Boot Camp: Who's Getting the Boot? Episode 5: Screaming & Spittingby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
Day 17 of Boot Camp begins, as usual, at 6 in the morning with polite wake-up calls from the desk clerk. Um, well, maybe not. The drill instructors (D.I.s) do their usual routine of getting everybody up and at ‘em.
Coddington, however, is at the medic, where the other women gather to see how she’s doing and, while they’re there, talk strategy. Specifically, they want Wolf out of Camp, but they’re afraid he’ll take one of them with him. Coddington volunteers that if she gets discharged for medical reasons, that would be the time for the others to boot Wolf, because he won’t be able to take anybody with him. What a pal! Hugs all around!
Jackson is elected the squad leader this time around, and he tells us that he wants to win so he can both put in a down payment on a place to live and buy his girlfriend an engagement ring. But he’s also here to dig deep and see how far he can go. D.I. McSweeney tells us that he thinks Jackson is a good recruit with a good head on his shoulders, but might be a bit overconfident.
As the day’s physical training begins, we have a quick premonition from Wolf, saying that everybody is near the cracking point and it’s just a matter of time before somebody blows up.
Sure enough, somebody blows up.
Specifically, Moretty (the female one – remember, the male recruit of a similar name is Moretti) is getting tired and D.I. McSweeney is yelling at her to stop making faces and rolling her eyes. She can’t take it any more and responds, “This recruit is not making faces!” He runs over to her and starts screaming in her face that she should shut her mouth. She stands and they scream at each other for a while, when D.I. Rosenbum joins in. Moretty is yelling that McSweeney needs to “quit spitting on me!” Apparently, he has a bad case of spray when he screams. Finally, D.I. Rosenbum yells, “Don’t even think about it!” and Moretty stiffens into attention position, giving an “Aye, sir!” I’m not quite sure what it is she wasn’t supposed to be thinking about, though.
D.I. McSweeney tells the camera that the D.I. is always right, and you should never question one. Of course, he may be forgetting that this isn’t the real marines.
D.I. Taylor (the only female D.I.) later pulls Moretty aside and asks what happened. Moretty tells her with tears in her eyes, and Taylor kindly reminds her to think about home and family. Gosh, a D.I. who isn’t screaming – she’d better watch it or she’ll get in trouble for being nice. D.I. Taylor later tells us that she did what she needed to in order to get her recruit back into the training mode.
Mission training begins the next day, where the face an obstacle course involving crawling through mud, swinging and walking on ropes, going through tires, over the wall, etc. Yaney, who says he came to Camp with no abilities whatsoever, manages to get all the way through and impress pretty much everybody, including himself. Even D.I. McSweeney is impressed with the heart he puts into it. Jackson adds that he thinks Yaney has gotten a stronger sense of himself. And Yaney then talks about how he’s gotten a sense of extra effort that he didn’t even know he had.
However, the course is not a happy place for everybody. Whitlow hit part of it wrong and rolled her ankle, causing her to be put on restricted duty by the medic. The others end up carrying her the rest of the course and, indeed, later on as well.
But Coddington is put back on regular duty and claims to be 100%. Still, Jackson thinks the other women are a bit upset because she was on medical leave for so long, and then came back with some rather prissy comments.
The plotting starts earlier this episode, as Moretti says there is a lot more crap going on and people are not exactly sticking to the truth all the time. Brown thinks Whitlow is playing both sides, but Whitlow says she is not being manipulative. Moretty says that Yaney is the most honest person there and is not part of any clique. For his part, Yaney says his mother told him to backstab everybody!
Day 19 features a discussion of reward or punishment for their next mission. Reward will be a special movie night. Punishment will be a special night of extreme physical training, starting at midnight. And, of course, if they are successful, Jackson gets immunity.
That morning, Jackson is given the mission briefing, involving a recon and evasion behind enemy lines. The squad needs to cross a rope obstacle course without anybody or anything hitting the ground (if they do, they get penalized). Then they have to pick up three boards and carry them up a river and drain pipe to use them in crossing a minefield where, again, they are penalized if anything hits. They have one hour to complete it.
Jackson shows himself to be a less-than-stellar leader. First, his recon team gets 300 yards ahead of him and he can’t find them. Then, he decides they only need to take two boards to cross the minefield, not all three. He’s wrong. Penalties start adding up as people get stuck and they (or their equipment) falls. Finally, he ends up essentially frozen without a clue as to what to do next (in part this is because he left the third board behind). Time runs out as they are all just sitting around like deer in the headlights.
D.I. McSweeney tells the camera how disappointed he is when the squad fails – especially when they simply freeze like they did here.
As midnight approaches, all of the recruits are worried about what lies ahead of them. But really, they should have known to some extent: Lots of yelling and screaming (and spitting from McSweeney). D.I. Francisco tells the cameras that something had to be done because all the D.I.s knew the squad should have done better in the mission. But Jackson wonders (whines) that he doesn’t know why they had to be so hard on them just because they failed the mission.
Screaming. Yelling. Screaming. Yelling. Yelling. Yelling. Screaming. You get the idea.
At two in the morning, while the recruits are still undergoing physical torture – er, I mean training – D.I. McSweeney goes into their quarters and trashes the place. He throws around bunks and footlockers, tosses mattresses out the door, etc. Jackson says he is rather frustrated that they are taught discipline, discipline, discipline, and then McSweeney goes in and shows none of it.
They aren’t let back into their quarters until 3:30 that morning. Wolf says the place is a dictatorship and that’s part of the game – some will crack and those who don’t will make it farther.
Speaking of which, Yaney says he can’t deal with the yelling and abuse anymore. Jackson goes over to the women to see if they are okay and apologize for leading them in a failed mission. They say it’s not his fault and indicate that this sort of thing is expected whenever it gets a little too dull around camp.
Day 20 brings the usual early morning wake-up call. Yaney and Coddington are talking. Coddington says she trusts Yaney and he says the same about her. But he can barely move after what they went through the night before.
During morning tasks, Brown and Wolf do a bit of scheming (remember, Brown was the one who accused Whitlow of playing both sides!). Brown says Wolf ought to consider helping to get rid of Whitlow, who is injured and not doing as much as the others. Whitlow tells the camera that she knows Wolf hates Brown, but yet is acting like they are pals so he can control her vote. Meanwhile, Brown is telling Wolf not to trust Whitlow and says they will pretend to act like they are opposite sides. Sheesh, with all these different schemes going around, we’re going to need a scorecard soon!
Coddington says she has heard Yaney’s name tossed around a lot as the next target. Moretti says it’s difficult to decide because he likes the people who are getting injured, but they still deserve to be booted. The whole thing seems to be up in the air.
But perhaps not as up in the air as we were led to believe. At Dismissal Hill, they all vote and Jackson tells the squad how proud he is, even in defeat. D.I. Rosenbum goes through his standard bit of walking around and asking people why they should stay, throwing in an extra insult to Yaney for good measure.
Finally, Coddington is dismissed, with six votes (everybody but Yaney, who voted for Brown, and herself). Coddington addresses the squad with blunt honesty. She says she came for the experience of a lifetime and she got it. She says she will even take home a part of each of the D.I.s except for McSweeney. All she learned from him is what it’s like to be spit on by a very mean and nasty man. Ouch!
She then says she believes she was chosen in part based on who others thought she’d pick to come with her. And she decides to, indeed, pick that person – Yaney.
Huh?! Didn’t she talk about how much she likes Yaney? So why pull him out of the game?
Unfortunately, we don’t get to hear final thoughts from either of them, so we can only speculate. My guess is that she thought he’d had enough and was doing it to “rescue” him. The problem is that, as much as he complained to her, I don’t think he wanted rescuing! He had told others that he wanted to stick around as long as possible. Alas, it was not meant to be. Instead of being taken out by an enemy, he was hit by friendly fire.
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