To My Friend

Filed under: , — lana @ 2:16 pm

Major Michael Green. Sir Green. Sir Mike. Michael Sir. The Major. That Jerk of a Major From Fifth Corps. Sir?

Whatever I felt like calling him that day and whatever he would allow, since he hated it when his friends called him Sir.

My friend, US Army Major Michael Green, was killed about two weeks ago in eastern Afghanistan from an improvised explosive device. Though I only met him a few months ago while sitting around in Georgia, we became good friends immediately and stayed in regular contact once he left and I was still sitting and waiting on orders, for which his torment was endless. He taught me such great games as Spades and Cribbage. If ever sent to prison, I now can hold my own without getting shanked thanks to The Good Major. I hadn’t heard from him in a little while, and I just found out why.

Michael, you will be missed. I still owe you a beer (or three), I still owe you at least a phone call to my sister, and I now owe you a swift kick in the pants because you were supposed to be watching yourself because I couldn’t get to the area to watch out for you and your guys. I know I told you I would, and I couldn’t fulfill that promise.

I’ll get ‘em, my friend. Save a cold one for me, and I’ll save you a seat at the Spades game as long as you’ll still let me underbid…



Filed under: , — lana @ 8:55 am

The tedious nature of babysitting duties combined with the failing rate of the dollar against the euro has led me to sitting in pajamas on a blustery afternoon at the tail end of a four-day weekend wondering how to get myself to Iraq and why it is so hard to get someone to a combat zone who wishes to go and just how long that tomato has been sitting in the fridge.

Really, it’s turning out to be a rather tragic winter when I do a quick personal assessment.

I have yet to give up in my persistent requests to venture to Iraq, particularly once I figured out that the caliber of Soldiers being produced these days is enough to pull a good NCO’s hair out and they gave me three brand new privates to fill my days. In the best interest of my gradually thinning hair, I have taken to calling my company headquarters daily and asking whomever is unlucky enough to answer the phone just what they have done to get me to Iraq today. There was a brief halt in such activity when the question apparently thoroughly confused my orderly room clerk, at which point my first sergeant had to humbly request that I please stop flustering his Soldiers so he could get some work done around there. I think he is also regretting having me sign extension paperwork this last fall, having realized that had I not I could have cleared next month and his Soldiers could answer the phones in peace.

My own Soldiers, or the ones on loan until the Army finds me a new job, are also sore about the extension, it appears. That is probably because in my boredom during the evenings at the barracks during the week I have little better to do than come up with fun and exciting physical training for them. Since two of the three last polled abhor physical training, it only makes it more fun for me. Last week I explained to one of my civilian friends what iron mikes were (something of a walking lunge exercise), as well as my love for having Soldiers do them uphill while holding rifles over their heads, and she pointed out that she was in fact quite pleased with herself that at no time could she put herself in a position where I would be able to make her complete such an exercise. My Soldiers, however, are not so lucky. She only expressed sympathy for them until I explained the inordinate amount of whining and laziness that seems abundent with the new kids, and I reminded her that I am not allowed to fire them.

Somewhere along the line I became one of those NCOs that I never really understood, the cranky ones who always seem irritated with privates and who would rather be sitting in sand than anywhere else. It is something I never thought I would become, but I suppose it has become a neccessary evil. In about eight months I can give up this job for good, but until then suppose it’s at least enough to keep me busy.

Anyone have a sandbox I can play in for the meantime?


Adventures in Babysitting

Filed under: , — lana @ 12:13 pm

As previously mentioned, in order to kill time while my unit figures out what is going on with my orders to Iraq my first sergeant decided to send me on temporary duty to another location to clean up a little mess out there.

As it turns out, the mess wasn’t quite as little as I was led to believe.

Immediately after the first of the year I packed a few essentials and headed out to my beautiful barracks room on a base spitting distance from the Czech Republic. Not that I would spit on the Czech Republic, as I rather like Prague and there is a Vietnamese flea market across the border where I can get cheap boots. But I digress. I unloaded my belongings into a barracks room, noting the interesting fact that I appeared to be the only non-commissioned officer in the building, which was full of military police. Mentally ticking off a few violated regulations in my head, I wandered over to the office to see just what I would be dealing with for the upcoming weeks.

The new Soldiers, who got to Europe over a month prior, had not finished inprocessing. The person in charge of the office was about to go on temporary duty and had failed to leave much of anything behind in the way of specific details, only vague instructions. The specialist just getting back from leave was overly bitter about a promotion points problem and preferred to look at reclassification options rather than do any sort of work. The person I had been assigned to replace was present but embittered and usually off at some sort of forced therapy.

I don’t particularly want children. Nothing against them, but they smell funny and cost a lot. My experiences further east have only reaffirmed this, as this has become more of an adventure in babysitting than anything remotely pertaining to an operational position. And they indeed smell funny some days and cost me time, energy, and more than the three dollars and fifty cents extra per day that I am getting paid for this.

Inprocess the new kids. Find out several are unable to pass a physical fitness test. Find out several are overweight. Fix what is wrong with the promotion points for the specialist. Catch some random military police guy in one of the girl’s rooms. Deal with blaring music at odd hours for no reason because I know those military police aren’t on road shifts. None of the new kids have gotten European driver’s licenses. Two of the new kids don’t have stateside licenses so they can’t get them and therefore can’t drive. Make sure the person I replaced is making his appointments. Clean up the office. Find supplies from somewhere. Figure out whether or not we own certain pieces of equipment and if not, who does. Figure out what the office letterhead might be. Make sure the new kids aren’t eating at Burger King every night. Give everyone counseling statements, some for the first time in their military career though they have been in nearly three years. Realize half of them can’t shoot. Figure out where the boss left the packet for the work needed to be done. Figure out if requests went up for information needed to function. Get the old personnel to stop demotivating the new personnel. Motivate the new personnel.

The list goes on, and that was all in the first few days. My days are busy, but still feel as though nothing gets accomplished day to day and the things to do list grows exponentially faster than the things done list.

I keep asking my first sergeant to please send me to Iraq. It’s much easier.

I hear the going rate for a babysitter is about eight dollars an hour. I get three fifty a day. I think I might have been had somewhere…

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