iraqistan

11/2/2009

Lost

Filed under: — lana @ 3:58 pm

Sometime this afternoon I received a disconcerting telephone call from my Operations Officer. It went something along the lines of:

Him: So… can you send me a map?
Me: Sure. I got maps. If not, I can make them up and pretend. What maps?
Him: One of your Garrison area of operations, if you have one.
Me: Coincidentally, I have that, having asked our Garrison for one since no one else in the Army seems to know what the areas are. Need your area, too? The guy at my Garrison sent me all of them.
Him: You have that? That would be great. Saves me some time, because I have to draw in all of the boundaries the Garrisons have as well as all of the boundaries our Battalion says we have. Oh, could you send me what you think your boundaries are, too?
Me: Sure.
*pause for effect and confusion caused by flash of logic*
Me: Um… wait… shouldn’t someone have this already? Like, the people that draw the boundaries between our areas? Like, the people at Battalion that tell us where we should be working, since they told us to work there?
Him: You would think so, wouldn’t you… Funny thing about that…

It appears, somewhat not surprisingly, that my Battalion has absolutely no idea what areas we are actually covering, what any office is actually responsible for, nor what logically we should be doing in order to support the unit’s (somewhat theoretical) mission statement of supporting Garrison Commands. This actually makes sense when one comprehends that sometime last year my office was told that we were responsible for a district completely outside of our Garrison boundaries and were, in fact, no longer responsible for our own surrounding community.

However, I do not encourage one to attempt to comprehend such things. We still have to re-explain it to our Operations Officer every now and then, like we did today. He is so cute: he still tries to think that there was a logical decision behind all of it. He has only been at our unit a few months… he still has to accept how some things operate out here.

See, it seems that while I was temporarily on some assignment somewhere last year someone decided to redraw the boundaries. They did so, it now appears, without actually looking at a map, which we pointed out but were dutifully told to shut up and get to work. As a result, today we had to convince people that our physical Garrison is actually located an entire district north from where they apparently thought it was. I ended up having to draw a picture (the original map I sent apparently ended up being too confusing despite the pretty colors and the fact that it came from Europe’s Garrison Headquarters) which my warrant officer turned into a very pretty PowerPoint so our Operations Officer could forward it to our Battalion. I was so proud; I knew he went to warrant school for something…

Now we, as it turns out, have been muttering about these odd boundaries for a long time, as I may have alluded to previously. It turns out that no one was taking us seriously not because they are just used to tuning out muttering, but because they legitimately thought we were located in a completely different place than we actually are. Even our Operations Officer argued with us about the district our Garrison is physically located in, having run on the assumption that to have us in any other district would be the stupidest thing he had ever heard.

Turns out, it was at only the stupidest thing he heard before I also mentioned that his office, two hours away, is actually responsible for the town in which my cat spends her days waiting for me to come home after work. I made the request that he feed the cat whenever he popped by. He was not amused.

So to break it down: an entire battalion and operational section seem to have lost our office. That, and it appears they may have a little trouble with basic map reading since the district lines are quite clear on area maps. Some re-training might be in order. Even my mother, who has a map aversion recalled from car trips long past, can look at a map and tell me that Hawaii is not actually a part of Kansas. She can also tell that Trenton is not in Pennsylvania because the big, fat, New Jersey state line gets in the way when one is crossing through Camden towards Philadelphia. This makes my mother, the same woman who slept resolutely through 10 hours in the car with two screaming children and a husband perpetually singing show tunes just so she could avoid being called upon to communicate directions from our massive and intimidating road atlas, more qualified to determine operational boundaries than the people who are theoretically qualified to periodically take large groups of Soldiers into the woods and demonstrate for them how to find their way back using a stick, a shadow, and a string with some beads on it. That should disturb people. A lot.

There were times when I would find it nice that no one knew where we were: it implied that no one could just pop in for a visit. But it would be nice to have a job for my last few months in this unit, to perhaps get a little bit of support for a mission we know exists but can’t quite get to, and maybe every once in a great while have someone in our own parent unit identify our district correctly on a map at least perhaps three times out of ten so I could be confident that should they find their way out for a visit, I don’t have to worry about them starving on the Autobahn somewhere near the Swiss border because they thought they were somewhere completely different when driving back. Is that really so much to ask?

Nevermind. I should just go ahead and warn the Swiss now and save myself the trouble.

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