When I was six years old, I heard my dad scream. Really scream. Grown man kind of scream.
You never forget the time your dad screamed.
Out of pain.
My dad, Charlie Obermier, had just completed his final ruck march of Air Assault School at Fort Hood, Texas. It was July of 1992. The Army still had black leather boots and dark camo BDUs as the uniform. One mile into his final ruck march, a strap on his ruck tore apart. My dad, being my dad, wrapped the broken strap around his hand, and held it in place for the many more miles he had to complete for time. In black leather boots. In the humid heat of Texas summer day.
My dad completed his ruck march. He graduated from Air Assault School. But he screamed when he got home. He screamed in pain after he untied those black leather boots and peeled off those wool socks and stepped into the hot, steaming shower. My dad’s feet were raw from broken blisters. The pain of that moment, as I sat at the kitchen table, is forever seared into my memory as it is in his.
That is my dad, The Sarg, the man who stops at nothing to reach his intended target. No blister, no broken ruck, nothing will beat him down. This is the man who taught me that a little water and some Vitamin M (Motrin) are all a person needs to get back into the game. There are no excuses. Sleep is a crutch. Toilet paper is a crutch. Cold water is a crutch. You get out there and you give it your all until you reach the finish line. That is my dad.
I thought of my dad whenever I felt my spirit slipping during any Army training. I wore his dog tag around my neck with my own as a reminder that The Sarg paved the way when the odds were against him. When I could make an excuse, even if that excuse was a fractured right hip, I would think, “What would Dad do? Choose the hard right or the easy wrong?” The answer was always “the hard right”…along with some water and Motrin.
Because when you’re six years old and putting together your Little Mermaid puzzle for the umpteenth time and hear a piercing scream coming from your soldier of a father, you suck it up and power through any life circumstance the future may hold.
Happy Father’s Day, Sarg. Thank you for screaming.
- Kayley Nammari