Yeah the work might be repeated, but it’s the people who get thrown into the puzzle each day that you really have to watch and enjoy…or not.
One of my “Other Assigned Duties” in both professions was to get people to laugh when they were stressing out. I was the “Combat Comedian.” (this is a duty that you'll never see in the books.) In so many cases, some of my best humor was wasted on people who simply lacked the intelligence to fully comprehend the fact that we were often surrounded by some of the funniest shit anybody could ever imagine. Paid comedians couldn’t possibly make up shit this funny.
Of the dozen or so times I was on some little camp of FOB in Iraq and we came under mortar fire, I always tried to get people to calm down by getting them to laugh. In civilian police work, there’s almost nothing that could be as totally –cked up as having people you didn’t even know trying to blow you up….so I find almost no stress in police work these days.
At my last “AT” a few weeks ago…the “General Order #1” was put out: “NO DRINKING” until the end when we would have a EOATP (End of AT Party).
So one of the things I did each afternoon when our company commander (a truly great person) was in the orderly room…I’d walk over to the company refrigerator and open it and say: “hey, can I have one of these beers?” There was never actually any beer in there...
He would always look with an expression of great concern. I have a great deal of respect for this man, so I enjoyed getting him to laugh.
The last day of AT, they loaded the fridge' up with lots of beer.... then my joke wasn't funny any more....so I had to change it to: "Sir, you need to get to rehab."
In the Army there are many old traditions. Sometimes I say: "The US Army, 200 years of tradition unchanged by progress." One very old tradition is when a brand new officer gets his or her first salute from an Enlisted or NCO soldier, that officer is supposed to give that soldier a silver dollar coin. This is a great honor for both the new officer and the Soldier. In all my years in the Army, I have never had this honor…until this last AT. And it was not just me saluting a new LT, but I was the first to salute a brand new Warrant Officer. This is even more special because all of our Warrant Officers (we call them “Chief”) were former NCOs.
The “Chiefs” went through more crap to become a Chief than any brand new LT.
Not only did this Chief give me a Silver Dollar, but it was a real silver dollar from 1901! This tradition met so much to this Warrant Officer, that he went out of his way to find a real silver dollar. This is one of the most special things I will remember from the Army.
I was also “Coined” by our new Battalion Commander, who I had worked with in Bosnia, then later went to Iraq, but didn’t work with her there. A soldier is given a Coin for doing something cool etc.
Honor, Respect and Duty. More on these thoughts to follow at a later date.