Saturday, October 22, 2005

Am I my own worst enemy?

Looking back at my time in the army, I wonder if I truly am my own worst enemy.

I know some of the troubles I ran into were of my own design, but some I have to wonder now if it wasn’t jealousy or fear of my abilities.

A few weeks after arriving at my first permanent duty station, I began to hear whispers that I wasn’t quite the new private I appeared to be. Those whispers were wide and varied, by the time I began to hear the rumors, it had grown to: I was at least a Staff Sergeant (E-6), I’d seen action in Desert Storm, and I was C.I.D. investigating drug use in the Battalion. I couldn’t help but think of the stories back home of family who had gone fishing or hunting, the size of the fish caught or deer shot grew with each telling.

This was too good to pass up. One weekend when everyone one pretty much drinking the whole weekend through, I feigned to be one of the many drunken who were stumbling about the barracks. I plopped down in someone’s room and proceeded to give a “drunk confession”. I knew perfectly well that one of the sober people in the room had a guilty conscience and wouldn’t fail to further spread my “tale” further. I got all secretive, tried to swear everyone to secrecy, said I wasn’t an E-6, but merely an E-5(P), and I was C.I.D. sent back through Basic Training for a good cover.

Within days this was through all the barracks, even to the other units who shared the same building. When I would walk through common areas, all conversation would cease and people would be watching me out of the corner of their eyes. I’d seemingly randomly knock on people’s doors looking for someone I knew wasn’t in the barracks, and listen to them scramble to put anything and everything out of site.

I believe this also worried my first Commanding Officer. I’m sure I made him very paranoid looking back at it now, but at the time it just irritated me to be singled out for the crap duties. The harder that CO tried to get rid of me, the more I stuck around. On many occasions I was to be Chaptered out of the army since I didn’t meet the weight for height requirements, that’s a bunch of BS for a later posting. Anyways, he’d always try to kick me out, and just as he’d get the paper work started, my weight packet would disappear and then one day turn up empty.

I had nothing to do with this, several of the company NCO’s were sympathetic to the shafting I was getting and ran interference for me whenever they could. Regardless, I’m sure that for all appearances to the CO I was being protected from up on high.

To make matters worse, after he got transferred to headquarters company, a short while later I was transferred in as well. Was totally unrelated, the unit was short on logistical clerks and since I knew how to use computers and deemed able to learn stuff quickly I got thrown into a vacant PLL spot.

While both that CO, one I’ll call Capt. G, and myself were still in Delta Company, a line unit, we rather butted heads as well. Actually, he tried to make me look the fool in front of the new Battalion Commander one day after shooting gunnery. I turned the tables on him and made him look the fool instead, he couldn’t say anything about it because he knew he’d been caught. He couldn’t even nail me on insubordination, since I was respectful the whole way through, plus I had a higher ranking witness.

My second Platoon Sergeant, a man who I had the unfortunate luck to be stuck as the driver of his Bradley crew, kept trying to pawn his mistakes off on me. His favorite trick was to loan out the vehicle tools and then blame their disappearance on me and try to write me up so that their loss would come out of my paycheck. He could never make that charge stick, I had never signed for the equipment I was suppose to when I started driving track, and was technically responsible for them. I basically called him out on that one day while our platoon’s tracks were in for servicing by the manufacturer.

Our crew’s turret tools came up missing in the post service inventory. He was quick to point the finger at me. I made a smart ass’d remark, which is pretty typical of me, and said it they were probably with this other set of tools which were also missing. He asked where the other set of tools were and I nonchalantly replied ‘I have no idea.’ The whole of the platoon was standing there and witnessed it, including the Lt. If the issue would have been pressed it would have been easy to prove that the turret tools weren’t my responsibility, but that of the gunner. Shortly after that I was transferred to the Dismount section which the Lt ran more then the platoon Sergeant.

There are many more instances where I ran into difficulties, some were my own fault like playing with everyone's mind with my CID remark or someone having some imagined beef with me, but I’ll save those for other posts on another day

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