13 October 2008
NO BETTER FRIEND, NO WORSE ENEMY
From the Soldier side: So...to continue with my story of the bad LT... this story made me think of the motto our National Guard battalion Sergeant Major came up with for the Iraq deployment... something about..."fit to fight."
I started asking: "Who's Fit to Lead?"
This new LT we had in Baghdad when I returned was really becoming a pain. The first day I reported to work in the office (I was on 3 weeks light duty for a little boo-boo I had) she showed up before the teams were getting ready to roll out and she had no idea what or where they were going. The senior NCO in the office tried to help her out, but she began yelling at him-- in front of all the troops. This is something that is just not done...you never belittle someone in front of everyone else...and you never do it to your senior NCOs! I was quickly learning what kind of idiot she was. She wanted to call off the missions for the day because she had not gotten herself up to speed as to what we were actually doing....
She had just arrived in Iraq...the rest of us had been there for 7 months...some of us had been to lots of bad places and done lots of things...and here she was brand new.
My only fear was that she would get someone killed. That's something you don't want to do...do something to get one of my people killed. I'll never forgive you if you do.
After the teams rolled out my first day back... I was alone with her in the office. There was the Palace lake near by...a few cess pools....several canals and creeks...a person could fall into anyone of these places and never be found.
The LT started yelling at me...I looked at her and very calmly said: "Mam, you really have no idea what you're doing do you? If you want help, I'll help you...I can be your best friend...or...."
She didn't know how to respond. She did stop talking... then she asked me what I had done during the deployment so far.... I told her.
PS-- I heard a bit on the news yesterday..about the ALASKA National Guard returning from Iraq and they were not set up to help their troops after the deployment. The news made it sound like that was the only friggen state that's had that problem. When our CA guard unit returned in Nov 2005, I asked how we go about getting enrolled into the VA for medical treatment, etc.... Nobody knew. I asked lots of people and it took over a year after I returned before I found out how. Our full time leaders in that unit were no longer worried about us when we got home... They were Not Fit to Lead. So, all I can say to the troops from ALASKA...don't think you're the only orphans.