Drill Sergeant says to Forrest Gump:

Drill Sergeant: If it wouldn't be a waste of such a damn fine enlisted man, I'd recommend you for OCS, Private Gump. You are gonna be a general some day, Gump.

What does "If it wouldn't be" mean?

  • The sergeant implies that it would be a waste of a good soldier to do so, but if that wasn't the case he would recommend him. Jan 23, 2022 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


OCS probably means Officer Cadet School: that is training to become an officer in the Army. By contrast, an "enlisted man" is a low-rank soldier. Private is the lowest rank in the Army.

The Sergeant is saying with some dialect and heavy irony:

You are a very good low-rank soldier.

You deserve to go to Officer Cadet School, to train as an officer, as I think you have the potential to be a General of the Army.

But then you would be a school and not fighting in this war.

And that would be a waste of your talent, since you are very good at fighting.

So I won't send you to OCS!

To begin to understand Forrest Gump, you need to realise it is a satire. It is making a comment about the nature of the American army.

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