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  • Writer's pictureCoach Moe

Dig Deeper, Dig Harder

“Good thing I’m only 5’9”, is what I thought as my Drill sergeant explained to us that the foxholes had to be up to our arm pits. A foxhole is a whole that you see the soldiers standing in as they shoot across the battlefield at the enemies in the movies. It makes sense that it’s up to your arm pit so that only a minimum amount of your body sticks out and is in harm’s way as you fire at the enemy and they return fire from their weapons back in your direction. I look at my 6’3 Battle Buddy and his face sinks as he realizes that he has a lot more digging than most of us. In the Army, your Battle Buddy is the Soldier that you are teamed up with and you all are expected to always look out for one another. Mine for this exercise was named Blackwell and he was from Brooklyn, NY. He was usually very comical, but there wasn’t any laughing as he realized we would be digging with these 24-inch-long handheld shovels named E-tools, short for entrenching tools.

I didn’t revel in the fact that Blackwell had more digging to do than I did, but at the same time I was relieved for once that I wasn’t a tall guy. “Wait, what did the Drill Sergeant Say?” I expressed with my face. Finally, Blackwell’s smile returned. The DS now explained to us that both people had to be in the foxhole, and it had to be as deep as the armpit of the tallest person. In other words, I had to dig as much as my Battle Buddy and then stand on sandbags inside the fighting position so we would be the same height. Lady Fortune had made a change. Not only did I need to deg deeper than I expected, I also had to fill sandbags to stand on to help me grow from 69 inches tall to 75 inches. Oh well, we pulled out our tools that seemed to be a bit larger than a serving spoon and began digging.

At first it was easy, diving the E-tool into the soil and pulling up the dirt. But the deeper we went the harder the ground was. I’m sure there is some scientific reason for it, but it didn’t matter right then. All that mattered was that we move this matter. The Drill Sergeants knew this would happen and that why they had at this point all gathered around to watch us toil. They laughed at us first and then started…… “motivating” us to get it done in time. They were reminding us that digging deep would save our lives.

The arm pit of my 75-inch Battle Buddy was my goal. In full Army gear, in the blazing sun of South Carolina we dug deeper and deeper. The sweat dripping off my bald head from under my Kevlar helmet burned my eyes. I wiped every now and then and the rest of the time I just let it burn. I dug, switched hands, changed my grip, and kept huffing and puffing and sweating. Nothing else in the world mattered to me at that time. I needed to become a human gopher and burrow into the ground for the safety of Blackwell and I. we dug deeper and deeper and it got harder and harder and harder. The idea of finishing weighed more in our minds that the pain in our hands and the thirst in our mouths. “Blackwell, check now I shouted!” he stood up grabbed his m16a2 rifle and leaned his chest against the front facing wall of the foxhole. He lowered his weapon into the firing position and the hole was deep enough to reach his arm pit. “Hooah!” we both exclaimed with smiles on our dirty, sweaty faces. At this point the mixture of sweat and dirt was mud. We filled 2 sandbags for me to stand on and mission was complete!

When you want to accomplish something worth your effort you must be willing to dig in. Most people are willing to start digging, but they drop their shovels when it gets tough. When in all actuality, we should dig harder when we meet resistance to our goals. It will always get harder the closer you get. It’s like God wants to see how bad you want it. If you really want it, dig deeper, and dig harder.

Oh, about the hole… once we finished and the whole platoon was overjoyed and cheering, we had to fill them back in again and march 5 miles back for chow. Oh well, “And the Army goes rolling along!”

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