~ Bad Luck Cadet #6 – You Will Be Sent Home

You Will Be Sent Home is the 6th installment in my Bad Luck Cadet Series.  To follow my adventures at the police academy after my mid-life crisis it is best to start at the beginning  Bad Luck Cadet #1 – Accidents Happen.  It’s all about fun, laughter and pain.

To be honest, at the time it was more about pain, pain and pain! — Suzie


After receiving our academy training binders, Sgt. Dickens reviewed the class rules. We would be spending eight hours a day in the classroom. Everything we learned throughout the week would be covered in a test on Monday mornings. We were expected to get a seventy percent or higher. If not, we would be given one retake. If we did not pass the retake with a seventy percent we would be sent home immediately.

We were also expected to pass the POPAT (Police Officers Physical Aptitude Test):

99 yard obstacle course
Body Drag – lift and drag a 165 lb. life like dummy 32 feet
500 Yard Run
Chain Link Fence – run 5 yards, go over fence and run an additional 25 yards
Solid Fence Climb – run 5 yards, go over solid fence and run an additional 25 yards

The nightmare six-foot fence that Roger taunted me with was now on the table.

Each event was timed and scored with higher points given for shorter times. The minimum passing score was 384. Men and women were scored equally. Age did not matter. If we scored a 383 we were going home. I think I liked the Cooper Test better.

Oh, and yeah, we had to pass the Cooper Test as well.

More rules. There would be no fraternizing with the college men or women on campus or among the cadets. If caught we would be sent home. We would tell the truth at all times, if we were caught in any lie we would be sent home. We would attend every class. If we missed more than three class days, we would be sent home. There were so many “you will be sent home rules” it’s hard to remember them all.

We would keep our dorm rooms spotless and have a dorm inspection weekly. All home work would be turned in on time. Our notebooks would be inspected weekly. We would be given daily uniform inspections. We were to be outside on the classroom deck at 0745 each morning and inspection ready.

Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays we would meet in the gym at 0530 hours for Physical Training (PT). On Tuesday and Thursdays we would meet at the same time for Defensive Tactics (DT). These classes would last an hour and a half, giving us 45-minutes to eat breakfast, change into our uniform of the day and arrive for inspection on the deck. Infractions would be severally punished.

Punishment hill runs (whatever that was) would take place after class at 1700 hours daily. We were not to leave campus unless we had permission. There was an absolute ban on cell phones during the day.

After this set of rules and instructions were yelled out, we were marched to the gym. It was time to learn a few military formations and some of the terminology. Sgt. Dickens continued to yell and we eventually got it. It was hot in the gym. One hundred and fifty degrees was what it felt like. I’m pretty sure we were dying.

Eventually the first cadet dropped. He passed out in a dead faint. I could see the look of satisfaction on Sgt. Dickens’ face. An ambulance was called and we got a break. There were two water fountains and we took turns getting water and wetting our heads and necks. No one spoke; we were all being watched closely.

The “lucky” cadet was taken to the hospital about 15-minutes later.

We were told it was time for our first inspection. We lined up by squad. This would be our formation throughout the academy. The orders were being yelled out; about face, parade rest, attention, forward march, etc. The Sergeant and his helpers yelled at once. My head was spinning. We were told not to lock our knees or we would be visiting the emergency room. I tried locking my knees but it didn’t work, I just couldn’t pass out.

The two Sergeants and their helpers (a.k.a. our squad advisers) began going person to person and finding something wrong. My hair was barely staying up and I could feel it touching the back of my neck.
I could sense someone close behind me and then the back of my hair was tugged, hard.

A female voice, “Sgt. Dickens, it appears we have a bird’s nest in squad five.” It was yelled into my ear.

I couldn’t help it, I giggled. A woman pulled my hair and compared it to a bird’s nest. What could possibly be funnier?

Sgt. Dickens was in my face before I could choke back my laughter.

“Cadet, are you laughing? Do you find this funny? Give me twenty push-ups now. As a matter of fact, I want the entire class to give me twenty pushups. Quarter right turn, assume pushup position. Begin.”

What the hell was a quarter right turn? Thankfully, I was getting good at mimicking the cadets around me. I can’t believe the police ad at the drugstore had not stated, “Military training a must.”

We were so tired. Someone stopped doing push-ups at the count of fourteen and we had to start again. The inspection continued and so did the punishments. When finished we had done a total of 94 pushups. I couldn’t feel my arms and they wouldn’t stop quivering.

After inspection, we were shown the location of our dorms at the eastern end of the campus. We didn’t get a change to stop and admire our dingy living quarters; we were immediately marched to the cafeteria. Not a word was spoken. We huddled together miserably at whatever empty seat we came to. The Sergeants and advisors sat at their own table. It was 1800 hours. We had only been at it for five hours. This sucked.

I tried to eat. I could barely lift my fork to my mouth. I ate very little. After about twenty-minutes we resumed our formation outside. We ran like hell — I mean double timed it, back to the dorms. I was thankful I hadn’t eaten much. We were finally released for the day, and told to be at the gym at 0530 hours.

Getting our room assignments, unpacking, and arranging the shower schedules were done next. There were only four women cadets. Our dorm was tiny with two sets of bunk beds. We decided to rotate every two weeks so we would each have a turn on the top bunk. There was only one small bathroom for the four of us.

After getting situated, Stacy left the room with her cell phone in hand. She came back an hour later and said she was going back to Montana. She wasn’t crying or acting anything but determined. She left. I never heard from her again.

Have I mentioned how much this sucks?


My story continues with: Bad Luck Cadet #7: Are We In Hell


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