Monday, January 17, 2011

Learn the Ropes by Tying a Noose

"Here take this" James said as he threw me some sort of list.
I read it over. It was the names of twenty guys who I was now in charge of. "Ummm thanks. What do I do with this?" I asked sarcastically.
"What do you think? Eat it? It's the names for the role-call you'll do every morning. Take attendance and report if anyone is missing. If people gotta go somewhere, mark it down and tell the Warrant so he knows."
"So basically I'm head babysitter?"
"Pretty much" he replied. "Don't over think it. Just keep track of things, make sure no one fucks off, and pick out people for taskings."
"I guess that's simple enough" I said.
"Duh. Plus the best part is, you get to stay here and run things while everyone else goes and does the shitty jobs. Cool huh?"
"Well I suppose that's an advantage." I didn't know what to say. It was great to get recognized but sometimes being the one responsible has a way of biting you in the ass. Especially when you're in charge of teenagers with too much time on their hands.

That afternoon went by pretty quick.While everyone else was watching movies, I was lost in my day dream land. I told my roommate Matt about it and he congratulated me for it. But when I did, some people must of heard because the rest of the afternoon was peaked with whispers about my new job. I didn't know what to think. And after our PT break I went back to my room and just thought about it and what I was going to do. But everything in the military is platonic when it comes down to it. I can't really say I had a positive outlook.

In the military like most jobs people get right out of high school or whatever stage in their life they bring along a little bit of their old mindset and depending on their make up it takes a while to bash out previously held beliefs. So what I was faced with was a bunch of immature kids whose only form of discipline they previously got in Basic was quickly fading. Now I'm not naive enough to think little ole' me is going to burst in and start yelling, but I had to set the pace a bit.

The next day I went in with my little list. I went through it while James read off his. And things went quite well, everyone showed up in various conditions smelling of various vices. Later on I went to the office and met some of the junior officers who were stationed there for a quick stay until their own course. I found out after talking to them that everyone was just as long as I was and to just follow direction until I picked it up. I only realize years later that this is how the entire workforce operates and that most people have no real cool starting off what to do, no matter what the specialty. What decides who does a good job generally boils down to who can fake it the best.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Coming It's Coming

Been kinda slacking on the blog lately as I've geared my efforts towards my other one. But I'm writing a new article just after I post this. It does take time though as I don't blog about simple pre-made pictures or easily found links. So stay tuned.
Edit: Posting tommorow

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Promotion of Sorts

So after our Christmas leave we all got back to the base fully recharged and ready to go back to the daily grind. The prospect of going on course within a month was very motivating to say the least after slagging it out for the last four months (minus some leave) on PAT platoon doing the odd jobs around the base. By this time I had a core group of friends and a good grasp on the daily routine around the PAT. I'd shown that I wasn't an idiot so whenever the really bad jobs came up I got looked over for the guys who were to be punished for showing up late or reeking of booze.

I also had my new car which made things a blast in the winter where I'd be able to drive to the mess and eat instead of hoofing it across spans of snowy flatland like a prime target for some NCO with a chip on his shoulder. I could even turn a couple bucks here-and-there driving guys to the liquor store or local PX (CANEX is Canada) which is basically the base corner store that sold pretty much everything (furniture, TVs, clothing, etc.). Now it might seem bad that I made money doing this but the money was usually from guys I didn't like too much cause I did it for my friends for free. Also, if guys wanted to go downtown it was a one hour drive round trip so it did take a hit on my gas gauge. Plus everyone had an expendable income cause there wasn't much to do other than drink, fight, or try to pickup local girls. The mature guys with their head on straight already lived in the military condos away from us young guys. So our barracks was pretty much a frat house only cleaner.

Anyways, we show up for our first day and it's business as usual with role call over and the great debate of what movie we were going to watch until lunch. Ha ha, it's funny how this was the highlight of the workday back then.  So we finally decide on something we probably seen before but it kept us quiet. Soon enough I get whispered that I'm wanted in the office. Sure enough the alarm bells start going off on what I might have done or have yet to get caught for (sex with some chick in the shacks, drinking in the shacks, or just being messy). But none of those had happened recently so I was kind of at a loss for what the reason was. I justified that my name probably got picked to go on some tasking to move office furniture or other work.

So I presented myself at the doorway which is custom in the military and pronounced my presence with my rank, last name, and serial number. It's more of a tradition than practical as he was the one who called me there. But I was ushered in by the clerk to the Warrants desk. The first thing I noticed was all the papers and calendars and printed emails on his desk. This place was actually pretty busy when you get past the room full of teens watching movies. The Warrant Officer looked up at me and we had a conversation somewhat like this (I forget the actual one cause it happened so long ago):

"Private Tango" He said.
"Yes Warrant" I replied.
"You seem to have gotten used to things around here and don't fuck up too much."
"Yes Warrant I try" Is all I could manage to say.
"Good. And from your file I can see you're pretty smart. That's why I'm making you a section commander here in the platoon." Now I was hit with a couple verbal debates. One I couldn't admit I'm smart because any sign of ego in the military is seen as a number one target to any authority who like their subordinates just as that. Subordinate. So I asked another question burning in the back of my mind.
"I'd be glad to Warrant. But doesn't my course start in a month? I doubt I'd be much help only having a month." Yes, I tried to snake my way out of it. Because controlling these retards is the equivalent of trying to herd cats.
"Nope. The course has been pushed back till April. So you'll have plenty of time" He said Bluntly.
"Umm, ok then. I guess I can then." What was I to do, his mind was set. And arguing that you're too lazy to do it was an invitation for the worst jobs and taskings for the rest of my stint. Might as well go along.
"Good. James will show you what to do." He finished there and went back to his work.

I kinda wondered out of the office in a daze for a bit. I'd meet with James after lunch, right now I had to digest what had just happened.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Experiences May Vary

So True, part of the reason I got out of the Combat Arms. Where your job involves going out on the battlefield doing pretty much what relates to 'Looking for Trouble'. All the while base WOGS are back 'behind the wire' drinking Tim Hortons and checking their Facebook. Oh yeah, on top of that they make more money than you because they are considered 'Specialists'. So we risk our lives for less money and more danger. Great Deal. Updates coming soon.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

After a Hiatus

Excuse my absence all, a lovely combination of holiday excursions, depression episodes, and general laziness. However, now I'm back and on with the blog, or story, or whatever it is this thing is turning out to be.

So winter came to Gagetown and I spent a lot of early mornings shoveling snow with my other recruits. Although it wasn't everyday I actually was given the discretion on when we worked. However to some that may seem like a license to slack, but in the military it meant that as soon as someone complained or an officer asked some stupid off-hand question to the Sergeant Major (i.e. "RSM doesn't someone look after the walkways in the winter?") it was my ass who would be in shit. So I kept the place pretty free of snow and ice for a couple months. Eventually though our winter-leave came which was about 3.5 weeks off with pay. Pretty good deal since we weren't actually "essential personnel" in the military school.

So I got to go back home and visit with family. So of course the usual questions started of how hard were my courses, who was my boss, how was it going, did I like the base, etc. Of course you build up a repertoire of canned answers to these types of things. It happened when I went to University where my standard answer was "They make us read a lot." My old man used to be in so he chuckled at some stories and just nodded at others grumbling "Yup they'll do that" or "Ha ha, I remember when I blah blah blah...". I grew up in the military family so there was nothing too surprising for them, it was mostly friends and extended family who wanted the full details.

But honestly, it's one of those experiences that can't be summed up in a quick answer because half of Army life is just living in the environment. Especially one with as many dudes as the base I was on. I always referenced it to this analogy when describing it to my civi friends:

"Wanna know what it's like in the combat arms?"
"Sure"
"Ok. Remember how we always laughed at those dumb meat head guys in high school?"
"Ha Ha, yeah."
"Yeah funny right. Except the majority of them went to the Army....and now they're my boss. And they haven't really changed, except someone told them they were important."

A blanket statement I know. But the majority of guys giving out the unnecessary shit in the military are those same douche bags and because of that you tend to remember them better. Even now my best friends are military guys or ex-military guys. Why? Because they understand what I went through and I understand what they went through. Plus there is a standard you know they achieved. When a guy talks shit on the street their is a good chance he can't back it up, but with a military guy (especially the Army) you know he can or at least fail trying his damnedest.

One of the thing that unites military members is that they've all been broken at one point. Physically and mentally. No matter how many push ups you can do, someone will make you do them and then ask for more, and then berate you when you can't. This will go on for a while and the deprivation of positive chants, motivational posters, a quite place to masturbate, a bed that isn't surrounded by 3 or guys, a meal not prepared in a mess, or even a cool beer or relaxing smoke to take the edge off will add up real fucking fast. But the real trait of a combat arms soldier is that they'll keep coming back for more. Like in Fight Club when Tyler Durden gets the shit kicked out of him by Lou "Owner of Lou's Bar" and he keeps asking/taunting him for more. Kinda like that. Keep going until all you can do is still make them pissed off.

But going home is always nice, it removes from from the military universe of kinda gets you back to normal. It's nice being in a town where no one knows what unit/school you're from, or that your shaved head means you're a recruit, that being a man in uniform actual holds a little sexual appeal. So it's nice. Not much happened on that leave. A relative died and I went to the funeral, and I bought my first car with a credit line gladly extended when they saw where my checks were coming from. So I recharged for a bit, ate too much "fat pills" (aka cake, chocolate). Then drove myself back to base to start the waiting game all over again. By this time I was supposed to start in one month in February. As always with a military plan, it changed pretty quick when we got on ground.

To cap it all off, here's some benefits of compulsory service in a country. Everyone serves....even.....