In the Mud, the Blood, and the Beer

By | November 25, 2019

[November 25, 2019]  “No guts, no glory!”  The Army Drill Sergeant was yelling at us that we were a bunch of no-good maggots, which were also some stinking wimpy momma-boys.  Finishing an obstacle course after a strenuous 10-mile forced march was not easy, but we did it anyway thanks to Drill Sergeant Bryant.  To be a real man you had to be able to do battle in the mud, the blood, and the beer.

Johnny Cash made this line popular in his song A Boy Named Sue (see him on this YouTube video, 3:23 minutes, link here).  A boy with a girl’s name would have a tough time growing up, and that’s the theme of Cash’s ballad.  The name made him tough and a fighter to be reckoned with.

Where I grew up in the Deep South, your age didn’t make you a man.  You made yourself a man and proved to others you had the guts and determination.  Your job, your family, your physical strength, and your attitude were what made you a man.  One quick way was to join the U.S. military, but you had to survive combat to be a real man.  Or, you could be on the railroad’s rail repair gang or have a dangerous job that was hard work and stick to it for years.

Whatever you did, it was all about getting your hands dirty and proving yourself.  If you were not a man, you were seen as being unreliable and a sissy.  This was no simple name-calling culture; it was about having courage and honor.  Your credibility meant everything.  If you were not a “man” then you were not invited to the most prestigious parties or asked to sit with community leaders.  Your opinion was also nothing if you weren’t a real man.

Real men went camping.  The fewer creature-comforts you took, the better.  Real men went hunting.  Possessing a powerful gun was better.  Real men treated women respectfully; anyone who didn’t have their ass kicked.  Real men could take a beating and not complain.  Real men had families with kids, lots of them, a job, and were looked up to at work and in the community.

Drill Sergeant Bryant was a complete asshole.  I hated him with passion (my dad kept my letters saying so).  But Sergeant Bryant was a real man who helped make our Platoon a group of real men.  We paid the price but stuck with him and were proud to graduate from Basic Combat Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana.  The rattlesnakes, biting bugs, alligators, heat, humidity, and the constant training made you physically and mentally stronger.  Or you were out of the Army.

Real men could get into a fight while scuffling around in the mud and the blood, stand up, shake hands, and have another beer.  That is what makes you a man.  “A college diploma don’t mean shit,” according to Sergeant Bryant, and he was right.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

25 thoughts on “In the Mud, the Blood, and the Beer

  1. Linux Man

    Excellent article, General Satterfield. Thanks for educating me today on another very interesting topic. This is, indeed, what separates the MAN from the SISSIES.

    1. Ed Berkmeister

      Well said, Linux Man (interesting name). I think that manliness is the thing that keeps us out of trouble. When enemies see weakness, they attack us.

  2. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    Excellent article that made me think and to start the new week. Happy Thanksgiving for everyone in case I forget later. I’m thankful for this blog website and for all those who comment. Well done!

  3. Big Al

    Quotable quote from the article, ” If you were not a man, you were seen as being unreliable and a sissy.” So very true. The unreliable part is what today’s sissy men don’t realize. Want an example, just look at US Pres candidate Joe Biden. The man has wimped out on his political stands that he championed just a couple of years ago. He is a coward, probably corrupt (like a weak man would be), and no real friend (blows in the wind). Many more examples and perhaps one day Gen. Satterfield will do a profile on him like he did with Clinton and Trump in the last election.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      Agreed. And I will add that Joe Biden is not true to his own principles that he has spoken about. This is a shameful way to get power. Has the world come to the point that politicians now pander to each and every “group identify?” I certainly hope not.

      1. Albert Ayer

        Sad it is how American politicians are such wimps. I liked BIll Clinton because he made you feel like you were somebody. Joe Biden makes me feel sick.

      2. Jane Fillmore

        Pompous, pandering, pussy fools these sissy men in politics are these days. It just goes to show you that some of the women running for US President have “more balls” than the men.

        1. Dead Pool Guy

          You said it sister. Well, maybe I should have not said ‘sister’ but you know what i mean. Well said.

    2. Max Foster

      Good comment, Big Al. I think we’ve pointed out the weakness and therefore the big problems that weak men get the world into.

  4. Joe the Aussie

    When I saw the title of your article, I wondered what in the world could it be about. Now, I also remember the lines from Johnny Cash’s song “A boy named Sue.” Great song. And yes, it can be found on YouTube and elsewhere. I highly suggest to others that they go out and listen to it. Cheers, mate!

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      Hi Joe, welcome back ….. have not heard from you in a couple of weeks. Good to have out Australian friends in our comment section.

  5. Bryan Lee

    General Satterfield, you’ve written about Sergeant Bryant before. I’m sure your relationship started out a way you didn’t like but it appears you came around to the way he treated you. He treated you like a man should be treated. He also wanted to make you tough and to do that required some pretty harsh methods.

    1. JT Patterson

      We all should have had our Sergeant Bryant’s to make us better people, soldiers, husbands, and leaders. That is the way of the world. But today, we have it so easy that we pale in comparison to those who came before us.

      1. Kenny Foster

        Gen. Satterfield, great to hear that you came around. Many young people don’t come around to the view that to be a man, you have to be strong both physically and mentally. This is part of the idea that masculinity is not toxic but what keeps the world safe.

      2. Bryan Lee

        Thank you for the praise and yes, I too had to get my butt kicked before I saw the light of the importance of manhood.

    1. Georgie B.

      This one is my brother: “8. You make commitments for “next month” or “next year” without hesitation, because you know you have time to cancel later if something comes up.” He’s not much of the kind of man who would play sports, go hunting, or race a car. He would rather dine out and listen to a jazz band while sipping wine.

  6. KenFBrown

    Real men get their hands dirty. Thanks also for the link to that article. I”m glad that I found Gen. Satterfield and his blog. I’ve passed along some of these ideas to those who work for me.

  7. Army Captain

    There are many of us who are attracted to the thrill of the “victory” and learn to live with the “agony of defeat.” That’s me and why I joined the US Army.

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      I’m glad you did also, Army Captain. Men are men and those men who are not men are just sissies who go thru life being a nobody.

      1. Janna Faulkner

        If there were only real men instead of the wimps I see every day. Those who are cowards in the face of adversity are all around me. Just watch a few minutes of television. Big talkers but no one will act.

        1. Dennis Mathes

          You got that right, Janna. Good to see you back here at the leadership blog maintained and written by Gen. Satterfield.

    2. Tracey Brockman

      I think you have hit onto a special idea that I’ve been thinking of for some time now. There are men who are attracted to the excitement. Maybe all of us but only a few act. Type A personalities? I’m not so sure but I will say that they are the men who make things happen.


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