30 July 2009

Talking about how to lead!

From the Soldier side: Well, I'm still here at this Mess Kit Repair meeting at Ft XXXX. We've been discussing in detail how they should be training the new Soldiers on Mess Kit Repair. I forgot how much detail, how many different Field Manuals (FMs) Army Regulations (ARs) and other documents there are that we are supposed to know.
There is actually a person in the meetings who is writing one of the new ARs on the MOS. The way it was explained, the people putting the ARs together are not talking to the people who write the FMs. The best way I can explain it is: Lets say you are writing the manual on the actual Mess Kit. But, since you have a college degree, you feel that the title of "Mess Kit" is out of date. So you and a committee spend years trying to come up with a new title....like "Field Dining Kit".
But the people who write the manuals on the tools to fix the "Field Dining Kit" still refer to them as Mess Kits, because that's what they've been since Jesus was a corporal. And the tool people write in their manual that you should use a ball peen hammer to fix a damage Mess Kit.
Now, the people writing the manual for the Field Dinning Kit, think you should use a claw hammer to fix a damaged kit.
Now, give both manuals to an 18 year old in training and let them figure it out....keeping in mind that they don't know anything.
And....we had to discuss all this for 10 hours a day and some people would never shut up....and they were in leadership jobs...most of the time they were just trying to show everyone how friggen smart they thought they were....but, in most cases, I could see they could never fix a Mess Kit...
Now, thinking back to Baghdad in 2005. We had Teams that went out and did Tactical Mess Kit Repair. So, to get to the "customers" they had to roll out in M1114 Up Armored Humvees.....and drive all the way across Baghdad...then back. On one of these teams was a Master Sergeant (E-8). He could have easily sat in an office and "managed" from a desk. But...not only did he go out with his team 5-7 days a week... he was in the lead vehicle (Victor) standing on the M-249 SAW machine gun.
I talked to him about this a few times....I told him I thought he was too valuable to be going out, much less on the gun in the #1 Victor. He told me: "I won't have my people do something that I won't do...and this shows them I can do it. Besides, they're all kids....would you trust them on the gun?"
Good point. Good leader. Good man. I was lucky, I worked with a lot of heroes.
I got to see one of those heroes at Ft XXXX this week. He has a few stories...maybe I'll tell them when I get home.


Opus #6 said...

Aww, he's a good leader, for sure. The best leaders don't put themselves above their people. And by earning their love and loyalty that way, they are lifted so much higher than pettiness could ever do.

"A man is never so tall as when he stoops down to the level of a child".

coffeypot said...

The best way to screw up anything is to have a meeting. The only good thing that came out the meetings I had to attend was the refreshments on the table next to the wall.

CI-Roller Dude said...

Coffeepot, No refreshements... there was supposed to be, but I guess somebody didn't get that memo.

A man or woman soldier is never so tall as when they stand in the gun turret in a hostile place. Yes, I had female soldiers in the gun turret.

Red said...

"since Jesus was a corporal" I love it! I am so stealing that! This Master Sergeant sounds like a great leader...

Kanani said...

You don't mess with names like "mess kit." Tell those eejyits that this writer of over 20 years says that when you say mess kit a different image comes to mind.

Field Dining Kit: a tent set up by British colonials, a table of English China, some camels outside, a boy to bring in the food, cigars, port brandy and well... Lawrence of Arabia.

What they're proposing is like changing the name Atticus Finch to George Smith.