When all is right

Salmons when not on mission.

Salmons when not on mission.

“Item 46 is red for the moment, sir–”

“We working on that?”

“Yes–yes sir, we’re on it.”

“Okay, next slide. Good. Okay. Okay. Next. What’s that there?”

“The red item?”

“Yeah, what’s the deal?”

“We’re working through that issue.”

“Okay, it better be at least amber by tomorrow.”

“That concludes my update if you don’t have any questions.”

“No, that’s a good update Jeff, thanks.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good evening, sir, I’ll be giving your <blaaaaaaaaaah> update.”


“No changes on this slide.”


“As you can see here, we’ve moved up to green on items three and seven, and moved up to amber on item 14 and 23.”

“Good. Okay. Okay. Got it. What’s that there, why is that still red?”

“Our guy reported one down today, sir.”

“He getting it?”

“Yes sir, should be green by tomorrow.”

“Good. Okay. Okay…”

And so it goes, for hour after unending hour. Three colors exist in our world: green, amber and red. Green, of course, means all is good with whatever line on a chart means whatever. Amber means all sorts of things that fall short of green–working on it, en route, almost done, etc. People in charge get all bent out of shape since amber is not quite green. Green is good.

Then there’s red. Red means bad, off line, doesn’t work, pretty much anything that is the antithesis of green. Heads roll at the sight of red. Red is unacceptable. Lord knows what item 342 on slide 9983, 12-hour tab, S3 operations is; but by God it’s red, and that’s not cool.

A full public-affairs shop has an officer who goes to these things and keeps the administrative monkey off of the enlisted backs. That way, the journalists can focus on journalising rather than aligning the stars of heaven above to squeeze out a green dot next to each item on someone’s PowerPoint presentation.

But we don’t have a full shop, we don’t even have half a shop, we have two people: my section sergeant and myself. Thus, there’s a better than nil chance that one of us is at every one of these sorts of daily update / briefing / presentation things.

It takes time away from our actual work, standing in line to say “all green” 40 minutes into a briefing, just to sit down for another 40, and then to get ready to repeat the process at the next meeting an hour after that.

Yet, our lack of manpower falls on deaf ears. No biggie, we survive. Our unit motto is “Just get it done.” So you can see how the highers feel about requests for assistance in trying circumstances.

“Just get it done!”

“Sir, we can’t–”

“Just get it done!”

“Sir, in the physical universe that we live in, it is impossible to–”

“Just get it done!”

“Hooah! Good training. On it.”

I find the whole thing comical, and take it in good spirits. Seeing the field-grade officers stutter and scramble for notes at the slightest behest or request from the big man is hilarious. When it comes time for the little ol’ enlisted man to give the CO his info, there’s no quivering.

Hell, I’ve been on the streets of Iraq in a cloth-top humvee, what’s a PowerPoint presentation compared to that?


About salemonz

Born in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.

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