Yesterday was a momentous day in the world of my unit:
They Accomplished Something.
It took awhile, don’t get me wrong, but they did something and they did it on time and we think they might have even done it correctly. The combination of those things is simply a feat, and a day which should be marked and celebrated unit-wide. We celebrated by going home early. Oh, wait, no… that was because of the snow. But it should have been because of them.
Let’s see… the story begins when I was recovering from having my brain vacuumed. I was sitting around somewhere in the States, happily medicated and checking my e-mail. I received a message. The message was that I had been unwittingly scheduled for a course in roughly a month that would require things like physical activity that would make my nose bleed heavily given my current condition. I think my nose stopped bleeding during physical training sometime around six months after the head cleaning, but the doctors were pretty specific about not doing stupid things until a set date in October. This course started before that date.
So I did the thing any good little Soldier would do: I forwarded the email and the message from the doctors to my first sergeant and mentioned someone should probably clear this up. He sent a message back to me agreeing, and a message to the correct person in the company to deal with it so I didn’t end up on the dreaded “No-Show” list.
The No-Show list is rumored to be some vast pit of hellish nightmares that makes people in the ranks of Sergeant Major and above very grumpy, as well as possibly taking you off the list for future schooling. I say rumored, because I saw no evidence of any of this. I did, however, see evidence that I was a no-show. I emailed that to my First Sergeant. He again tried to take care of it. Apparently, it didn’t work. That part is still a mystery, because everyone in my personnel shop and training shop mysteriously has amnesia for that particular time period when questioned about my paperwork. But no matter.
So I cruise about and get into the course, which is a required course for promotion, mind you, a few months later. This time, the course was online, so it was tedious and stupid and long and boring but at least I could complain loudly for three months.
Then I asked about the next part of the course. See, this particular course is in two phases, one which must be completed before the other (unless you are one of my friends who somehow did the second part without the first, thereby meaning he still has yet to complete the course but has so thoroughly confused the system that no one can get him into the first part now… but that’s another story). I completed part one online. Part two, I was told, would be scheduled by the Department of the Army, so I should wait.
And so I waited. I should have realized that any time someone says Mother Army is responsible for something I ought be wary and question fully, but I was naive and listened to my supervisors.
A few months later, I was medically cleared for just about anything, so I started wondering whether the Army had overlooked me for the class because they were waiting on medical. I asked. I was told to wait some more. I mentioned that I needed the course before the promotion board, which was coming up. I was told to wait.
Sometime in the fall, I called my Branch Manager, who was appalled that I had not attended the course and started making attempts to get me in. My unit, now clued in that I was not waiting, immediately started lecturing me about how I should have been asking for, nay, begging for, this course. I mentioned that I was told to wait. I was told I was a fool, and that it was my fault I had not gotten in. I was then, later in the same conversation, once again told that Department of the Army was responsible for scheduling the course. But it was still my fault.
Eventually, I got a course date: start date two months after the promotion board. So I needed a waiver. Again with the lectures about how it was my fault, but I was persistent. I called various elements I probably shouldn’t be calling to find out the waiver process. I wrote memorandums and dug up documents. I sent everything forward to my company, who sent it up to Battalion.
Battalion sent it back. They told my Commander to get me to put the blame on medical instead of on the unit. I did that and resent the memo. Battalion sent it back. They wanted more detail on who actually dropped the ball on getting me into the course. I did that, practically rewriting the first memo, and resent. Battalion sent it back. They didn’t like how it was ordered. I rewrote the whole thing and reminded them that board submissions closed in about three weeks. They finally got the hint and sent me a document to sign that already had the Battalion Commander’s signature. I pointed out that I could not sign it after the Battalion Commander, copied it to a new form, and sent it back to Battalion. They found the Battalion Commander to get him to once again sign the document (I can only imagine the conversation). Finally, they got it to Brigade.
Brigade, at 1900 Germany time on a Friday evening, finally sent the completed waiver request to Human Resources Command. They sent it two weeks prior to the closure of the board. They sent it over a month after we first submitted a memo, and over three months after I first began badgering them that I did not have the course and would need either the course or a waiver to be boarded for promotion.
Whether HRC will grant the waiver remains to be seen, as well as whether I get picked up for promotion even with the waiver. But HRC confirmed receipt of the request, which is a step in the right direction for my unit. Any time they accomplish a task I like to give them some sort of recognition, like a puppy that needs to be housebroken so he gets a treat when he does the right thing. Call me sentimental, but I want to encourage them to do things like, I don’t know, their jobs, every once in awhile.