[September 2, 2020] Drill Sergeant Bryant was about making good people better.1 I remember his voice in my head even today, and his favorite comment was ‘You’re not good enough, PVT Satterfield.’ It was his way of motivating both me and my platoon to do better.
Bryant was the old fashioned type of Drill Sergeant. He was a combat Vietnam Veteran who had served multiple tours in-country and had the medals to prove it. His job was to create men out of boys. Drill Sergeant Bryant was going to fulfill that mission no matter what got in his way. I chose the words “men” and “boys” purposefully because if you couldn’t survive Sergeant Bryant (or someone like him), then you are not a real man.
Drill Sergeant Bryant had a lot of sayings; here are a few. If you’ve been through the “old-school army” basic combat training, you too may have heard these. I understand they are pretty standard:
- “Privates, I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror and realized there were two badasses in the world … and I’m both of them.”
- “I do not care who you are. If my own mother were in basic training, I would smoke her ass too.”
- “Private, don’t call me, sir, I work for a living! And my parents were not related!”
- “If you drop your rifle magazine again before putting your safety on, I will kick you in the balls so hard you’ll sing like Michael Jackson.”
Oh, just for the humor, I couldn’t wait to get these out on the Internet. There are a lot more where these came from, but due to some language protocols, I will not be listing them here. Those less-public comments will remain part of my memoirs, and when my kids read them later in their lives, they will smile and say, “My dad was a real man.”
“You’re not good enough” is a simple way of saying you don’t meet your full potential. Pushing us beyond our limits, yet having the skills to bring us back from beyond the brink of human potential, is something few men on the face of the earth can do. Sergeant Bryant was one of the very few I ever met that could do it and save us from our pathetic, arrogant selves. I only wish that I had a better appreciation of that man
Drill Sergeant Bryant was a man’s man. He was also fond of saying, “Good enough is not good enough, and that’s why God put me here on Earth.” Bryant was telling us that it requires somebody special to teach us how to be a real man, a real soldier, and a real father. According to his thinking, every other male out there is a pussy, pantywaist, momma’s boy, and he didn’t have the time of day for them. For us Privates, he made men out of us.