In a lot of ways, Jimi Hendrix’s 13 month long stint in the Army in the early 60’s was a lot like his later music career, by which we mean he spent most of it playing guitar, taking drugs and sleeping till noon. You may notice that all three of those things, while undeniably rock and roll, are generally things the Army frowns upon, which is why Hendrix was eventually discharged for, amongst other things, masturbating in a toilet.
Before we talking about anything else we feel it’s important to reiterate that nothing in that opening paragraph was made up and that yes, Jimi Hendrix was once busted jacking it something fierce in a dank-ass porta-potty by a man in military fatigues. While most normal places of employment would consider catching an employee stroking the sausage on the shitter a fairly understandable reason to fire that person, the U.S. Army apparently felt differently and forgave this transgression and dozens others during Hendrix’s short military career.
Along with overlooking him going to town on his dick while he was supposed to be on duty, Hendrix’s commanding officer didn’t seem to mind all the time she regularly found him sleeping on the job or sneaking out to go drink in bars.
While Hendrix was certainly punished for his thousands of mistakes, reports from his time in the Army note that virtually nothing seemed to deter his behaviour and that he seemed thoroughly disinterested in serving his country. Which isn’t all that surprising when you consider the only reason Hendrix joined the Army in the first place is because he was given a choice at 19 of going to prison or dicking around in the Army for 3 years when he was caught stealing cars. In fact, when you think of it like that, it almost seems like Hendrix was intentionally acting out in the hope he’d get kicked out of the Army early, kind of like the plot of Police Academy with more guitar solos.
According to his official Army file, while it was a culmination of his dozens of antics that eventually resulted in his honorable discharge from the Army, yes the guy who polished his penis in a toilet was discharged from the military honorably, his commanding officers cited his constant guitar playing as a major contributing factor.
In fact, Hendrix’s obsession with playing guitar was such that one senior officer, Captain Gilbert Batchman, wrote in his official discharge letter that he genuinely suspected that Hendrix simply couldn’t function properly while thinking about his guitar. Which we’re wholly inclined to agree with considering we previously wrote about how Hendrix literally carried a guitar with him wherever he went and once carried a broom around for a year as a child pretending it was a guitar when his family couldn’t afford to buy him one.
In the end, after just 13 months of what was supposed to be a 3 year stint in the military, Hendrix was discharged because it was agreed by everyone that they guy who slept on the job, frequently wandered off without permission and slapped his junk around at inopportune moments probably wasn’t “Army material”.