Definite articles

Whew  I made it back to my room. Traveling outside has become very hazardous, not from enemy fire, but the threat of Article 15s – the military’s “shame shame, you knew better” Uniform Code of Military Justice article.

You get one of these babies for disobeying an order or instruction and usually are given out to soldiers who have a discipline problem and need a wake-up call.

Supposedly our seniors are starting to hand them out like candy – like some gang of traffic cops waaay behind on their ticket quota.

You see, there was a new memo from our command: after a certain time in the afternoon, no one can travel outside without a “battle buddy.” This makes heading home from the office for guys who aren’t blessed with a nine to five “fluff” job an adventure, as I’m one of the last to leave my office.

“Battle buddy,” “fighting friend,” whatever the hell you want to call it, is the Army’s way of reducing what’s called “non-battle injuries.” By traveling in neat pairs anywhere and everywhere, soldiers will, among other things, cease to be raped or robbed or hurt in any way – at least that’s how it’s briefed in meetings.

Ok, ok fine. Instructions received, “just get it done” and all that. Hooah!

So, if I have to use the latrine (down the street), I should wake up my roommate?

What about going to the gym? I’ve tried to ask around the past few days, but people are lazy, so I’m out of luck. Does that mean no exercising for me?

Shoot, I need to take my laundry to the drop-off point…anybody going? Hello? You? How about you? Not today? No? Crap.

I need some money for some toiletries…anyone going to the PX? I need a buddy. You? Going to finance first to get some money? No? Don’t need to go? Ummm, how about you? Shoot.

Take this down to battalion? Um, it’s past the magic time. So? Well sir, that means you need to send someone with me — two in fact, if I need to stay down there, so they’ll have someone to walk back with. Yes sir, I’d love to “just get it done” but…Hooah, getting it done. Roger.

Taking care of personal business just got a whole lot more complicated. So how are the seniors handling it? Oh yeah, they are exempt. It’s just the lower enlisted that has to deal with it, and the lower NCOs that get to answer “why?” every time I stop someone outside.

Look friends, I’m just trying to run my section. If some judicial action has to be taken against me because I was trying to perform my Army mission and do my part in defending freedom, liberty, and “Dancing with the Stars”…well then, I’ll just take my licks.

To the older veterans out there. Has the Army always been this way? How did we ever win any wars?

Between composite risk management worksheets, command climate surveys, equal opportunity gender sensitivity courses, chaplain sessions, mental health awareness training, sensitive item daily checklists, NCO professional development meetings and safety stand down classes…and then the seventeen briefings every week…I just don’t see much time for fighting the bad guys

Heaven help us if we ever fight an enemy that doens’t stop attacking us because it’s nighttime or raining.


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.

10 responses to “Definite articles”

  1. ZNB says :

    Ridiculous. Utterly.

    That is all I have to say.

  2. salmons says :

    Hey ZNB! Missed ya! I’ll be stopping by the site this evening when I have some time, heading off to work now. Oey!

  3. Lopermania says :

    My bad hommie – Had some major personal issues of a “not going to be married anymore” nature trying to drown me – I’m treading water (or something) now. Hooah! Keep it up!

  4. brogonzo says :

    I suppose this ties back into what you wrote about a while back — “Combat Envy,” i.e., leaders in support units creating enough garbage to deal with in order to “justify their existence” or some such. Jackasses.

  5. salmons says :

    Damn Lop, you gonna be okay?

  6. ZNB says :

    Yeah, glad to be back. I’ve been very busy with not being employed lately. I’ve had a hard time getting back into the daily reads. But yours is a must! Hope all is well.

  7. Randy Besick says :

    Yes it has always been like that in the Military. I served from 1974-1980 and really like my job but could not take the B.S., the amount you have to put up with depends on how much of a crisis you are in at any given moment.

  8. Sarah says :

    made me laugh picturing you asking people in the middle of night to go to the latrine with you.

  9. Beka says :

    If you ever get hold of a copy of Bill Mauldin’s Army you’ll see that not much has changed since WWII, but now the BS from brass is delivered post haste, en masse, via email.

  10. salmons says :

    Randy: Yeah, I’m sort of in the same boat. I like meeting soldiers, taking their pictures, writing about what they’re doing for the country and ma and pa back home. The journalism gig is a very unique job…

    But then there’s the other 80% of the time where I’m gritting my teeth at some damn thing. Oh well.

    ZNB: Holy cow, what happened!? You know, the Army is always looking for able-bodied men and women. You and your wife could both join up!

    Beka: I’ll have to check it out. And, yes, the “crap raining from above” has definitely picked up intensity thanks to insta-communication methods and PowerPoint. Ooooh, such neat charts!

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