The GI Party — No, it’s not what you just thought

I bet you had an immediate image of a soldiers out there partying things up.  The term G.I. party comes from World War II.  Then it was an intensive cleanup of the barracks on Friday evening (!) for an inspection on Saturday morning.  Ours was done during the week, and we didn’t have a choice in participating.

What would happen is the first sergeant, who was the senior enlisted in the company, would do random inspections of the barracks.  If he was unhappy with a section, then the platoon sergeant would be notified, and next thing the soldiers knew, it was time for a G.I. Party.  With the female section, it was a little different because there were only about seven of us.  No platoon sergeant was in charge of our area because we were a mix of platoons.

But we heard about it at final formation when the first sergeant declared our area “Fubar,” which means (fowled) up beyond all recognition.  No one told us what was wrong, so launched into massive cleanup for several hours.  We didn’t do it with toothbrushes or anything weird like that — it was all floor stripper, wax, bleach, pine oil, green scrubbing pads, mops, and brooms.  We had to do both our rooms and the common areas, which were the hallways and the latrine.

The G.I. Party included bleaching the bathroom floor because that kept the grout from discoloring.  I also liked bleach because you knew when you walked in the door that it had been cleaned, and with luck, maybe an inspection for the area was bypassed.  Sinks, toilets, and showers were cleaned.

For the hallway, we stripped the wax off the floor, cleaned it, and then waxed it again.  After that, we buffed the floor with our buffer (which we sometimes had to hide, since the males stole it on occasion).  The buffer isn’t like the ones you see in the office — those are easy to handle.  With the ones the army had, it was like a bucking bronco.  Very hard to control.  Sometimes it seemed like it had a mind of its own and would smash from wall to wall.

The floors in the rooms were also stripped, cleaned, waxed, and buffed.  We wiped off the top of the wall lockers, window sills, and anything else we could find.  The barracks gleamed.  There’s really nothing like a freshly polished floor.

Next day: Fubar again.  Another G.I. Party.  What else can we clean?  It seemed to be something in the common area, but what?  We renew our efforts and make everything shinier and cleaner.

Next day: Fubar again.  Another G.I. Party.  Now we’re begging our sergeants to tell us what he’s finding so we can get it taken care of and no one will tell us.  No one wants to be responsible for the female area..

Next day: Fubar again, and now the first sergeant is threatening to put all our belongings out in the parking lot.  I’m envisioning my TV set sitting out, either waiting for a Washington state rainstorm or a thief to steal it.

One of the women drags in her squad leader, and he reluctantly tells us the problem.


On the hallway light fixtures.

You have to be kidding.  It had been there years.

We got an exacto knife and scraped it off.  First sergeant was happy.