPER-THICC BCGs. During our super-lunch before leaving BCT and going to AIT, one of my Drills sits across from me and says:

“Private, those are some dense glasses. Can you see the future with those?”

“Yes, Drill Sarnt”

“OH!? What’s in your future Private?”

“Pushups, Drill Sarnt”


15. He rewrote it all.

We had a strict rule to write official documents with a blue pen. It is a NATO standard and has its excuses but all in all, it’s one of those things.

I had checked about 200 lines of weapons check-outs and in’s when at the bottom of the page(it has 50 on one side of the page) there was one entry in black. As you would imagine I found out who it was pretty quickly. Given the entry had his name and weapon number staring right at me.

Now the military has this thing where you go through ‘basic training’ for everything. I mean if you are given a pair of speakers, you are mandated to read the safety and usage instructions and give a signature for it, so they can’t be held liable to some degree.

This absolute piece of twig and sap looks at me with the most uncanny look when i confronted him about it. After a bit of friendly banter in-front of his whole room i ask: “So what is your excuse for using black ink?”.

“Sir, i’ve yet to get the formal safety and usage training for the blue pen, sir!”

He rewrote all 100 entries in blue pen that evening after being the only soldier to get training to use a blue pen instead of a black one. But man. That was a special moment where all the muscles in my face were fighting not to laugh.

The reason he had to rewrite 100 is due to the system in place for keeping track of weapons and ammo. Can’t say much but there are certain ways to get info faster if you set it up in a certain way.

But also because crossing out something was also a big no-no with weapons logs. So it screwed up our system to keep track of stuff and also made my commanding lose his brains when someone crossed something out.

I’m not gonna get into the combination of black ink and crossing out with my CO.

16. You have to salute.

One of my buddies has some amazing stories from DS time.

My favorite was about a pair of trainees walking down the sidewalk towards an officer. The one trainee (A) was carrying a large box with both hands, and the other (B) was walking to his right and had nothing in his hands.

The officer was getting ready to return the salute he knew was incoming, but the two trainees were visibly freaking out – how could A salute with both hands occupied?

B got the bright idea to salute with his right hand, appropriately, and to salute for his buddy with his left hand and a resounding “GOOD MORNING SIR”. This really needs the visual, but picture a Ginyu Force/Usain Bolt arm position.

The drill sergeants were falling over each other to go tear them apart, stifling laughter the whole time.

17. Just the truth.

Standing in formation at Fort Knox about to head to the range and everyone needs their gloves. One private comes out without them and the DS screams “private where the f**k are your gloves?”

In this thick Tennessee accent he goes “well d**n drill sarnt, I must of done left them sum b*%ches up sturs.”

The DS (from new jersey) just dies laughing.

18.  It’s sort of wholesome.

I’m a military nurse and as part of our orientation we had to give vaccines to the new recruits at MCRD. One of the recruits was probably four foot nothing.

They have yellow handprints on the wall for the bicillin shot and he couldn’t even reach them.

One of the DIs just kept yelling at him: “defy all odds recruit! Defy all odds!”

19. Yikes.

Not a drill sergeant. Back in 2000 at Parris Island we were doing warriors breakfast after the crucible. The series commander are asking questions like “where are you from,” and, “why did you join,” and so forth.

They get to this Cambodian kid and they ask him why he joined up. His response was, “because it was raining.” The series commander is like, “explain.”

It turns out the kid was like fresh off the boat in New York City, didn’t speak any English, and it started raining so he ducked into a recruiter’s office. They signed his a$$ up and he just went along with it.

He learned English in boot camp.

20. Exercise ensued.

Context: in army basic training, anything said to a drill sergeant needs to end with their title. Yes, drill sergeant. No, drill sergeant.

So early into basic our drill sergeant was handing out rifles. He asks my battle buddy for his serial number. Battle buddy rattles it off.

So the drill sergeant, not having heard his title given, asks him “who the fuck do you think you’re speaking to? A drill sergeant? An asshole? A dickhead?”

My buddy, realizing he forgot the title and now fully flustered goes to say “apologies, drill sergeant,” but instead says “apologies, dickhead.”

Both their eyes got wide at the same time in totally different ways. The private realized he may not survive what comes next. The drill sergeant is giddy with excitement that a private just called him a dickhead to his face.

Exercise ensued.

21. A sad day.

Not a DS, but a Navy recruit. I was on colors duty and it’s kind of windy in Chicago.

One time, we did not tie the fastening ropes well enough so the flag ended up half mast. Our RDC retrieves me and the other recruit from class an hour later and proceeds to yell at us and asks, “who the f**k died?”

The other recruit, without missing a beat, says, “Chris Farley.” (which was technically true cause he died a few days before).

The RDC had to leave to compose himself, before proceeding to have us stand at attention for a few hours while all the other ship RDCs came by and made fun/yelled at us, making Farley and SNL jokes.

22. This way to infamy.

My DI ordered me to tell another DI to go f**k himself. After a moment of confusion, I did.

DI #2 was super pissed and threatened me with all kinds of stuff, but I was never really worried, since I figured DI #1 was just messing with us both and wouldn’t let it go too far. I was right.

The other trainees nearby who overheard the exchange were convinced I was done. Made me a minor celebrity afterwards.

23. Not up for the challenge.

Here we are all lined up on our last day of basic training and the Lt. Col. is going around with two other officers asking us one by one if we wanted to join the Corporal’s Cadre. Everyone before he reached me had said yes. A few had initially said no, but for whatever reason changed their minds. Then it’s my turn:

Lt Col: What’s your name, Private?

Me: Sir, Private Bermsi, Sir!

Lt Col: Are you joining the Cadre? Are you up for the challenge?

Me: Sir, No, Sir!

Lt Col: Why is that, Private?

Me: I’m not up for the challenge, Sir!

The other two officers suddenly had huge smirks on their faces and the Lt. Col. just went silent. He stood there dumbstruck with nothing else to say, and proceeded to move on to the next person. Other officers approached me afterwards laughing since they didn’t expect anyone to say no and stick to that answer.

24. They couldn’t hold it in.

Rifle range week in the pits. Two DIs walk towards each other. An echo of “Good morning, sir!” as they walk past each recruit. Until they converge on one.

“Good morning, sir!”

“Sir? I know there’s two of us.”

“Aye, sir!”

“Oh, so f**k me, right?”

“No, sir.”

“Then f**k him?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, it has to be one of us. So which is it [recruit], f**k me or f**k him?




“F**k him, sir.”

Both DIs, making no attempt to conceal it, start bursting into laughter. The one who made him say it stumbles away in tears.

The f**k him DI collects himself and provides some incentive training to the kid.

25. Things that are funny later.

I remember when I was in boot camp we were in the squad bay cleaning our rifles. One recruit was in crutches and so he was just sitting down basically watching us clean ours. Drill Instructor walks over and asks wtf he is doing.

Recruit: “This recruit doesn’t have a rifle”

DI: “No shit. Start cleaning your crutch recruit”

Recruit: “The crutch sir?”

DI: “Yes now clean it and say the crutch creed”

Recruit: *Starts to brush his crutch

“This is my crutch. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Without me, my crutch is useless. Without my crutch, I am useless-”

DI: “Wtf. Shut the h**l up recruit”

Drill Instructor had to walk away and put his hat in front of his face so we couldn’t see him laugh. We all had a good laugh about it that night during square away time.

There are plenty more stories that made us laugh once boot camp was over.

26. A trick question.

Not an instructor, but was a recruit.

Me and another recruit were in the hall putting away the marching flags when my Petty Officer 2nd class strode up to us. He was the hard a$$ of the bunch, but he had his moments. He looked at us and then at the door guard and whispered to us “Watch this.”

He approached the door guard and screamed in his face: “WHO IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE RDC?” (Recruit Division Commander)

The door guard panicked and muttered he liked them all. He screamed “BULLS*%T!” before walking off with a grin.

A couple hours later, he did the same thing to our sister division, but apparently that door guard prepared herself.


DG without missing a beat: “I DON’T KNOW WHO SHE IS, BUT THE PETTY OFFICER IN (different division) IS PRETTY RUDE!”

PO just as fast: “I DON’T LIKE HER EITHER!”

Then they both turned away while everyone tried not to laugh.

27. He could laugh at himself.

In Navy bootcamp we have a thing before Battlestations called Amnesty Night. This is where we confess all the dumb s*%t we managed to get away with to our RDCs and not get in trouble.

Our chief had a lisp, which we all talked shit about throughout boot camp, but never in front of him. We had a pretty short guy named Patterson that could do a perfect impression of our chief.

Patterson proceeded to stand up in the middle of Foreward IG and said “Why the f**k do I have to keep touching your dirty asth sthkivysth? You mother f**kerths make me sthick”.

The entire division was dying, the RDCs were in tears about to fall out of their chairs. When everything quietened down, our chief looked at us and said “I f**king hate you guyths, but that wath f**king funny”.

The entire division proceeded to die again

28. Always ask first.

“Sir! This recruit respectfully requests to go throw up!” We were in the middle of a “intensive training” session. I allowed it, he ran to the bathroom, loudly emptied his stomach, ran back to me and said “Sir! This recruit respectfully requests to resume intensive training!”

And he went right back into push-ups. He did well.

29. It was him all along.

Not necessarily what a recruit said but had to do…

Imagine this…0500 in physical training formation. Everyone is dressed in the proper uniform (gray shirt, blue shorts, white sock and a shiny new pair of New Balance Dad shoes) except for Recruit Dumba$$.

Recruit Dumba$$. realized he didn’t have clean white socks while getting ready and thought it would be ok to join the formation in knee high (green) socks. The following conversation transpired:

Drill Sergeant (DS): Trainee Dumba$$., what the h**l do you have on?

TD: Ma’am, I didn’t have clean white socks so I used my uniform socks instead.

DS: Trainee Dumba$$., do you know what covert ops is?

TD: Yes, Ma’am.

DS: Trainee Dumba$$., I want you to covert ops your a$$ over to the barracks and acquire a pair of white socks from your laundry bag.

TD: *stares blankly*


TF: *Does what he’s told and low crawls nearly a mile to the barracks. Nearly dies from exhaustion and humiliation.*


Trainee Dumba$$.

30. He lost it laughing.

One guy got selected to go to the Natick Human Research Center after basic, which is basically a place where they use soldiers in experiments to test new gear.

So he gets his pamphlet or whatever from the DS and as he’s walking away he says “Well, I didn’t want a robo-d*%k in my a$$ but I guess I’m getting one” and the DS just lost it laughing.

Had to close the door to his office.

31. Hat troubles.

Doing a ruck march in basic training, wearing the patrol cap since we are at Heat Cat 5…aka it’s really hot outside. There’s a kid walking with his hat sort of coming off his head, with the brim pointed upward.

Recruit is told that the hat must be worn where the cap band is parallel to the marching service.

Recruit calmly states that we’re currently walking uphill.

32. Mom didn’t listen.

Got a letter from mom who desperately wanted to send her #1 Son something.

I mailed back “Don’t. Last guy who got something got bent while the Instructors shared it and the rest of us watched.”

I’ll give her this, she’s clever.

She sent me ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN Snickers bars. One for each of the 103 recruits, and 4 for the drill instructors.


We picked up a 5th DI that week.

They made me open this big heavy ass package I got in front of them. That was the first time I’d heard them laugh.

I got bent up front while 102 recruits and 5 DI’s watched and slowly enjoyed their Snickers bars.

I still hate Snickers.

33. Not paying attention.

Asked a private the difference between cover and concealment.

Private said : “Drill Sergeant! You asked what seems like a very important question which I am supposed to know the answer. However this private was imagining not being called on, and was not paying attention to the question! Drill Sergeant !!”

34. Not what he imagined.

Fort Sill, OK 2002 (during my basic) DS is smoking us on the first day, playing “Who doesn’t want to be here? – If you don’t want to be here, I don’t want you here. Just tell me and you can go home…” We’ve been in front-lean-and-rest for between 15 min – 2 years (give or take), when somebody raises their hand. DS was flustered for a second because I don’t think anyone had ever actually been dumb enough to raise their hand.

He goes and gets gown in Private’s face and in screaming at him. Finally he says “Why don’t you want to be here?” I’ll never forget the response: “Drill Sergeant, this is not what my recruiter led me to believe this would be like. ” Only time I saw the DS speechless. I ended up doing basic, OCS, and officer basic course with that guy.

There was another PhilKenSebin in the platoon and the DS asks my one day if I would mind if he called my “White PhilKenSebin” so he could tell us apart (I’m white, DS and other guy weren’t). I think he wanted to see how I would react. That weekend we got our phonecall and I asked my parents to address my next letter to “White PhilKenSebin”.

Next mail call, DS (who was really cool as DS’s go) is just rattling off names and gets to my letter. You could almost hear his brain record-scratch. Worth the push-ups.

Y’all. I am absolutely dead and these did not disappoint.

If you’ve got a funny story that fits on this list, share it with us in the comments!