Hooray for inspections!!

“Paper-work will ruin any military force”
– Lieutenant-General Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller

Our focus of effort most recently has been directed toward an inspection we have been enduring, or more accurately, a Staff Assist Visit (SAV). The purpose of the SAV is to give the commander an idea of how well his  functional areas are performing in accordance with Marine Corps standards. Our CO requested the SAV to ensure he was turning over a good product to his successor.

In my professional opinion, inspections should be welcomed as an opportunity to make improvements and refine how your unit operates. Personally, I hate being inspected with the very fiber of my being. There are some deep seeded personal issues I have with being inspected in general which I will discuss another time.

Mostly, I just loathe paperwork.

One of the principal dangers of getting promoted is eventually the Marine Corps will take your Marines away and give you a desk in trade. This is called hell. According to the billet description on my fitness report my desk centric duties include:

– Senior enlisted advisor to the Company Commander.
– Advise the Company Commander on disciplinary matters for infractions of the UCMJ.
– Instill Marine Corps values, customs and courtesies in the Marines and observe training and morale of the Company.
– Develop the professional and personal lives of Marines through formal classes,
mentoring, and informal discussions.
– Evaluate and provide recommendations on retention, promotion, proficiency and conduct of Marines.
– Accurately fulfill and review all Company administrative matters [the horror!] in accordance with established orders and directives.
– Assist in the development and enforcement of company policies in compliance with those of higher headquarters.
– Provide mentorship and leadership for the company’s officers, SNCOs, and NCOs.
– Alternate Family Advocacy Case Review Committee Command Representative.

According to my old battalion SgtMaj, America’s 1stSgt may be the most administratively inept 1stSgt on Earth and the Milky Way.

In Iraq I would join Marine patrols during the day and at night endured a blistering butt chewing from the SgtMaj over a land line: “I know you’re going on patrols with the Marines and that’s great. But your admin is suffering! Stop going on patrols and get some work done! You know, your REAL job?” I spent the next day indignantly punching my fingers through a keyboard. Stupid admin.

My personal favorite administrative endeavor is rosters. In the Marine Corps we have a roster for everything. Marriage rosters, personnel rosters, school rosters, awards rosters, light duty rosters, legal rosters, barracks occupancy rosters, duty rosters, training rosters, motorcycle rosters, weight control rosters, safety rosters, emergency data rosters, phone rosters, deployment rosters, non-deployment rosters, non-availability rosters, recall rosters, shot rosters, and on and on. If you can conceive of it the Marine Corps already has a roster to track who has anything to do with it. There are various class rosters to prove things like the fact that you actually told Marines not to drink and drive, not to take drugs, not to commit suicide, not to abuse alcohol, and to wear a seat belt. Kill me.

Fortunately the SAV is going well and we are looking forward to being found “mission capable”. I will also have you know there were no findings or discrepancies in any of the areas I was inspected.


Semper Fi,
America’s 1stSgt

/ / / /


  1. Don’t you get some kind of minion? Like a company orderly or something? Another option is extra duty people. Although since they were put on extra duty in the first place, they’d probably just fudge things up.

    Magoo, I’m going to re-read it in the context of roosters, just ’cause its probably a lot funnier that way. 😀

  2. Hello A-1st,

    Paper work does more than sucks sometimes it makes one go “brain-dead”.

    I hate it with a passion so I know exactly where you are coming from…rather be doing something else entirely.

    Miss Em
    Austell, Ga.

    PS Hope the SgtMaj has to eat his words in front of you with NO beer to wash them down. ;D

  3. Inspection lies –
    We’re here to help.
    We’re glad to see you.

    Then there was the IG inspection that started with the OOD shooting the Sgt. of the Guard in the leg while “clearing” his .45…. (1/2 if i remember correctly). Made for an interesting day.

  4. “According to my old battalion SgtMaj, America’s 1stSgt may be the most administratively inept 1stSgt on Earth and the Milky Way.” Strangely, as much as you might wish this were true, I highly doubt it A1S. 2nd or 3rd maybe, but not the most.

    And to follow up on Miss Em’s “brain-dead” comment, we now know how the zombie apocalypse will begin – with SAV. Eek!

  5. applegoat, now days I break pencils in righteous fury.

    Magoo, it wouldn’t be the first time Marines were compared to roosters.

    Saker, I have been quoted as often bellowing: “Isn’t this why I have a clerk?”

    Miss Em, SgtsMaj don’t eat their words. They eat 1stSgts.

    Jim, I cannot even describe the hell that would become the OOD’s life after that.

    Jenny, you have no idea how close we came to a zombie plague outbreak. The crisis was barely averted with copious amounts of coffee.

  6. Top,
    I hate pointless inspections. When I’ve had to be the “Acting First Sgt” I first would latch onto a clerk who knew what forms needed to be sent in each day for pay, food etc.
    I’d rather be outside the wire doing something than stuck at a desk doing admin crap.
    In Bosnia, they fired my team leader (a story I may tell someday–worth reading) and not only gave me our team to take over, but another team that had the team leader removed and sent home early.

    I had 4 hours of paper work (actually done on a computer and sent over sipernet) to do each day.

    But, a very nice new 2nd LT was there who said he’d take care of my admin crap since he didn’t have to drive so far to get to his AO.

    That 2nd LT later went to Iraq with us.
    That 2nd LT is not my company commander–and it’s guys like that that I’d do anything for.

    Did I mention I’m going to retire soon?

  7. Your list of duties seems to confirm what I have suspected – First Sergeants run the Corps! When their COs let them, that is (in case yours reads this 🙂 Just give a good loud (unspellable) roar every now and then … won’t help the paperwork but it’ll make you feel better!

  8. TheNewMagoo…of course Marines are Roosters. The Drill Instructors make certain that they can “strut the walk” all day long. ;D

    Miss Em

  9. Miss Em, you’re not helping! The mental images of a harassed A1S fending off angry poultry with his office chair…
    I imagine the phone rooster may be the worst, delivering a swift series of pecks every time you want to make a call; but the shot rooster could be fun, showing up at the end of the day with a bottle of tequila, maybe?
    I may have had a little too much sun today.

  10. TheNewMagoo…I for one will vote for the “shot rooster showing up at the end of the day with a bottle of tequila” don’t think by then you will need any glasses. Just take the top of and up end the bottle while you are “struttin the walk” down the hall and out the door just before the Company CO walk out of his office looking for you. ;D

  11. A-1st: in my profession (RN) we have a couple of lines – #1: you lie and I’ll swear to it. #2: The patient may be long dead but the paperwork lives on forever and someone will look for it and complain that you didn’t cross and dot all the t’s and i’s. I hate it with a black passion. My heart goes out to you. Even if you have minions it still comes back to you for the chewing out. Just keep breaking stuff.

  12. CI Roller, from what I understand, the Army is even more paper-centric than we are. I have heard of platoon commanders spending all day putting together a power point slide show on the patrol they went on the day prior. Insane.

    DP, if I do that too often someone in Safety would decide that the mega-decibles emanating from my office could affect people’s hearing. Then I’d have a roster of everyone who was on our new Hearing Conservation Safety Program followed by an investigation into who headbutted the 1stSgt’s desk into kindling.

    Red, it’s not that I can’t stay afloat, it’s the paper cuts! The paper cuts!!!

    Miss Em, you will probably not be surprised to hear that in boot camp recruits learning drill are instructed to: “Lean back and strut!”

    And ladies, poultry and alcohol don’t mix. Have you no conscience?

    Lorraine, I can totally identify. Issues that rear their ugly heads again and again usually being with the words: “Hey, do you remember that time…”

  13. Poultry and wine DO mix and I assure you they are delicious…
    As for paper cuts – I work in a print shop and when you get one, the worst thing you can do is to “bleed on the job”, you can bleed all you want, just not on the printed pieces.

  14. Ah, my administratively challenged 1stSgt, you had to have a clerk with a college degree in political science to take care of you and a bunch of Lts with phys ed degrees for you to be able to correct their grammer.

    Embrace the dark side (admin) and you will be better able to take care of your Marines.

    After that go and do unto the forces of evil.

    The SgtMaj

  15. Supply here.
    …so you’ll need:

    1. Paper shredder
    2. 10 boxes of pencils… make that 50
    3. Band-Aids for papercuts
    4. Hens to go with the Roosters (I’ll try to get a motorcycle hen for THAT rooser)
    5. Milky Way bars
    6. Zombie bullets. (try Windex)
    7. Something about fiber and deep seeds… (that can’t be good)
    8. How about we leave out hell and sucicide? …and not kill you.

    Did I miss anything?

  16. Saker has a good idea…you need an extra duty roster to make sure those lazy Marines aren’t doing something productive when not fighting off evil-doers, like sleeping. You should do something about corraling those pesky poultry, too – like a rooster roster. And like a good 1SGT, you should keep track of all the rosters with a roster…

  17. “I want to go blow something up…”
    “Here, fill out this form, in triplicate”
    “I want to go blow something up NOW”
    “Here, fill out this other form, in triplicate….”
    Sounds of paper shredding, teeth grinding, zombies dieing….
    Oops, need to file after action report…..
    1st Sgt, you have my sympathies.

  18. Top,
    The Army now has an “tab” for Power Point commandos.

    I once saw an Army LTC spend 20 minutes trying to get the projector to work (yelling at some poor E-4) just to show two friggen slides that took 10 seconds.

    I started out giving briefings in the dirt or sand, now they can’t do one without power point.

  19. I now work for local gov’t (county health department). Was asked by my boss during last eval what I disliked most about my job. It’s the fact that I seem to spend more time documenting what I do than actually doing stuff.

  20. applegoat, one of my first jobs was in a print shop. Hated it. Could explain my dislike for “paper” work.

    SgtMaj, all the college educated Marines in my company were the dumbest ones in the batch. The longer they spent at a university was in direct co-relation to how many panes of glass they could lick without a break.

    Wrexie, really, just a big box of hugs will do.

    Cleve, I would put you on liberty restriction just for GP.

    Southern, things that used to be taken care of with a phone call and a handshake now take a number of electronically filled out forms a certain amount of days before the event in question even takes place. And don’t get me started on leadership by e-mail.

    CI Roller, it’s stuff like that which makes me say things like: “If the Iraqis had only known…”

    Kanani, give a brother a break. This writing stuff is a part time job here.

    Shay, and here we thought modern technology was going to be our friend. Lies!

  21. Just read this one… and shuddered. Still have the going away plaque the company office gave me, with the plate “Saving the World, One Roster at a Time.”

    Cpl Young

    PS. In typical Gunny Burke fashion, your well-wishing to me was “PT. It does a body good.” Still working on it. 🙂

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