From our perspective at the company level, dealing with higher levels was always such a joy. They wanted two scoops everything we had and gave us a great big bowl of grief in return. We had laptops which operated in slow motion, a VOIP phone capable of reaching no one we wanted to talk to, electronic warfare devices which blocked our own comm, drivers who operated mine rollers like bumper cars, and a growing sump hole threatened to leisurely devour our entire OP.
Here’s a brilliant example of the mindset of someone working in the COC. One of our Corpsmen once called in a MEDEVAC. For the sake of brevity, Corpsmen normally identified the type of patient by telling everyone within hearing the patient was either urgent, priority, or routine over the radio. These three words were supposed to help us all figure out how messed up a patient was and what type of care would be required. This info was passed not only over the radio but also over the computer. Naturally the Senior Watch Officer back at Battalion picked up the VOIP phone, called our company COC and asked questions about how seriously the patient was hurt. What part of urgent didn’t he get? Didn’t he understand we just told him everything we knew? We weren’t actually out there with the squad. Somehow he must have of thought we were dragging all our COC gear with us on patrol and were holding out vital information just to spite him.
One time we reported receiving indirect fire (IDF) from a mortar on our OP. The radio operator at the battalion COC came back with: “Regiment wants to know how you know you were taking IDF.” Once again, Marines had to physically restrain me from screaming into the handset. My CO would not allow me to report the major indicator was the consistency of the crap in our shorts being the same as every other time we took IDF.
Then there was the time the Senior Watch Officer was pissed at our reporting and called our OP demanding to speak to the Company Commander. It didn’t help when I answered: “Sir, we reported him outside the wire to meet with Sheik So-And-So and the Battalion Commander two hours ago. You’re the battalion COC, how do you not know where he is?”
Another brilliant question: “Do you know when you are going to have GSWAN up and running?” I have no memory what the letters GSWAN stood for but it was something which allowed all kinds of other electronic equipment to function. This was particularly amusing since we had no idea what caused it to go down in the first place and our tech guy was feverishly trying to figure out why we couldn’t use Outlook, MercChat, TacChat, etc. My initial response to inform them we’d e-mail the answer as soon as we knew. This was voted down by the CO.
It was questions like those which only confirmed the person asking sported a secretary’s ass, grown large on DFAC dining and did nothing but sit behind a keyboard launching situation reports. And you just KNEW they had been issued a brand new M4 right out of the box while your Marines were firing A4s which had long since turned silver and had more combat time than the Jarhead operating it.
Another interesting occurrence was whenever our patrols made some kind of contact (the shooty kind). Instead of reading our contact report everyone and their mother called us on the radio, VOIP phone, MercChat, e-mail, and by smoke signal asking what was going on. Asking questions they already have the answers to was a favorite tactic of higher designed to make us hate them. If the Marine Corps didn’t keep you pissed off you’d never have enough hate in you to kill when the time came. It’s the only logical theory and I’m sticking to it.
My absolute favorite was when the Watch Officer would ask for details before anything had happened. It was as if higher believed we actually witnessed events unfold right in our COC and kept all the good stuff to ourselves. Maybe if they asked us one more time if we were declaring a TIC (troops in contact) we might actually break down and declare one just so they would shut up about it. My preferred approach was to openly tell them we were keeping secrets.
This is why I have always referred to any COC as the Toolshed. It’s where we keep all the tools. Millennia from now, when we are in galactic conflict with the Space Lords of Gorgalon Prime, I suspect this will still be an unresolved issue.