Rats! Episode 09 – Good Morning Sunshine!

Ah, first call to formation. How well I recall performing that lovely little duty. First call was essentially the wake up call freshman made to let everyone know that formation was coming up. Basically, all the rats met in one room in the company area to argue over who’s turn it was to perform first call. Then one poor rat was shoved out into the hall where he had to drag to one end, stand at attention, and shout as loud as he could…

“First call to formation, Sir!”

“First call to formation, Sir!”

“First call to formation, Sir!”

Three times in a row, just like that. Then the rat took off dragging and escaped back into the room. About 5-10 minutes later, he came back out again to call “Last call to formation, Sir!” During first call, there might be a few upper classmen out in the hallway, waiting to be spoken up to. By last call, frikkin’ everybody was out there. As soon as last call was made, all the rats came pouring out to line up along one wall, where they were then chewed out for whatever god-forsaken reason the upper classmen came up with that morning. Sometimes the cadet first sergeant would just lay in with a very vigorous speech about how lousy we all were and how we’d better straighten up. Other times, it seemed like every upper classman in the company pounced on us, conducting on the spot inspections and drilling us for new cadet knowledge. New cadet knowledge, by the way, was trivia we all had to study about the VTCC and Virginia Tech. To this day I can still tell you which building on campus serves as a compass (Burruss Hall), and the names of all the Pylons on the Drill Field (Brotherhood, Ut Prosim, Loyalty, Leadership, Service, Sacrifice, Honor, Duty). I cannot recall though how many alumni went on to receive Medals of Honor for their military service, nor all the names of the university presidents. Some stuff was just bound to leak out my ears eventually, I suppose.

I was hardly a stranger to early mornings when I joined the VTCC. My high school had an early seventh period which I took advantage of to earn extra credits toward my diploma. In fact, being able to wake up and get moving early in the AM was probably the only advantage I had as a rat. I hated it, but I could do it, and I could get to where I needed to be on time, regardless of the hour of the morning. Many upper classmen did sleep in, so it was always kind of fun in a mean way to have to wake them up early on mornings when we knew they had planned to sleep late.

BTW, I’ve been getting emails and feedback on the “Rats!” cartoons from a lot of former and current cadets. Thank you all for visiting and reading these cartoons. Be forewarned though. You see the logo at the top of the web? The one that has this cartoon of a woman with horns and says “Cynical Woman: Stay-at-home Mom and Erotica Writer?” Yeah, I’m not kidding about that. That’s me as I am today. If you’re only here for the “Rats!” cartoons, be careful poking around the rest of the site. I am far from politically correct, and I take my smut writing very seriously. Well, as seriously as I can. I do cartoon about that too, and if you’re interested, you can see those cartoons here.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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  1. Rising sophomore in VTCC

    Giving first call is different now All the new cadets would be out in the hall with their fire team leaders getting inspected and informed of information being passed down through the chain, and whoever gave first call (two new cadets, in my training company, we did it by room and rotated every morning around the hall) marched from one end of the hall to the other and back and shouted in cadence “First Call to Growley, (Uniform of the Day), Sir!” Then we’d all sound off (speak up) to the upperclassmen. Then we gave last call with “Last call, sir!” three times. And isn’t it McBryde that serves as a compass?? 😛

  2. You’re right! McBryde is the compass. It’s been a long while since I’ve really had to use any of my New Cadet knowledge 🙂

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