What you don’t know is that while you’re trying to be serious, run as fast as you can and get everything they’re asking you to do done, they’re laughing their butts off at you. It’s rare that you will ever know it as they are trained to keep their bearing. Drill instructors find some of the things that recruits do and say to be hilarious. People can do and say crazy things when they’re under extreme stress. Recruits are no exception.
Recruits are afraid of saying the wrong things and in doing so, sometimes end up saying or doing the wrong thing. This of course leads to being corrected by the drill instructors or being thrashed on the quarter deck. It’s really all part of the training and not something that you can avoid. In fact, the more you try to avoid it consciously the more likely you are to slip up and do or say something that is funny and/or ridiculous.
I remember a time when we were being IT’d on the quarter deck. One of my drill instructors ordered us to do rifle IT. This is where we do a series of exercises with our rifle from holding it over our heads to straight out in front of us with locked elbows. As you can imagine, this gets very tiring and drill instructors will not stop until everyone complies. Not everyone can hold it out for as long as possible and so you get recruits yelling at each other.
I was focusing as hard as I could to keep the rifle out in front of me with locked elbows. My teeth were graded in my eyes were getting bigger as the strain of the rifle was weighing down my muscle memory. This must have looked amusing because I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my drill instructor was trying very hard not to laugh. She did a pretty good job of keeping her bearing, but I did see a slight crack and upward turn in her mouth. Then, in an effort to save her bearing, she blurted out to me, “Cabrera, you’re psycho.” I can tell you that when one of your drill instructors tells you this, it makes it harder to rifle IT. My drill instructor hurriedly passed me, so as not to reveal any further evidence that this situation was funny to her. Fortunately, not long after we were relieved of our rifle IT.
Drill instructors get far more laughs than recruits are aware. Most of the time recruits will never know. However, there are times when drill instructors will mess with recruits and exploit the situation to see if the recruits will do even funnier things. Then the drill instructors try to hide their laughter behind their bearing while continuing the mess of them. All I can say about that is- welcome to boot camp.
The one thing you never want to do when you notice a situation is amusing to drill instructors is to play the class clown. If you play into trying to be funny with the drill instructors or add more comedy into what they find funny, it could cost you dearly. Drill instructors are very clear about not trying to make it look like they are bonding with recruits. Recruits are not supposed to feel they share a kinsman with drill instructors. Only the senior drill instructor is tasked for bonding with recruits during training. If the other drill instructors think that you are trying to be funny. They will quickly change from an amusing situation to a painful one.
Source: Personal experience