Even after they leave, Soldiers can be useful.
Case in point: My Branch Manager is highly elusive. He is a very nice guy on the phone, but very busy and so if you don’t catch him with enough time to accomplish the entire task needed before the conversation is over, it may not get done. Good luck getting him on the phone, too, because most of the time that involves dealing with his full voicemail box, his unread email inbox, and usually calling at an obscene hour. Luckily, his obscene hours fall in the middle of my day, so that helps, but nevertheless he is a wily one, ducking and dodging phone calls even better than a warrant officer can dodge a full day’s work. The difference is that Branch Managers control assignments and reenlistments, making them fairly important people with whom we start to get fairly frantic in our attempts to get in touch when threats of Fort Gordon loom in our possible future.
So we found that if we call another lady who works down the hall from him sometimes we can convince her to transfer the call over if she knows he is in the office. It isn’t very nice, and it very obviously annoys her to no end particularly after I let the secret out to a few other people in my position who now don’t even bother trying our Branch Manager’s real number anymore. Today one of the warrants tried to get her to do it and she finally told him no, call in half an hour, and don’t call her. I took that as my cue to get hopeless for ever getting the class date I need to get promoted or get an assignment that doesn’t involve me contemplating just how far I could get if I squeezed out the window and took off across the lawn towards anything looking like freedom, what with freedom being particularly hard in both Korea and Georgia, the two current threats. I needed the class and no one but Branch could put me in. I had to find him. Now.
I started to lose hope until my warrant came up with a plan: Call the other lady and pretend I had a Soldier who would fall into her realm, one who is our sister job and a sergeant or below. I told him she looks them up by service number and name, so I couldn’t just make one up. My head fell into my hands… and then he mentioned my previous Soldier.
My previous Soldier hates the military. We get along fine, particularly now that he is gone. He periodically sends me emails and even calls to tell me that he understands now all those days I threatened his well-being and why I did all the things I did. He would kill me, rightfully, for what I was about to do: put him on the Branch radar for re-enlistment.
I did it anyway. He is not happy with his current assignment anyway, so what is the harm in asking about options that would send him back to this hole? I called as a favor to him, of course, and was therefore most upset that I would have to let him down by telling him that he was not able to move again for at least another year, maybe even more. Bummer (and something I already knew). But hey, while I have her on the phone, could she transfer me over to my own Branch Manager?
By the end of the day, I had a class date. Not the one I wanted, but a class date that might keep me in the running for promotion even if at the bottom of the list because of the late timing of the class.
Every Soldier uses and abuses his NCO. It is what we are here for, really, while we are accountable for that Soldier and he falls within our realm of influence. But once they are gone, it is fair game to take their names in vain and potentialy bring retention’s persistent wrath upon them. He is an NCO now, which means he can now attempt to employ some sort of retribution against me, but he also thought Hugo Chavez was from Russia for awhile so I am not that concerned. I’ll thank him for putting up with my abuse, albeit unwittingly and from halfway around the world, one last time when I next see him.
All I know is I have a class date and I don’t have to go to Georgia, nor do I have to call that lady again and have her catch wise and ban me from calling as she banned the warrant earlier today. I already have a long list of places I am not supposed to call; I would hate to have to start a new page.