This article was written by sophomore Sawyer Mislak. It is a part of a series about moral dilemmas in our community.
Brian Albee was born in Boston and raised in Pennsylvania. At 18 he joined the army. Brian explains, “The reason I joined was I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life ya know? I thought it would straighten me out and make me more mature.”
Brian ended up becoming a paratrooper and he liked what he was doing. He had a passion for it. He was there for four years and he ended up staying because he liked it so much. Brian was doing everything from special operations to paratrooping. Eventually he became a drill sergeant.
He started to notice what being a drill sergeant was all about. Brian had in his head the “stereotype of a drill sergeant [where] they sit around and scream at you and tell you what to do.” But Brian knew what it was like to be in these kids’ positions, he was there once. So he showed empathy for these recruits, still being strict and doing his job but not to the point where it affects them emotionally, because he knows exactly how they feel. “They depend on you and trust you so you trust them, and trust needs to be earned.”
One day Brian was sitting at a lunch table with other drill sergeants from other platoons. While eating, Brian overheard a conversation from a table of recruits talking about their drill sergeant. They were saying he flipped over their mattresses because their beds were not made right. Brian thought to himself, ‘Well that’s strange and a little over the top.’ But what really concerned Brian was when he heard them talk about how the drill sergeant took all their boots and demanded they buy them back for twenty dollars or they couldn’t go home for Christmas. Brian said he was “shocked” by this story.
After hearing soldiers talk about their drill sergeant he knew he had to make the decision of if he should tell somebody about this or let it go. He thought about how these kids need to have trust in their officers but he was also thinking “I don’t want to be a snitch.” Brian said his good conscience was telling him “Telling somebody would be the right thing to do.”
Brian has to make this hard decision. One side of it was that what the sergeant was doing was “Unethical and illegal so informing people about it would be a no-brainer.” But the other side of it is this drill sergeant has a family just like Brian. This man had a life too.
In the end Brian ended up reporting it, but there were no soldiers to go to trial. This drill sergeant got away with mistreating the soldiers and not paying the price. At first Brian said he would never report something like that again, but after years of thinking about it he knows that would be the right thing to do. To this day he knows he would do the right thing and report.
“I’m not gonna violate the trust of these kids.”