In a way, soldiers are considered a type of “military equipment”. It’s not actually as soulless and dehumanizing as it sounds, even though there are times when you feel like your soul has indeed gone on leave and you are diminished as a person. But the reality of it is, a soldier is supposed to be “mission capable” because, crazy as it sounds, when you sign the contract to join the Army you promise to be mission-capable in exchange for all that sweet, sweet pay, chow, and living standards (yes, there is sarcasm in there).
One of the ways to ingrain these habits into you is in Basic Training and AIT, or Advanced Individual Training, where you go to learn your particular job skillset. They have a few months to pound it all into you, so you are given a lot of information in a very rapid period of time, with lots of physical activity and stress. You are told to go to certain places at certain times, do it quickly, with no detours or time for even casual conversation. When you get to your class or training area, you shut up and pay attention, and any deviation from the focus of the class is dealt with quickly and harshly.
This is why Basic can seem like such an overwhelming, drinking-from-the-firehose experience for many people. You quickly adapt to doing what you’re told, being quiet unless you are expected to shout out some pre-packaged motivational phrase as a way to acknowledge that you are paying attention, and so on. It does kind of roboticize you, to an extent: perform the way they want you to perform, and life is generally easier. Try to buck the system, and life will be more stressful (contrary to popular belief, Drill Sergeants can’t punch, kick, or slap you anymore– those days are long gone, although it used to be the case decades ago).
So when you get to your permanent duty station after Basic, many new soldiers show up with these habits still in effect. I’ve been in for a long time but sometimes when I see a new soldier show up and they’re doing all the robotic movements and shouting out things with great motivation, and calling items and people by their full, proper nomenclature or rank, it still kind of causes me to do a slight reset.
The general mood of a regular, established unit is pretty normal and casual, compared to Basic Training. There are the uniform regulations, odd hours, restrictions, and respect for higher ranks, but the Basic Training stuff not only isn’t needed any more, but some even find it annoying (this is more for administrative type positions; combat arms will be a bit more appreciative, or at least amused).
So Private Jensens is new, still coasting on that Basic Training programming, and it is up to the new team to talk her down gently and uncoil that tightly-wound spring inside.