Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tradition of the Tossed

Three guys were tossed from my new team. Lined up and sent away in seven shocking minutes. I wish I could say I felt terrible. Or that I was surprised. The reality is that I am too new and too surprised at the low standards of certain members of my team to be much taken aback at the decision to let some of the worst offenders go. Two of the soldiers binned were simply young men who never should have been in a special forces unit to begin with. A combat unit is ultimately not a charity ward. Get too wet and at some point there is no more room in the lifeboat.

The third soldier tossed, however, caused more heartache. Known to one and all as Chewbacca, he was the most popular kid on the squad. He made up for a lack of size or speed by making himself indispensable to all the little things that tie together a cohesive team. What he lacked above all, however, was the ability to overcome a fear of heights. After three failed tries to complete jump course, the decision went all the way up to the overall commander of the Paratroops. His decision - that a soldier without jump experience could not serve as a paratrooper - brought Chewbacca down.

When I left my former squad there were hugs and handshakes. One guy cried. Here we said goodbye to the departed with a no-holds barred punch-out. Everyone jumped them and for five minutes exchanged blows with the three soldiers leaving our troop for the final time.


  1. Why was there a fight at the end?

  2. Not a fight. More like a testosteroned version of birthday punches.