My old DS from DLI linked us to this, and it made me cry. It won't make a lot of sense to most of you, but it's still touching.
EXODUS = when everyone who can on DLI goes home for Christmas
CQ = Overnight security detail, pretty much.
Article 92 = General 'failure to follow orders'.
The boots and helmet and rifle thing is the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross, a traditional way to honor a fallen soldier... see here
.‘Twas a Week Before EXODUS
‘Twas a week before EXODUS and all through 622,
Not a Soldier was stirring, except the 3 on CQ.
Some stockings were hung out the window with care,
Evidence of the last time the Drills went through there.
Most privates were nestled, all snug in their beds.
While visions of EXODUS danced through their heads.
At my desk I sat as the coffee began to brew,
I cringed at the paperwork I knew I must do.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter!
Away to the window, I moved with a hop,
Tore open the shutter and yelled “Just drop!”
The moon on the breast of the new fallen dew,
Gave a luster of mid-day to privates I knew.
Why can’t they just listen? We’ve tried to get through,
We’ve trained, counseled, corrected, what more can we do?
It’s so frustrating when you know that you’ve given your all,
I just couldn’t take it, I told them to low crawl.
Don’t you realize Soldiers are dying in Afghanistan? Iraq?
Within a year that could be you, flip onto your backs.
We’ve told you a million times when you violate Article 92,
When will you realize it’s not all about you?
I shouted, “Roll over and just beat your face,
I’m heading right down so you can plead your case.”
As I stood before them I decided to reason,
After all, I thought to myself, ‘tis the season.
You need to realize that even though we can be tough,
It’s so that you succeed as a Soldier when it starts to get rough.
Sure we put your sheets in your fridge and toss over your beds,
What we try to get through is to just use your heads.
In the near future you’ll think back to the words you called hollow,
And say the very same things to your Soldiers who follow.
“Why did you do this tonight? You knew you were wrong.”
“No excuses, Drill Sergeant, but we knew it wouldn’t take long."
“I won’t even ask about this top secret mission.
Just move out, and draw fire away from my position.”
They came to attention, sounded off and they fled.
I just looked at the ground and stood shaking my head.
After a few moments I turned right around,
And stood staring at their handy-work that I had just found.
What stood before me took me by surprise,
Upon closer inspection I couldn’t believe my eyes.
A rubber rifle they had taken from training turned upside down,
On top of it a helmet and empty boots on the ground.
Inside of the boots I found a note and I read it,
“For the ultimate sacrifice that some have made… we will never forget it.
We’re still in training and weren’t there when you were under attack,
Give us a year or two and we’ll have your back.”
In my mind that night their memorial stayed,
And indeed for most of them an impression we made.
So don’t get discouraged when they appear to not get it.
This job is about them, and don’t ever forget it.
Replacing the note, to the barracks I turned,
Inside were smiling faces of Soldiers just burned.
I looked right at them and knew not what to say,
When out popped their heads, shouting,
“Happy Holidays, BRAVO ALL THE WAY!”