I mistrust all systemizers and avoid them. ~
In the Army, there’s a lot of “Just Because”.
We don’t know why we have formations, we just do. Drives me nuts.
“There’s just so many moving parts, we need to have accountability.” That’s what one 1LT told me.
Here at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, my unit is stationed with the 1st Armored Division: Old Ironsides. You know, only the most powerful ground unit in the entire fricken world. Yeah, the same armored fist that smashed the Nazis at Anzio. It flicked aside the forces of Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, destroying 768 enemy vehicles while losing only four men.
Well, the might 1st AD, many times, has five formations a day. One at morning PT (0630), one at work call (0900) one before lunch (1130) one after lunch (1300) and one at the end of the day (1700). They do it “Just Because.” Fortunately, my unit only has in the morning, sometimes another at the end of the day.
I always hear reasons for all the stuff the Army does, and I might get suckered into buying the proverbial bridge, but I’ve lived a long life before the Army. I know any organization can function without five formations or musters, a day. Has a lot of moving parts, huh LT? Sorry, but my company has far less people in it than a Super WalMart has. Bet WalMart doesn’t mke it’s people spend almost an hour a day (or more) standing around looking dumb and waiting to be told they can go eat.
There’s lots of other needless stuff, too. For instance, today we did a four mile ruckmarch. Look, I can smoke any dude on my base at rucking. Not bragging, just a fact. At the Soldier of the Year competition, I finished so far ahead of the second place guy, that I could even see him, and he was more than ten years younger. Point is, I like rucking. But the Army has to makes what should be a simple and enjoyable little walk so complicated as to ruin the potential for motivating soldiers to be better ruckers. Word was yesterday we were to have a 0600 formation with 35 pound packs. We’d step off at 0630. “Yeah, right, I told Donna, we’ll mull around until everyone’s grumbling and ready to go to sick call from aggrevation.
I was not to be disappointed. We stood outside in -10 degree Celsius weather, for 50 minutes waiting for the “Risk Assessment” to be signed by the company commander. A Risk assessment is an estimate and analysis of potential dangers to soldiers for any exercise or mission. But seriously, could a walk around the base be dangerous? Should I get a risk assessment when I walk the half mile to the chow hall for lunch? This is the damn American Army, the most powerful, badass killing machine this blood soaked planet has ever seen. Yet, by the time we finally started our march, the damn Boy Scouts would have been finished and roasting marshmallows. Oh, but we still had to get a lecture from the 1st SGT about extraneous stuff that was 1) Common sense and 2) Could have waited. One thing I’ve noticed is that anyone who makes it to a position of high authority in the Army really likes to hear themselves talk–a lot.
The minutiae in the the Earth’s Greatest Army would leave Alan Greenspan in a coma. Don’t walk on the grass. Always wear a hat outside. Want to take a day off? Need a commander’s approval sheet, a DA 31 leave form, a driver’s risk assessment. Want to sell your inoperable car to someone who just wants some spare parts? Both people need paperwork signed by the company and brigade commander. What. The. F!@#?. You’re telling that the brigade commander has nothing better to do in a time of war? On what basis would not sign the paper? That the car doesn’t work? That’s why you need the paper in the first place!
Oh–and don’t wear logos on your PT socks lest a Sergeant Major have a coronary and recommend you for firing squad. Why? Just because. I’ve got logos on my running shoes. That’s ok though. Just because.
Meanwhile our Predator drones are being hacked with hardware bought at the local electronic shops in Iraq. Shouldn’t we be focusing on that and defeating IEDs?
It’s too bad.There a re so many good things about being in the Army. So many things about it that I’m good at. I’m this brigade’s Soldier of the Year. That’s out of about 4000 soldiers. Yet, I find there to be massive deficiencies. The Army has it exactly backwards when it comes to how to be successful and happy. There’s ton of dime store self-help books that actually get it right: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Not only does the Army sweat the small stuff, in many cases it does so at the expense of its most important asset: Its soldiers.
May keep me from re-enlisting.