“It’s not training if it’s not raining,” says the old military adage, which is usually uttered by someone of high rank standing under an overhang, sheltered from the pouring rain, while miserable soldiers run with a look on their faces, it could be seething rage, if only they had the energy.
Doing exhausting and uncomfortable things for no good reason is such an essential part of military life, so much so that it inspired an abbreviated phrase: Embrace the suck.
So it’s fitting that one of the photos the Defense Ministry touted as the best of the year shows exactly that:
The photo, which was taken by Army Spc. Jessica Scott, shows a soldier from the 25th Infantry Artillery Division as she completes a 5 kilometer race – having already taken a swim test – at the Lightning Academy Schofield Barracks in Hawaii on May 14 in preparation for the Army jungle operations training course. The fact that someone needs to endure a horribly pointless mud run to prepare for a training event is a testament to the difficulty of the Army’s journey through the jungle. As the service notes, between 30-40% of participants fail to complete the three-week training program in Oahu, where they learn about homelessness, foraging, finding water and navigate the dense vegetation of the jungle.
The image, which again shows soldiers training for a training class, is accompanied by the appropriate, but almost too happy, caption, “Rain Runners”, which was probably decided by the same kind of person who thinks that a “fun run” is not a contradiction.
The photo shows a second lieutenant as she runs at a brisk pace, but under siege. As she walks slowly, perhaps wanting to raise her knees – but not to the point of losing her footing as she goes – another runner can be seen behind her, possibly an instructor or spotter. Unlike her, he’s not cluttered with utilities and a carrier vest, without a rubber M4 rifle to weigh him down, and combat boots trapping water inside and drowning his toes. He is free to walk gracefully in the rain.
As to who this weary but determined soldier is, we might never know – but if you do, jump into the comments section so we can give him a proper shout. But one thing we’re confident about is what she was probably thinking at the time: Fuck. This. Shit.
And it’s just as likely that the next thought that came to his mind was: Shit, let’s go.
In other words: Kiss the suck.
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