Literally Working Smarter, Not Harder

, , , , , , | Working | March 16, 2021

At my first duty station for the Navy after boot camp — a yearlong training program with very demanding classes eight to ten hours per weekday — in addition to classes and other duties, we had physical training three times a week. Periodically, there are also command runs. I hate running with a passion. I will do any other cardio to avoid it. Sadly, we have a commanding officer who wants us to do command runs monthly.

My collateral duty is being the division yeoman, keeping track of our training and paperwork. This included signing everyone in for command runs. Our division leadership wants us all to do as much college work as possible because a combo of college equivalency exams (CLEPs and DSSTs) and our weekday classes could become an AA degree. This seems pointless for me since I have a BA already, but I realize fast that this is a wonderful new way to avoid command runs; we are excused from the runs to do our tests. As a divisional yeoman, I am one of the first to find out about our new schedule each month, so as soon as I see the schedule, I schedule myself a CLEP test that “happens” to coincide with the command run.

My division leadership probably realizes what I am doing, but since I am passing the CLEPs, they don’t care. But I have a PT leader shipmate who takes personal offense to my avoiding command runs. One month, I notice that the command run is scheduled for a day that is a holy day in my religion. I check to see what my options for fulfilling the religious obligation are. The only way I can do it would be after class, at the same time as the command run. Of course, I have to inform my division leadership about why I am missing the run. As luck would have it, the PT leader shipmate is in their office, too. The conversation goes something like this.

Shipmate: “Let me guess. You’re scheduling another CLEP so you can’t make the command run?”

Me: “No, I can’t make it this month because it’s on a holy day in my religion and it conflicts with the only time I can make the observance.”

Division Chief: “Okay, not a problem. Do your thing.”

Shipmate: “What religion are you anyway?”

Me: “I’m [Religion].”

Shipmate: *Smirking* “So am I! What’s the holy day?”

Me: “It’s [Holy Day]… so I guess I’ll see you at the service?”

He looked very surprised. And I didn’t see him at the service. Also, I transferred to my next command with fifteen classes worth of CLEPs and DSSTs!

1 Thumbs

I’ll Hold Him Down While You Punch

, , , , | Working | March 9, 2021

When basic military training begins, conscripts have to go through something called Confinement Week, which is actually two and a half weeks of staying in camp without the ability to leave. We all have to live in the barracks. Needless to say, the first week is exceptionally grating, as everyone tries to live with a dozen other strangers with their own bad habits.

We’ll either emerge from that as brothers or emerge wanting to murder each other. Alas, for my section, we emerge wanting to gut each other.

In particular, two of my sectionmates get into a feud during this week: [Sectionmate #1] and [Sectionmate #2]. They’re assigned the same bunk bed.

On our second or third night, [Sectionmate #2]’s alarm starts blaring and [Sectionmate #1] wakes up. He gets up and starts his morning routine, only to check his phone and realise it is three in the morning. He angrily shuts off the alarm and goes back to bed.

Later in the morning, [Sectionmate #1] confronts [Sectionmate #2].

Sectionmate #1: “Why did you set your alarm for three am?!”

Sectionmate #2: “Oh, I wanted to wake up at three am to go pee, so I set my alarm to wake me up.”

That night, the same thing happens. [Sectionmate #2] forgets to turn off his alarm and winds up waking [Sectionmate #1] again, and a few others this time. And the same thing happens again the night after that, which really makes [Sectionmate #1] cranky.

He forces his bunkmate to turn off his alarm in front of him and another two guys, all of them confirming that the alarm is deactivated.

On day seven, [Sectionmate #2] is confronted again, as his alarm keeps going off at five am, which is an all right time to wake up, but he never wakes up, forcing us to turn his alarm off for him. It doesn’t help that his alarm has the worst, and I mean the WORST sound. His response?

Sectionmate #2: “Ah, but it wakes you guys up. And you guys always wake me up, so it’s doing its job!”

We had to pull [Sectionmate #1] off of [Sectionmate #2], which wasn’t easy, considering that he was the biggest guy in the section. It didn’t help that everyone was tired of the alarms waking them up, so half the stronger guys didn’t help, and the other half only helped so that THEY could assault [Sectionmate #2].

Amazingly enough, those two made it through the remaining eight weeks of the nine-week training without a murder.

1 Thumbs

This Is The Army, Major D**k

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 2, 2021

I’m going to meet my sister at a restaurant, and I have a service dog. She’s responsible for keeping me company for panic attacks and PTSD, which was brought on by my time in the military. It’s a time in my life which I normally don’t like to talk about, but it’s important to know for this story.

I enter the restaurant, and the hostess tells me that it will be a few minutes before a table opens up and I am welcome to wait until then. I notice a few people looking at my dog. My dog is a golden retriever, not particularly aggressive or unpredictable; normally, she’s a ball of sunshine. But today, someone decides to be rude about it. 

Man: “Hey, there’s no dogs allowed, buddy.”

Man’s Wife: “Honey, it’s a service dog. They have to allow them.”

Man: “This guy isn’t blind or deaf! He doesn’t need a freaking dog!”

Man’s Wife: “[Man], service dogs do more than help the blind or deaf. They can help with seizures, blood sugar, and so many other things.”

Man: “Hey, buddy, what do you have? Why do you supposedly ‘need’ a service dog?”

Man’s Wife: “[Man]! Don’t be rude!”

Me: “I served time in the army. I fought in a war. I have panic attacks and PTSD because I saw so much death and destruction and was forced to kill two men to save my own life and that of my squad members.”

I could feel myself starting to get worked up. My service dog laid her head on my leg and whined, and I took the pills my doctor prescribed and petted her until I calmed down. By then, my sister had arrived at the restaurant, and the man looked properly abashed. His wife told me that her husband was a major d**k, and that I was a hero and I was the reason why he was allowed to be a major d**k.

1 Thumbs

Black Hawk Rising

, , , , , | Right | February 26, 2021

In 2006, while deployed to Iraq, a Black Hawk helicopter went down and the people on board were killed in the crash. Every year since then, my dad and some of the people who were deployed with them have had dinner at the same restaurant in honor of them.

It’s 2020. The waitress has been working there for years and has served this group before. As she’s setting up a table, a man at the bar stops her and makes conversation.

Customer: “Hey, what’s going on?”

Waitress: “We have a large party coming. They’re regulars and come every year.”

Customer: “Oh, what’s the occasion?”

Waitress: “They all are or were a part of the army. They have this dinner to remember friends they lost in a deployment in a Black Hawk crash.”

Customer: “Oh, wow. Here. Take this and put it towards their tab.”

He handed her $100. The waitress told the group about what happened when they showed up and everyone pretty much had drinks for free!

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for February 2021!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for February 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for February 2021!

1 Thumbs

Excuse Me Whilst I Delete My Twitter

, , , | Working | February 17, 2021

I’m a new member of the special forces in the military. Which unit and which country, I won’t say.

We’ve just passed the gruelling training course and this is our first day on the job. Our commanding officer, a one-star general, calls us to a conference room and begins giving a speech to us. The first part is the usual “I’m proud that you passed, welcome to the team, and I have high standards, but I expect everyone to be capable of meeting them” speech. 

General: “And now, for the important part. As Sun Tzu said, ‘Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will prevail.’ Now that everyone here is a certified [Special Force Unit] member, I will brief you on our true enemy.”

Everyone leans forward in anticipation.

General: “This is an enemy that is invincible. Omniscient. Unbeatable. At best, we may scrape out a draw. I want each and every one of you to take this to heart. The only way to win is to avoid fighting it. Keep your heads down and pray that it does not notice you.”

A ripple of shock and fear goes through the room. The general is speaking with such conviction. He believes that this enemy is invincible; that is rather surprising. We start trying to anticipate which country it is.

General: “Yes, you all know which enemy I am referring to. It is our nemesis. The bane of our existence. It is…”

He takes a deep breath. The room is utterly silent. Everyone is frozen, rapt with attention.

General: “Social media!”

Silence reigns for ten seconds.

Me: “What?”

General: “I am serious. This is the one enemy we cannot shoot dead — the one we can’t beat.”

He started up a slide show showing all sorts of fellow soldiers in compromising positions, beginning a lecture on the importance of good PR, behaving well, not doing anything, even when off duty, that could compromise the image of the corps. He reminded everyone that the walls not only have ears, but they have eyes, cameras, and microphones and proved that one civilian with a smartphone is enough to cause major budget cuts and extra regulations.

1 Thumbs