With ‘shark attacks’ a thing of the past, soldiers recall these classic drill sergeant one-liners


Shark attacks might be a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be forgotten.

The decades-old practice of screaming at trainees as they disembarked the bus on Day 1 of infantry training, a tactic used to establish “psychological dominance,” has indeed been replaced by a new strategy intended to emphasize teamwork and trust, Army Times previously reported.

But before officially bidding farewell to the crowning event for infantry training, soldiers took to Twitter to share some of the best one-liners used by past drill sergeants.

Command Sgt. Maj. Rocky Carr, of Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, put out a tweet asking soldiers to share some of their favorite (PG) drill sergeant sayings. The responses did not disappoint.

In Basic Training, my Drill Sergeant said I was “Slicker than a snake in motor oil”…I still think about that a lot. What are some of the sayings your DS said? (Pls keep it PG) pic.twitter.com/zuP7ZkN9n6

— CSM Rocky L. Carr (@SDDCCSM) October 6, 2020

“You better run like you stole something!” wrote Maj. Gen. Tammy Smith.

A tried and true cliché, other drill sergeants offered more nonsensical words of wisdom.

“Keep your mouth shut when you’re talking to me,” replied @StevenBeynon.

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User @25thIDChap wrote, “Hurry up and eat your food. You can taste it later!”

“Strive to be brighter than a zero watt bulb.”

“When we’re done with you here, y’all be tougher than woodpecker lips.”

“Oklahoma is the dustball capital of the world.”

“A light coat of oil. A fine coat of oil. Finer than frog hair.”

— Andy Dirtdart (@Nav5_Oh) October 7, 2020

Another user shared a story of an impossible cleanup request.

“We were all running to formation and a private slipped and fell, likely breaking his nose, and he got back up to run,” wrote user @TimHouston. “The Drill Sergeant yelled, ‘You! Private! Pick up that blood!’”

Other one-liners were just insulting.

My DI told me I’m the reason he drinks….

— Chip Spoonts (@ChipSpoonts) October 7, 2020

Shark attacks began during the Vietnam era, but the revised event is intended to reflect today’s all-volunteer force.

The “First 100 Yards” event will now kick off the 22-week infantry training program.


Sarah Sicard is the Digital Editor of Military Times. She previously served as Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, Defense News, Fast Company, Business Insider and AdWeek.

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