Gone to D.C.
Several times a week, there’s this meeting called a “stand up,” where the executive officer, the staff officers and me, the staff sergeant, sit around the table in the conference room and explain to each other what projects we’re working on. It’s a strange attempt to prove why we’re needed and why we should be left alone.
Each of us takes our turn going in to detail on the various little projects we’re working on. For the past–oh, I don’t know, eight weeks, I’ve been telling the XO (second in command) that I was leaving on March 28th to go to Fort Meade, Md., near D.C., to attend training to correspond with my new rank.
This Monday, however, I guess it finally clicked.
“Sergeant Salmons, when do you leave again?”
“The 28th, sir.”
“Yes, Wednesday, sir.”
I didn’t think much of it at the time.
Once we adjourned and retreated to our respective hovels, I worked for a few minutes before I had to run down to the command group and give the secretary something. My plans were to hunker down, hammer out the story I owed my journalist higher-ups, finish a few sundry fringe projects (picture CDs for various people, posters for the hallways, etc.), then crank out the colonel’s thesis on logistics (all told, would be around 15 pages when finished). I had been working on it for months, but always was side tracked and redirected with new projects. The big man was getting impatient, and I needed to get it finished.
I was walking by the XO’s office, on my way to the secretary.
“Yes, sir?” I stopped and poked my head in.
“Did the S1 tell you that you were tasked to do the change of command invitations and program?”
“I was about to, sir,” the S1 chimed in, walking down the hall to the XO’s office.
“Oh, ok, well Sergeant Salmons, you have the program and invitations to do. By Wednesday,” the XO explained.
“Ah, alright. Can do, sir,” I was always so, so eager to leap into another project.
The brigade change of command was scheduled for May. It was a chance for the whole lot of us to get spiffied up in our Army Combat Uniforms, march out to a field in formation, and be arrayed in our finest drill and ceremony to astonish and delight the outgoing and incoming commanders. Some of us would be spared the parade. I, for example, would normally be taking pictures–save for this time being tasked to narrate the ceremony, making my normal media-escort duties a little tred upon as I am the sole member of my shop.
As we inched toward May, all manner of gifts, rehearsals, and general hoo-ha would consume every officer gunning for promotion, which, in turn, would consume the lives of those under them. Most Soldiers can’t stand ceremonies like change of commands.
For reasons like this new program and invitation gig. I was supposed to research the unit, find what streamers we have been awarded through the ages; compile a biography of both my commander and the incoming commander; and wrestle with PowerPoint to alter the atrocious template for the program itself.
“Oh and the colonel needs you to write a speech for him to give during an inactivation ceremony.”
Lovely, a speech too.
With Monday spent and my new assignments gained, I set out on Tuesday to try to chip away at the beast of work. Never mind the fact that I still had to get things ready to leave for D.C. You know, things like paying the rent, making sure my mail was taken care of, bills, all that sort of business. Tuesday was one of my lower days in a long time. By the end of it, when I dragged myself out of the office around 2130 and headed home to pack, I was dead tired.
And that’s where I am now. Worn out. Not just physically, but all the rest of the “allys” as well. I’m leaving in a couple of hours for D.C. I’ll write more when I get there. With luck, I’ll be able to recharge and regroup, before the bastards find a way of reaching me there, too.