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Ah, spring rats. Nothing says “miserable weather in Blacksburg has hit once again” like a fresh batch of new cadets in gray bag. We always got in a group of 4 or 5 new cadets every January, just as the weather was really starting to turn miserable. Thus I always associate spring with cheap wool uniforms, freezing days of rain, and yet even more cadets calling me, “Sir!”
Back in my day, spring rats had it a bit easier and a bit tougher than the rats who started out in August. They had it easier because they didn’t go through all the harassment and hassle that the other rats went through months earlier (honestly, I think the upper classmen were too damned tired to go through all that nonsense twice in one year). At the same time though, there were only 4–5 of them as opposed to a group of 10–15 rats or more. Lower numbers made it easier for the upper classmen to see when a spring rat screwed up.
The spring rat in the cartoon above was based on one Ms. Tina Paulson. I liked Tina. She was a hard worker and had the best attitude of any rat I ever saw come along. I think she actually enjoyed being a rat, which I never did. I bet she went on to become a great officer. Tina, wherever you are, I hope you’re doing well.