Thursday, January 20, 2005


Ever notice how every silver cloud has a black lining? Take the relief-in-place (RIP; now you know yet another Army acronym, but don’t worry – I have lots more) of our old Battalion by another CID Bn rotating in from the States. Both Bn’s shall remain nameless for reasons of national security, protection of the guilty, and my innate paranoia.

Now clearly the tearful departure of the old Bn was a cause for rejoicing, since it signaled that our replacements were on the horizon. That, and it’s an old Army tradition to get all teary-eyed and nostalgic over the departure of bureaucrats-in-arms; we sit around and sing army songs, roast MRE’s over an open fire, and pass out medals to prove how brave we were. All very moving.

It seems, however, that Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) NEW didn’t like the way LTC OLD ran his shop. No, that’s not quite right. Better to say that LTC NEW’s blood pressure would have blown a sphygmomanometer right off his arm. Hope you appreciate that word – I had to look it up. Down in the basement of Bn there is a little-used room with a large conference table in it, set far back from the passing public eye that was used in happier days as a break room. Well! That sort of mollycoddling certainly had no place in the new Reich, let me tell you. Forthwith it was transformed into a sterile conference room, the AFN TV banished to a dusty closet, and uncomfortable straight-backed chairs placed strategically lower than the padded Commander’s chair at the head of the table.

LTC NEW noted with no small disdain that LTC OLD didn’t have a full-time driver assigned to his personal use. How in the world can you be expected to inspire fighting men when they might chance to see you DRIVING YOURSELF around the base?! Fortunately, LTC NEW came prepared, and promptly picked a driver for those 30 minutes a week he might have to drive around. Unfortunately for the driver, there no longer is a break room, so she is forced to wander the hall’s like a spirit forever seeking its rest until summoned to the Great Office itself.

Ah, and all those filthy crumbs and coffee cups at the desks! Away with them! This is a professional organization, and we don’t eat and drink at our desks. If you absolutely had to succumb to hunger and thirst during duty hours, you could do it in the break room. Or, you could have done that in the break room if one existed anymore.

Regrettably, I only learned of the aforementioned changes after LTC NEW decided to drop by and inspire his far-flung outposts. Forewarned would have been forearmed; instead, I had placed my faith in the vain hope that his driver would a) get lost; or b) wreck out on one of the strategically-placed speed bumps on his way over.

Now I should explain that our office hours generally run something like 0730 to 1900 or so, six days a week. Sunday is a down day, and only the duty agent is expected to show up at the office. I know, I know what you’re thinking. How do you ever get anything accomplished if you’re going to take off one day a week? Fortunately, LTC NEW dropped by to correct our error in judgment.

So there I was, sitting behind my rickety desk at the office, minding my own business as usual when what to my wandering eyes should appear but LTC NEW and his driver. I was impressed. I mean, here’s this busy little martinet who finds time in his schedule to pay a social call on the great unwashed. I’m so impressed, in fact, that I stand up and offer my hand in greeting, which he accepted with all the grace of a hypochondriac kissing a leper. I then offered an introduction of one of the most promising young warrant officers I’ve seen lately, but by now his store of hospitality had been exhausted, and he resumed glaring around the room while the young warrant waited vainly for some sign of recognition.

It can’t be healthy for the veins in your neck to bulge out like that.

I braced for the worst. I could see the local papers now: “Local soldier executed by commander in Iraq for keeping a disorderly house!” I could only hope that they wouldn’t print my name and bring dishonor on my family. And I at least had the peace of mind of knowing that my will was duly witnessed and tucked away in a safe place. Obviously, I would be interrogated at the very least, and perhaps if I confessed my sins I would be allowed to redeem myself through hari-kari. I rehearsed all the answers in my head: name, rank, serial number…was there anything else? Oh, yeah, I could tell him about the 15 cases we closed out this week, while we opened up another 10. I could tell him about the all-nighter we all pulled responding to an attempted murder, processing the crime scene, taking statements collecting evidence. I could tell him how we’d mounted two convoys through a high risk section of the city (well, basically, ANYWHERE in Baghdad is high risk, so maybe I’m exaggerating). With baited breath I waited for the fateful interrogation to begin:

“Chief, why are the lights out on that side of the room?”

“Uh…because we didn’t turn them on, sir?”

“Well, it looks like a (expletive deleted) cave over there! Driver! I’ve seen enough! Get me out of this place!”

Just my luck. Out of all the possible LTC’s I could have got, I had to get one that’s afraid of the dark!

I got to re-live that afternoon in all it’s glory when I was summoned to the Palace a few hours later to explain why our duty agent hadn’t responded to three calls the night before. Now, there was a question I could answer! We had, in fact, responded to two – and the “rape” that was reported in the MP blotter turned out actually to be a peeping tom – a kind of sexual ocular assault, I guess – and the “stabbing” turned out to be a GI that merely displayed a bayonet in an argument. The third call we never got.

Just because I could answer doesn’t mean that I got to, mind you. This was obviously meant to be a one-way conversation, so I practiced my thousand-yard stare and nodded encouragingly at what I thought were the appropriate places.

And then, he got around to what was really bothering him: It seems a certain senior warrant officer whom I hold in unusually high esteem had failed to shout “attention!” when a LTC entered the room. Argh! What could I say – guilty as charged. My only excuse was that the last time I knew about that kind of pomp and circumstance was nearly 30 years ago when a kindly old Drill Sergeant was beating it into my head. Somehow the knowledge had atrophied over the decades. To make sure it doesn’t happen again, I’ve started jumping up and yelling “attention” anytime anyone over the rank of second lieutenant walks through the door. Very annoying to the staff, but they’ll only have to put up with for the next couple of weeks or so.

The guy that’s paying the highest price for our incompetence, though, is Old Boy, our faithful mechanic. Since he was the culprit who feloniously, and with malice aforethought, failed to turn on the lights on the east side of the room, he is now assigned as full time battalion watch. His job is to maintain surveillance on the battalion and alert us anytime LTC NEW leaves the Holy Land. Don’t feel sorry for him, though; we’ll pull him off as soon as we develop some informants in battalion to pass on the info to us. Given the level of morale there, it shouldn’t be hard to recruit somebody!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So alternatively of sitting about the coach and losing time by
just seeing tv work, in shape workout in to the blend
so you reach not simply relax but in addition training session.

Feel free to visit my blog - bowflex dumbbells 552

Saturday, May 04, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swimming is easy and can be carried out by any age group.

Review my webpage

Tuesday, May 07, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More than enough for the toughest bodybuilder
yet friendly good enough for anyone who's got not exercised for your even though or has in no way exercised.

Visit my web blog :: just click the following webpage

Tuesday, May 21, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On prime in the numerous features with the you can find
a CD-ROM, which can take you by way of exercise plans to help make one of the most within your property health club, and to tailor an exercise strategy suiting your unique needs and overall
body sort.

Also visit my page; cap dumbbell Set

Wednesday, June 05, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The treadmill has the chance to assist those who would like to continue to
keep fit get rid of pounds suitable within their households.

Feel free to surf to my page ... weight sets for sale

Friday, June 14, 2013  

Post a Comment

<< Home