The lighter side – Stress Relief for Enlisted Soldiers!

by Timothy Imholt, Mike Garst


Every career field causes stress. How we handle that stress helps us cope with our chosen careers. Military members (on the enlisted side) have some unique ways of doing that, especially when in the field. As a couple of guys who did our time in uniform as enlisted dudes we may have needed that relief and been creative all at the same time. Always a malicious pairing!

As a result many pranks resulted over the years. Now that we are both out of uniform we put some of those pranks on paper.  Still not sure what I am talking about?  Here is the introduction to our book, Laughing at a Military Enlistment which can be found on Amazon.

Laughing at a Military Enlistment

Introduction to the book!


There are numerous books written by ex-military men and women.  Many of these are written by officers with the word leadership woven into the title someplace, and they hold great lessons for people in all walks of life. Many of these are phenomenal books that will cause anyone to think about and appreciate what our military members do in order to keep us safe.

Then there are others outlining acts of heroism so great they deserve a book, if not movie, of their own.  One such title that immediately comes to mind is Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson.  There are also a great many books of this type that will cause anyone to respect our military men and women for their sacrifices while performing acts of heroism.

This is not one of either of those kinds of books.

This book shows another side of military life, which is really specific to the male enlisted soldier’s life.

What happens when you get large groups of guys together?

Before you think of an answer consider that these are guys that live together, eat together, work together, and are, for better or worse, in close proximity essentially 24/7.

Well, boys are boys, and as a result, sometimes jokes, not to mention other funny things happen.  Neither of us can say if anything similar happens in the female enlisted ranks as we aren’t women.  But men are different than women, and let’s just say our sense of humor, especially when we are together in large groups, is far different than women’s.  It isn’t better, or worse, it is just different.  It is far more juvenile.  We can admit that, and that may be the first step to recovery, but we have lived this long in our current state, why bother growing up now.

This book tells the humorous side of what happens when new people join a unit, someone lets their guard down, or in some other way enlisted men have just a little too much time, or perhaps alcohol, on their hands.  These are some of those hijinks, pranks, and other humorous things that happened, at least those we will admit knowledge of in a format our wives may see.

What do we mean by that?

Well here is a preview of coming attractions.

Basic training is meant to do some very specific things. Among them is to train people to blindly follow orders, without asking too many questions (something that changes fast once out of boot camp).

In an army unit we won’t name, because they will probably enjoy anonymity after this, guys coming straight from basic training were just practical joke fodder.  I mean, why not, we all went through it, and we all need a laugh from time to time.

When the new guy first shows up they report in, and some desk Sergeant will see them before anyone else.  Depending on who is working the desk this can go smoothly, or this can be…bumpy is probably as good a word to use as any.

One way in which this can go down is when Sergeant sees where you are coming from, realizes you really are fresh meat, he may stand up and starts to yell like a Drill Sergeant for no other reason than he can, and he is bored that day.  All sort of things will be yelled, insults about the new guys mother, how women will never go for a weasel-looking (we are trying to keep this clean, these insults are usually far worse) guy like him, blah blah.  Then, at the very end, he will shout at the kid, “Now you will need some special equipment while you are in my unit.  Go down to supply and get yourself some dehydrated water.  Don’t come back without it you maggot!  Go! Now!”

Dehydrated water, the kind where you just add water and you have water.  Well, the kid will run off to find some supply Sergeant who will look at him and say, “What?  They didn’t give you that before you left training?  Shit, I’m all out.  Go see my buddy over at XYZ unit, go by foot, run, now, its two miles west of here.  Get going dumbass!”

This works only if he can keep a straight face, sometimes even the best of us break character.

Well, you can see where this goes.  Some number of hours/minutes later an exhausted kid finally catches on and goes back to find the Desk Sergeant laughing hysterically.

As a side note, dehydrated water was always a long shot.  Not many people would fall for that one, and usually the Supply Sergeant couldn’t keep a straight face.  But everyone once in a while you find that special day when the prank works.

Now, let the fun begin!  Enjoy these stories!  They were great fun to live through; at least once you weren’t the victim.