- August 17, 2009
The Plates Are Spinning!
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!