“Putting on officer’s airs, are you, Lund?”
“No; I appear to be talking to a rookie (recruit) who happens to be wearing a sergeant chevrons,” retorted the top sternly. “Sergeant Mock, in this office, or anywhere in my presence, you will refrain from making disrespectful remarks about your officers And I’d advise you to adopt that as your standard at all times and in all places. Do you get that?”
“I hear you,” Mock rejoined, standing at ease again. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yes. Shortly before recall sounded I looked out of the window and noticed that you were handling the second platoon in anything but a soldierly manner. I was about to come out and speak to you when I observed the captain call you to him. He corrected your method of handling the platoon, didn’t he?”
“He thought he did,” Sergeant Mock responded, his lips quivering “But the tone he took, or rather the words he said to me, aren’t the kind that make better soldiers of non-coms.”
“So?” demanded Sergeant Lund, looking sharply into his subordinate’s eyes.
“No!” Mock snapped sullenly. “When an officer wants me to do my best be’s got to treat me like the gentleman that he’s supposed to be.”
For twenty seconds Sergeant Lund continued his staring at Mock. Then he rested a hand heavily on the other’s shoulder as he said:
“Sergeant Mock, this is a man’s army, training to do a nation’s share in the biggest war in history. None but a man can do a man’s work, and nothing but an army of real men can do the nation’s work. If you fit yourself into your place, work hard enough and forget all about yourself except your oath to serve the Flag and obey your officers, I believe that you can do a real man’s work. If you do anything different from that I’ll knock your block off without a second word on the subject.”
A hotly angry reply leaped to Sergeant Mock’s lips, but he was wise enough to choke it back. For Sergeant Lund, a real man, a real soldier and a loyal American, stood before him regarding him with a look in which there was no faltering nor any doubt as to his intentions.
“That’s all, Sergeant Mock,” said the top, an instant later. “I’m going to keep an eye on you, and I want to be able to say a word of praise to you this evening.”
“Two of a kind—–the top and the company commander,” Mock growled under his breath as he went up the stairs to a squad room above.
GREG HAS TO BE STERN
A full minute before the bugler sounded the call Captain Dick Prescott was on hand, standing in the shadow of the end of the barracks of his company. Among other reasons he was there to note the alacrity with which his men came out of the building.
Before the notes of the call had died away most of the men of his company were on hand, his lieutenants among the first. Within saving time all the rest had appeared, except those who had been excused for one reason or another.