Udo and Winzig really don’t want to be in the army. I know how Udo got there — if you keep following, you will too — but I never heard how Winzig got there.
He probably joined, it would be just like him.
There’s really not much going on here except unit politics and the man in command trying to herd cats. Which is really all an officer can ever do, but not without the assistance of the sergeants.
I found an old reader letter that said he found my portrayal of the military in Permanent Party to be “bleak.” I couldn’t put anything in a fictionalized memoir except what I saw and heard. The army’s no damn fun, after all. Officers can be pinheads with power — imagine the office manager in “The Office” but with a lot more authority. Sergeants can be salt-of-the-earth — or, more often, cases of arrested development worse than a highschool basketball coach. When they start feuds with each other they often use Freestyle Peon Harrassment as part of the game rules.