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  • August 17, 2009
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The Plates Are Spinning!

This is what it looks like when you are trying to prepare everyone for a retrograde back to planet Earth; “responsible retrograde” that is.

All kinds of fun things happen during this portion of the deployment. We have meetings to discuss the outline of the next meeting and perhaps go over a course of action to determine how best to review the score of courses of action available for us to responsibly retrograde a battalion of America’s finest.

One of the things I deal with is manifests. Hooray! This is when we put together rosters again and again and again because they are always incorrect. Imagine Mouseketeer role call but it just won’t ever end. It makes you want to punch Mickey right in the liver.

“Look SSgt, there are two Taylors in the company. One is a Sailor and the other is a Marine. Two, count’em, two. Please don’t make me kill you right here.”

Then after the roster is validated EVERYONE wants to make changes for various reasons. Some of them are even legitimate.

“Well, I was hoping to get LCpl Oxygen Thief home in time to catch the season premier of So You Think You Can Dance. Is that going to be a problem 1stSgt? That’s a weird vein on your forehead.”

In the meantime nothing else has really changed as we continue to conduct convoy security missions throughout Al Anbar; Corporal’s Course is in full swing; Martial Arts Instructor’s Course is judo chopping its way to graduation; Marines all want to submit marriage packages; and my blood pressure sets Olympic records daily.

As numbing as dealing with these subjects are wont to be, nothing kills as many brain cells as dealing directly with Marines and their issues, especially during times of radical change like deployment and redeployment.

Heard in the clear right out of the 1stSgt’s mouth:

“Killer, I don’t care if you think you can declare it as a war trophy. You are NOT bringing an Iraqi chainsaw back to Hawaii with you.”

“So uh, you spent $1000 on that wide screen television at the PX uh? Ummm…really think it’s going to fit in your sea-bag stud?”

“No, no, no, they are not going to let you bring the crossbow you constructed out of fly-swatters through customs.”

“Brain surgeon, you may not mail your body armor home so you don’t have to carry it on the flight back. You might need it between now and then, ya’ think?”

Then there are the litanies of briefs that have to be given multiple times to prepare us for the big environmental change from combat zone to tropic Hawaiian beaches. These include driver safety, DUIs, professional conduct (what we like to call the Don’t Be A Dumbass Brief), alcohol abuse (where I explain to the Marines that all the alcohol in the United States isn’t really going anywhere so they don’t have to try and drink it all as soon as they get on deck). Post Deployment Health Assessments need to be done so Medical can identify Marines who have suddenly grown a prehensile tail.

Most important is the Warrior Transition Brief where we discuss what to expect when we get back home. You’d be surprised how things change in seven or more months. Marines need time to rest and reacquaint themselves with family and children. Proud fathers will suddenly discover that they prefer handling IEDs to poopy diapers.

The really fun part is that we are still months away from redeploying home!

Sigh…

America’s 1stSgt

/ / / /

18 comments

  1. During times like this are you allowed to carry loaded firearms on your person? I can only imagine the self-control you must have. And you save it all up and download it on Hope! Be careful, 1st Sgt. You are messing with dynamite, there. You piss her off and your supply of brownies will mysteriously stop.

  2. Oh, 1st Sgt! I probably shouldn’t laugh at your frustration but it does make me feel better to know that someone has a more tedious job than I do!

  3. Wow. They can’t just let y’all all get on a plane and fly to Hawaii? Like anyone who is supposed to go ISN’T going to be on the plane?

    Sounds like a lot of crap you’re dealing with. Hang in there.

  4. Geeez. If I’d only known you had dancing Ninjas, I could have recorded the whole summer season of So You Think You Can Dance for you. You know, for Friday movie night or something.

    What? You mean you meant that comment as sarcasm?

    Oh. OK then.

  5. I don’t suppose a camel ride would help that weird vein on your head…no, I didn’t think so.

    Ohhh, but you make it all sound so funny. You’re not “karate-chopping” those marines in your stressed-out state, are you?

    Ohhhh…I can’t I stop laughing picturing it…

  6. Nah, John…no worries, :)…He’s gone Paleo, B hasn’t had brownies in weeks. Come to think of it, I recently cracked open a package of them I kept here for whatever reason and for about the same length of time it takes to send them there and man they were awful, so he’s suffered enough. Sorta.;)

  7. C’mon 1st SGT – someone’s got to handle the paperwork and the B.S. – how would your fine marines find time for camel rides if you didn’t make sure all their stuff was squared away?

  8. Coffee, who says I save it all for Hope? Lance Corporals spontaneously combust just walking past my office door.

    Red, taking care of Marines is not tedious but it can get frustrating. As long as I take care of them they will take care of the mission.

    Southern, you’d think right? However, without supervision there will inevitably be someone or something missed. Never underestimate the powerof stupid.

    Travis, sarcasm? I’m not sure we allow that in the Marine Corps. J, no karate chopping; just straight punches to the throat.

    Hope is correct, although I favor the Primal Blueprint more than Paleo which are both similar. I have managed to resist brownies and cheesecake all month!

  9. Ah, the fine days of moving around. I can still remember my “Pre Deployment” days…
    I had several suggestions for soldiers we “should not take with us” because they just suck up O2 and eat food etc. They served no useful purpose.

    On both deployments, we took all the dead weight with us anyway…After about a month, I heard the “zeros” saying things like: “gee, maybe he was right, we’d been better off not bringing Private Snuffy with us…he’s just waisting O2 and food.”

    Then they all got in the way when we tried to board the “Freedom Bird” coming home….they slowed down the lines because they kept loosing shit, they wanted the good seats, they got in the front of the lines for out processing…they got in the front of the chow lines…they just got in the way.”

    I’m so friggen happy I can retire soon. Then when some O2 bandit gets in my way, I’ll kick them in the ass.

  10. Well, methinks the prehensile tail might come in handy for say… a drunken rush away from a hoard of monkeys chasing you through a jungle.

    You never know when that’s going to happen.

  11. CI Roller, easy brother. Steak and a beer will make it all better. Haveone for me.

    Akelamalu, you would be amazed at what Marines can concoct in theirspare time. Actually it was a 2X4 and fly swatters.

    Kanani, fortunately drunken monkey rushes will not have to be dealt withuntil we get back to the land of the free. Prehensile tails? Childsplay.

  12. Paxford, we haven’t seen the camel around in a while now so you neverknow.

    Trudy, I don’t think the deployment has been THAT long.

    Becky, some days it amazes me that we are all able to find our behindswith both hands.

  13. “Wow. They can’t just let y’all all get on a plane and fly to Hawaii? Like anyone who is supposed to go ISN’T going to be on the plane?”

    Trust me, it is much, much better the way they do it now.

    Of course I don’t recall coming back, just waking up from the arms of the Angel of Morphine and being back. My buds who one minute were sweating, shooting and being shot at, took a Huey ride, jumped on a plane and several hours later stepped off to people calling them baby killers and spiting on them.

    Yep, it’s much, much better now.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas
    USA

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