From the Soldier side: I just read "America's First Sergeant" blog for today. Many times when he rights about something, it jars my memory of some stupidass thing that I experienced on one of my deployments. Today's post was about some Marines flying home from Iraq on a civilian charter flight.
I have developed a coping skill for the times I have to deal with stupid. There's stupid and there's ARMY STUPID. I think the Marines have a slogan to match, but the Army spends more money on new slogans. The way I usually deal with Army Stupid is, I tune out. I shut off part of my brain. If I can, I'll read a book or take a nap. Often you can't take a nap because we'd have some dipshit who's job it was to make sure nobody fell asleep and missed whatever dumbass thing we were doing....like waiting for a flight.
I have wasted more time standing, sitting or sleeping in a line for some Army thing than some people will waste in a lifetime. But, some of the things we have done were so friggen' stupid, that most civilians would think I made this shit up.
In 2003 when we were done with our months of useless training to go to Bosnia, we were at some reserve Air Force base waiting for a civilian charter plane to come in and take us away. We had loaded all our gear that we'd need for the next 7 months onto pallets that were loaded into the belly of the plane.
Then, whilst we were waiting, a senior sergeant made an announcement: "Since this is a civilian charter flight, you are not allowed to carry the following items on board- 1.) Knives, 2.) Matches or lighters, 3.) Box cutters. If you have any of these items, you will have to discard them now."
I thought this was very funny. Here we were in full army uniform, going to Bosnia and we were the only people getting onto this flight. We were all carrying some kind of military firearm. Some had M249 SAWs, some had M16s, most of my group had M9 pistols. They said nothing about discarding our military weapons.
I had a lighter and my $170 Emerson folding knife. I was not going to throw away my Emerson knife...they could kiss my ass. I slid the knife deep into my pocket, and pulled out my lighter so I could show I was giving up something.
When I asked about the firearms we were taking on board, the senior sergeant just gave me a dumb look....and had no answer.
I have several "Army Stupid" stories.
When we returned from Bosnia, we were coming off of Active Duty. So we had to get new ID cards to reflect that we were going back into the National Guard. They had hundreds of soldiers going through a site that had one person making ID cards. I waited in line for 10 hours to get a new ID card. The Army finally got smart with all the deployments we're doing...now we're all issued an ID card that just says "ARMY" and we don't have to change when we go on and off active duty. Every once in a while, the Army does something right...but they have to screw up many other things to balance it out.