Watch: Canadian artillery team gives soldier one hell of a wake up call

Serving in the military forces you to develop a number of unusual skill sets that aren’t necessarily specific to war-fighting, and many of them involve sleep. The ability to go for extended periods of time without rest becomes paramount in uniform, as does your ability to catch up on that sleep deficit at unusual times and in unusual places.

Most of us who have traded some part of our lives to our nations for a uniform have at least a story or two about napping in seemingly impossible circumstances, whether it’s while holed up inside what’s left of a house in Iraq or in a steaming-hot concrete structure just off the rifle range in the desert of Twentynine Palms, California.

Author may be speaking from experience here.

The thing about service members and their uncanny ability to catch a few Zs in even the most unexpected of places is that it tends to leave them in a fairly vulnerable state. Napping on the job may not always be against the rules (if your unit is tasked with 24-hour responsibilities and someone on the team still has those responsibilities covered, for instance), but it does always leave you susceptible to practical jokes if your teammates are so inclined.

What kind of practical jokes? Well, usually the benign sort that might startle you, but won’t leave any lasting damage. Sometimes, you may need to change your clothes or wash your face (depending on whether or not shaving cream, baby powder, or markers are involved), but you usually end up no worse for wear. That is, unless you’ve been assigned to an artillery battery in the Canadian military, apparently.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of being near an M777 Howitzer when it’s fired, suffice to say that ear plugs aren’t really an option. The explosive power unleashed by this artillery isn’t merely something you hear, it’s something you feel as the air is compressed out of your lungs and your whole body finds itself temporarily stunned by how it was impacted all at once by a shockwave. When you know it’s coming, it can be a truly awe-inspiring experience. If you’re peacefully sleeping nearby, however, it’s probably just about the world’s worst wake-up call.

You can’t tell if this poor guy has ear protection in during the video, but if he doesn’t, at least he’ll have some solid evidence to go along with his disability claim.