"He's got the eyes of a leopard seal."
A United States Army drill sergeant has been relieved of duty after an investigation uncovered numerous instances of misconduct along with one surprising occurrence of the seasoned instructor actually shitting his pants in fear.
The investigation into Staff Sgt. Frank Parker began last month after several disgruntled trainees at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, submitted formal complaints alleging that Parker gave preferential treatment to one of their fellow recruits. The trainees claimed that Parker not only refused to smoke the shit out of this particular recruit but that he also generally let him “do whatever the fuck he wants."
In their investigation, Army officials found that Parker did in fact treat Pvt. James Gooley much more generously than he treated the other recruits in his training platoon. According to their final report, the officials concluded that Gooley’s basic training experience entailed a great deal of sleeping but very little physical exertion aside from frequent episodes of frenetic masturbation. Furthermore, they found that Parker generally avoided contact with Gooley and permitted him to stay in the barracks and “mess around on his phone” for the majority of the training cycle.
“As far as we can tell, this young private was having the time of his life,” the report states. “In fact, the day he graduated basic training, he pleaded with DS Parker to let him do it all over again.”
"The air is always cold around him, and one time I found him walking around in pitch darkness without NVGs. I think he can see in the dark.” US Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton. Composite by Kenna Lee/Coffee or Die Magazine
Parker, however, said the truth was far more complicated than what was written in the report. In a sit-down interview with Coffee or Die Magazine, the 32-year-old drill sergeant, who received three Purple Hearts and a Silver Star in Afghanistan, was adamant that the preferential treatment he gave Gooley was actually a desperate play for survival.
“I was absolutely certain that motherfucker would have eaten me if I tried to make his life the least bit difficult,” Parker said as he studied a photograph of Gooley clutching a rifle as if it were a baseball bat. “That is the most terrifying recruit I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s got the eyes of a leopard seal and looks like he chews on calf muscles.”
“Listen,” Parker continued, “I’ve seen his type before. Guys like that either end up war heroes or shoot their drill sergeant in the latrine. There’s no in-between. That type of guy is not to be messed with. I didn't do multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan just to come back here and get Full Metal Jacket-ed by Pvt. Pyle's scary-ass little brother. Yes, I went easy on the kid, but it’s what I had to do to stay alive.”
While it might be impossible to know for sure whether Parker was ever actually at risk of being murdered by Gooley, the fear he experienced was very real — so real, in fact, that it ultimately cost him his career and reputation, as well as the respect of his underlings.
Drill Sergeant Frank Parker insists that there is a difference between shitting your pants and shitting your pants after you've passed out. U.S. Army photo by Jose Rodriguez. Composite by Kenna Lee/Coffee or Die Magazine
“At first, we were all pretty pissed off that DS Parker was giving Gooley special treatment,” said Pvt. Ben Alameda, who attended the same training cycle as Gooley. “But then, one night, Gooley came to all of us in our dreams and told us to stop complaining or he’d eat our uvulas. We told DS Parker, and midway through confronting Gooley about it, [Parker] inexplicably took a massive dump in his pants and fainted. We stopped complaining after that.”
When asked why he was so afraid of the young recruit, Parker avoided talking about shitting his pants and instead focused on the private's unusual conduct and demeanor.
“It’s just his overall look and presence,” Parker said nervously. “He looks like what would happen if Chuck Liddell and Vladimir Putin had a baby and Jeffrey Dahmer raised it in a basement. The air is always cold around him, and one time I found him walking around in pitch darkness without NVGs. I think he can see in the dark.”
Coffee or Die managed to reach Gooley by phone, but the soldier did not provide any decipherable comments on the matter, as he responded to every question with heavy breathing.
Meanwhile, Parker’s command released a statement publicly condemning his actions and stated that he was relieved of duty for professional misconduct and for shitting his pants in a noncombat-related scenario.
“For the record, I didn’t shit my pants and faint,” Parker said. “I fainted, then shit my pants. There’s a difference.”
Satire disclaimer: This article is a work of satire. It’s fiction. The events depicted in this article did not really happen. If you thought for one second that a drill sergeant would actually be intimidated by a recruit, you’re out of your fucking mind.
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Eric Miller is a former Army Combat Medic from Parkersburg, West Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and has worked with homeless populations and veteran services throughout the state. He is an avid outdoorsman and has recently become interested in woodworking.
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