So this is out of the norm to what I have. Even posting here but I just have something to say about leadership. Now I am claiming to know everything about what a leader is but I do have a pretty good fucken idea what not to do as a leader. Let me start with the bases of this rant. I have a E7 who is suppose to be “in charge” of the full time staff at my unit. However this dickbag is probably the worst NCO I have come across in a long time. Let me run a few of the highlights this guy has done in the year I have know him.
To start with;
He is a “do as I say not as I do” type of person. When he first came to the unit he came in with all of this new “policy” when it comes to work hours, appointments, leave, email traffic, and a whole slough of other crap that made no sense. Now I have learned over the years to accept a certain level of stupidity and I am fine with that. However when it comes to this I have issues, let’s start with work hours. We are suppose to work M,W,F from 0900 to 1600 and T,TH from 0800 to 1600. Pretty easy compared to other places and no early morning PT pretty fucken sweet. This guy however seems to be late almost everyday not sure how that is, I am usually at my desk by 0800 everyday as it is. So this guy is late most days and whenever someone else is late for whatever reason we then in turn have a staff meeting where we are lectured on the importance of be on time and that we are fucked up.
Now one to leave (I’m not going to talk about the appointment thing cause that’s a whole post in itself). Two weeks ago this guy wanted to take a day of leave on a Friday to go home and get his kids. Sounds easy enough right fill out a leave form get it signed by the commander and your good to go right. Well not only did he not have a signed leave form before he left but he left any way. Now this one is pretty fucked it cause everytime I want to take leave I have to my shit approved before hand, but somehow this guy is good to go without it. This one however j kind of put onto the command for allowing this kind of bullshit, but you should always make sure your leave is aprroved first. This is not the first time ether this same situation played out.
I could go on and on about this guy but I think I’m going to wrap it up with something that I learned a long time ago when I wasn’t ever a leader. “Never ask your Soldiers to do something that you have not done or not willing to do yourself” this has served me well over the years in and out of the military. Now like I said in the beginning I don’t claim to know everything about being a leader but I do know that this guy is no leader. As an NCO you must always put your Soldiers needs above you own.
So after what seams likes an eternity of running, shooting, road marches, earlier morning PT, bullshit barracks life, and learning the Army way. I stand on the parade field as a Soldier and thinking back on what the last eight weeks had been, I was hot shit or so I thought. Once all the fan fare cleared and all the emotions had settled. It was back to the what was at hand one thing about the military that will learn. Is that it isn’t about what you have accomplished so much( that’s important as well) but it’s about what’s at hand. I was headed for AIT to learn my job and what would be a whole new experience for me.
I arrived at what was then was place called Edgewood. This was a tiny little base that was about a twenty minute drive outside of Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. This would be where my first taste of Army freedom would come. Now for my MOS I had a 13 week AIT and this place was a unique Army post as there was really only us there as in there was the AIT students and the DS and instructors. Being isolated like this created a environment that I have never found since. It was a fun place, a hard place, and a place where I found who I was. See among the other in my class I looking for something that was me and who I am. I have spent many years trying to figure out what I am all about and to figure out what I what I wanted to do in this world, and looking back to this time I can say that this is where I decided what I am and what I should be doing. I spent years trying to hide what I am passionate about and I had DS that played a huge role in my life to show me what my potential could be. But to get back on track with the main topic AIT at that time was designed to foster a sense of empowerment in your job and give you the tools to be successful. I felt that I was better prepared then the Soldiers coming out now a days. I will say this that this was also the one and only time that I was punished under the UCMJ and I received an article 15 and was given 14 days extra duty, 14 days restricted to post and dock half months pay for two months. So outside of that and all the good time from 2 for 1 at Rudy Tuesday at the mall, all the drinking, strip clubs, and trying to get back on post drunk as fuck it was a great introduction to the real Army (at least at that time).
This was a pivotal time for our nation just a couple years removed from the events in 2001, and now fighting two wars on to fronts. The Army had to adjust to new standards and new way of life. This all started in those early years of the wars. As we embarked on the start of our training I didn’t know what was to come but looking back I find myself wondering if we got the full experience or a dumb down one just to get numbers thru. Who knows…
It all started toward the end of January beginning of February you don’t really know the days at this point, this was pre cell phone days. I do remember there was an ice storm had come thru and it was rather cold for that part of the country. I can’t tell you what class I was, what the unit was, or even what company I was. I can tell you that from the bus ride where everyone is crammed into with all your bags in your lap it we were never going to be the same people. Once we had arrived at our reading company barracks, which were actually drop off about half a mile away and had to run with all of our shit while be yelled at. Then what I would say is the worst part of anything from that day is the shake down of our gear. We are all in a formation and told to dump out ours bags at our feet so it can be inventory by the DS. Sounds easy enough right, well this is the Army so pretty much everything ended up in a big pile with everyone stuff mixed up like a big cocktail of crap. Now it’s time to occupy the barracks and put our shit away now if there was one pivotal moment in my career that has always impressed was this next bit. When my platoon was moving into the barracks floor that we had there was one particular DS that I will always remember he was SSG Grouse he was one of those hard chargers I talk about earlier. He was standing by they door and there was some PVT that walk behind him and in what seem to be a split second the DS turn and pinned the PVT to the wall with his elbow on his neck and I wasn’t sure what he said but I pretty sure the guy shit himself. That was something that I have always looked back on and I think that was the moment I wanted to be an NCO. Although that wouldn’t be acceptable in today’s Army though. That was just the first day of basic training and that was just the start to what ultimately lead to me being here today….
So this one is a hard one for me to start I have gone back and forth on how to get this going so I’m just going to jump right into it and hope for the best. The start of mine and probably anyone military career starts early as shit in the morning and goes well into the night. I’m is no exception my recruiter showed up about 4:30am to pick me up to start the adventure. Once I arrived at the MEPS and went thru yet another round of medical, dental, and other physical feats of strength, I was given a packet of paperwork and a one way ticket to boot camp. In all that day I would travel from OKC to the ATL then on to Ft. Jackson on what would only be descried as the longest way to get there, I think I had at least one if not two stops before I got to ATL. I didn’t get into ATL until the early evening in all what should have been a maybe couple hours flight in took maybe six. This would be my first taste of the military travel planners in their quest to save a dollars but I will leave there for any other story. Once I got into ATL this is where we boarded a bus to take us from ATL to Ft. Jackson, SC. Now we didn’t get into Ft. Jackson (I will refer to this place as FJ from now on) until well after midnight and this is where everything begins.
Now there are going to be some people out there that will say FJ is kind of a joke and that it is really not as hard as some other basic training post, and I would agree with that statement. Upon our arrival we were meet by what I would describe as a very well manner professional drill sergeant. My expectations of this over the top hard charging beastly man calling us all mother fuckers and screaming and yelling was not the case (you will eventually get those DS in your training company). However from this point you transition to the 120th Reception Battalion I believe is the unit there, and the in-processing begins. Now this is another one of those Army first that you will encounter is how much paperwork there is I felt as if I was filling out and signing my name for days with all of the paperwork there is. From there it’s just a whirl wind of getting uniforms, shots, going to medical and dental, eating, trying to sleep, taking a APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test), and enduring long hours of nothingness. You make it through all that you finaly get shipped to your training company and everything begins….
So in doing some looking around the o’internet I could not find any blogs really from the point of view of someone who is actually in the military. All I could really find are military wives/families blogs (which there is nothing wrong with that, do you!!) but I find that a little discouraging that no one really wants to talk about it. So I have decided that I am going to now this is not going to be a spill the beans type of thing. There may be a few trade secret (and some strong language) that will come up from time to time but for the most part there won’t be anything too crazy about what I’m going to talk about.
I guess I will start with a series of blogs that kind of start from the beginning so here we go …..
First let me start with my current day and where I’m at. I am currently a motor sergeant for a transportation company somewhere in the midwest and it is probably the most boring thing I have ever done. Now at this point I have been in the Army for almost fourteen years and have worked my way up to about middle management level to put it in civilian terms and have found myself siting at a desk job. This new found sense of boringness has led me to question my career choices, but it has also put me into a place that has given me the freedom to do things like this. Now there are good points to what I do I do get to teach and train Soldiers which is really the bases of my job, I do get to shot the shit out of different weapon systems, and I do get to do a job that not everyone has the option to do. But let’s get started on how I came to this place.
I originally joined the Army back in 2003 at the start of the Iraq war and was at place in my life with no direction and no future as I saw it. I was working as a line cook for an Italian restaurant chain making less then what minimum wage is now. I was living with who is now my wife in an shit hole apartment and was really going now where in life. I just so happen to be watching a news story about a guy who had gotten laid off from his job and had a family to support and joined the Army as a means to do that, and that was the moment I decided I was going to join the Army. The next day I think it was I told my then girlfriend that I was going to go to a meeting or some bull like that (which she should have known that was crap) and went to the Army recruiter station around the corner from where we lived and signed up. Didn’t really talk to anyone just kind of did it which in turn didn’t go over to well with some but it worked out in the end…..
Welcome to a new chapter in my life as I share my life with you and start something that I have wanted to do for so time now.