13 September 2007

Chow Runner

Besides the first night, the other thing in basic to which I can devote a fair amount of time and hilarity is my main job: chow runner.  There was a table in the chow hall where all the MTIs sat and ate or engaged in witty banter.  It had been nicknamed the snake pit.  It was the last place in that chow hall any trainee ever wanted to be.  After I was told this I made it my goal to avoid it.  I then was told that, as chow runner, I got to go straight to the center of the snake pit not once, but twice per meal.  It was my duty and privilege to report the flight to whomever was in charge of the board that day.  Chow runner turned out to be the BMT equivalent of cannon fodder.  I was there purely for the MTIs' enjoyment.  They criticized me if I talked too fast, too slow, marched at an undesirable tempo, stood too close, stood too far, my belt was off by a few centimeters, it was not shiny enough, my boots sucked, I sucked, my parents sucked, my girlfriend sucked (regardless of the fact that I did not have one), I said things incorrectly, and many things which were legitimately wrong with me, but I could have gotten away with under other circumstances.
The first time I wet in, I was proudly in my Carson Palmer jersey, with bleach blonde hair and glasses.  That day I earned the nicknames Carson, Vanilla Ice, Napoleon Dynamite, and Napoleon Ice.  They yelled the entire time I gave my reports for the first few days.  It was miserable.  I wished I had given my recruiter the finger while I still could've.  Alas it was my job and I had to do it wether I liked it or not.  My flight mates did get a kick out of the fact that whenever I yelled, "Proceeding, Sir" in response to the call of "Chow runner go" it was in my normal high voice, and sometimes they would get lucky and my voice would crack.  The most commonly heard phrase in the dorm at night most nights was "chow runner go" followed by a falsetto "proceeding, sir."
The most memorable time I ever did chow runner was when I was just starting fifth week and the first week flight had just left the chow hall.  I went in and stood at the control board and a portly, Hawaiian, female MTI was just about to tell me to report when four of the first weekers passed behind me.  She yelled, "Stop, assholes."  They looked quizzingly at her to which she responded, " Yea you assholes."  They turned toward her and she asked one of them, "Is your asshole thirsty?"  They looked back puzzled.  She reiterated, "Is your asshole thirsty?"  She was putting quite the obvious emphasis on the word ass.  "Does your ass need a drink, you asshole?" She prompted a third time.  It continued on like this for another minute with her saying ass more times than Sergeant Weimer said damn; I was impressed.  She finally explained to him that his canteen was upside down, causing the mouth to point to his butt.  She continued to rail him.  It was absolutely hilarious to hear this MTI say ass over and over and over.  I had to stand at attention the entire time.  Finally, I barely broke a smirk and another TI, who I did not know was there, came to ask me what I found so funny.  She sent me out, and my TI got angry and made me report to my dorm chief every half hour that night, 8 times.


theBrain said...

'Did' not have a girlfriend? Is there some change of which we should be aware?

david said...

Hey there, Do you still remember your chow runner speech to the flight to let them in? I remember bits and pieces sounding something like "fall in fall out followed by the first element"

If you can message me back with the entire Chow Runner speech, I would be grateful

Mark said...

To the MTI- Sir(mam) trainee ____ reports as ordered. sir(mam)flight ____ is prepared to enter the dining facility from the (east/west) side.
Repeat exactly what they say followed by yes sir(mam) thankyou sir(mam)

to the flight-
Flight ... prepare to enter the dining facility from the (east/west) side, all key personnel fall out fall in and followed by the first element.

to the MTI-
Sir(mam) trainee______reports as ordered. Sir(mam) the first trainee from flight _____has entered the dining facility from the (east/west) side.
Repeat exactly what they say followed by yes sir(mam) thankyou sir(mam)

Venus said...

Heh. I remember this. I was randomly selected to be Chowrunner with one other person, and that was the most miserable 2 weeks of my entire life. I'm glad my TI was male and didn't select me personally - at least I know that I wasn't that big of a screw up!!

I ended up loving being Chowrunner. The TIs stopped being on my case when my facing movements became sharp. It boosted my confidence. Chowhall was my DOMAIN. It vastly improved my marching. My military bearing and discipline was impeccable. And it was awesome seeing all the younger weeks get reamed.

Granted it was 2 weeks straight of screaming in my face, because I just could not remember how to correctly give the second half of the reporting statements. I remember my second day, getting screamed at by a female Tsgt... like legitimately screamed at. She was telling me how much she hated me and how she was going to make my life miserable, and I could not for the life of me remember what to even say to her. My TI ended up turning his back on me and leaving, and then I stood there for what felt like forever, listening to her scream, until another TI came up and told me what to say step by step.

I remember that same day I accidentally told a TI "Back, sir" as he passed by me with his tray. He took me outside and reamed my ass then, but it wasn't very scary, more funny, and took more effort not to laugh.

But you eventually adapt! My flight made it fun. In your post it sounds like you didn't like the "Chowrunner go!" chant, but that phrase was our flight motto.

Also, I never cried. I wanted to, but I figured that was letting them win. I was more angry over the fact that I couldn't get my shit straight than them yelling... they only yell when you do shit wrong, anyway.

But as I said, it makes you better... no one else in your flight goes under such scrutiny. If you're a good trainee, you'll let Chowrunning change you. Your uniform will be perfect, every time, that is for sure!

Zot said...

Hi Sean, This is funny and brings back great memories. I drew some cartoons of my friend who was the Chow Runner in our flight. One of his jobs was to always have a supply of salt tablets handy. Here is the link. I hope you enjoy it. http://zotsworld.blogspot.com/2008/10/chow-runner.html