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Militantly Opposed To Accommodating Scammers

, , , | Right | November 28, 2021

Back in high school, I got a summer job at an amusement park. If you were active-duty military, you and your dependents got free access to the park once a year.

A lady came in with a group of kids and other adults and handed me a FAKE active military ID. The image and information looked legitimate according to my reference sheet, but she had seriously printed it out and badly duct-taped it to a white plastic card. No one with her had a dependent ID, either.

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t accept this ID. I could lose my job for letting in a group of over ten people for free.”

She argued with me. I pointed out that her fake ID was actually illegal, but her attitude clearly told me she didn’t care.

Lady: “If you won’t give me free tickets, I want to talk to your manager, supervisor, or whoever!”

Me: *Gladly.* “Okay!”

A manager, who was in their twenties, came, but the woman yelled at them, too, and demanded a higher supervisor. The supervisor, an older, no-nonsense lady, came out.

Supervisor: “Ma’am, I’ll call security to keep you from leaving and gladly wait here with you for the cops to come.”

She finally left with her group and never came back.

This Husband Must Love Being Deployed

, , , , , , , , , | Right | November 16, 2021

I work in a government-sponsored credit union department. I deal with approving loans and financing credit availability to soldiers and their military families for big-ticketed retail items like furniture, electronics, or fine jewelry.

I’m manning the credit desk when [Military Wife] comes in. [Military Wife] is dressed to the nines, dripping in jewelry, and sporting a designer handbag.

I then look at the three kids she drags in and gasp to myself. They are so dirty! They have food stuck to their T-shirts and dirt on their faces, and their clothes are not laundered and are full of holes. They look like they could be poster kids for child protective services. As the three kids decide that my office is the place to start beating the crap out of each other, [Military Wife] ignores them and approaches my desk.

Military Wife: “Hello. I need to upgrade my credit by $4,000 because I want to trade in my diamond earrings for bigger ones.”

Me: “Let me see what I can do.”

I check my computer. Meanwhile, the kids are very nearly imitating a bar fight, minus some thrown furniture, and [Military Wife] is doing nothing about it.

Me: “I’m sorry but the extension on the credit offered is only for $1,000. Three months ago, we extended your credit by $5,000 and you’ve already exceeded that amount.”

Military Wife: “Oh, it’s okay. Just have them raise it up another $4,000. My husband’s credit is good. That shouldn’t be a problem.”

Me: “I can’t just do that, ma’am. I have to make some calls because they are allowing up to $1,000 only.”

I call the main branch office and am put on hold. During this time, the kids are now hurting each other, if the screaming and wailing are to be believed. [Military Wife] doesn’t lift a finger to break it up, just tells them to be quieter, as the phone call is important for Mommy’s business. She is ignored.

There’s a very loud crash and I turn around and look her in the eyes.

Me: “Ma’am, you need to physically break up your children or I will hang up and call base police to remove all of you.”

She huffs and finally does so, separating the kids, who look like they’ll have bruises and swelling in the very near future.

The main branch finally gets in touch with the husband who is the main account holder and puts him on the line.

Me: “Hello, General, sir, I apologize for bothering you at work, but your wife is here and wants to raise your credit limit another $4,000, and we are calling you for approval.”

General: *Vehemently* “Tell her no! She’s putting me into the poor house! She’s already putting me in debt! The answer is no!”

I explain this to [Military Wife], who is absolutely not having it and grabs the phone.

Military Wife: “Listen, I want those earrings! I need bigger earrings! The answer is yes! I don’t care what you say! I deserve nice things!”

I don’t hear her husband’s answer, but the rage on her face says it all. Discovering that she is not going to get her way, she hangs up the phone.

Military Wife: “Just ignore him. Just raise it up anyway.”

Me: *Politely* “I’m sorry, but since he is the main account holder, he has to approve the credit increase, so my hands are tied. We won’t be able to grant your request.”

Military Wife: “But I’m the wife! I’m telling you to raise up that credit! You can do something!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but no, we can’t.”

Military Wife: “Fine! I’ll take my business elsewhere. There are other credit unions that will grant me an increase.”

She grabbed her sniffling kids and left in a huff. The office was in shambles, and it was a wonder there was no blood anywhere.

Sadly, I’m all too familiar with scenarios like these. I can’t begin to tell you how many soldiers return overseas and discover that their wives (soon-to-be ex-wives) have run up their credit and put them in debt while they were away fighting.

Out Of Uniform And Out Of Line

, , , , | Working | November 6, 2021

This is a story told by my still-living grandpa. In 1942, at the age of eighteen, he was conscripted into the airforce’s Military Police (MP) to guard the perimeter of the airbase being lent to the British, and a few years later, in 1946, after my grandpa was promoted to Sergeant, the British left and in came the Americans.

It was during this time of transition that an unmarked car approached the main gate, which was manned by Grandpa and two young MPs. The driver demanded, in English, to enter. The poor MP that answered first didn’t speak a drop of English, so he called for my grandpa, who by then had a good grasp of it.

Grandpa: “Good morning, sir. How may I help you?”

Driver: “Open the g**d*** gate!”

Grandpa: “Sure, as soon as you show me some ID, your entry permit, and the vehicle’s entry permit—”

Driver: “I’m ordering you to open this gate or I’m getting you court-martialed.”

Of course, Grandpa didn’t find this very funny. He ordered the MPs to detain him for investigation, which they did after a short, insult-filled struggle with the driver that ended when an MP punched him in the eye and knocked him out. The patrol car took him into the MPs’ Station.

After a few hours, my grandpa was summoned to the Base Commander’s Office, where the Portuguese Colonel, the British Colonel, and the driver were waiting. The British Colonel asked, in Portuguese, what had happened. Grandpa showed his report, which was cosigned by Grandpa and the other MPs. The Portuguese Colonel pointed to the driver and said, in English:

Portuguese Colonel: “I want you to meet Major [Driver] of the USAF. He came in advance of the rest of the Americans to help in the transition.”

Driver: “Why didn’t you obey when I gave you a direct order, soldier?”

Grandpa: “You didn’t have authority for it, sir.”

Driver: “What the h*** do you mean?”

Grandpa: “An unknown, un-uniformed man, in an unmarked car, refusing to show papers to gate guards? You’re lucky we didn’t order you beaten.”

The British and Portuguese Colonels dismissed my grandpa. He later found out that they chewed the Major’s a**.

When the rest of the American forces arrived, a sign was posted at the gate that said, in English: “Until you enter, the Gate Sergeant is God. No uniform, no papers, no entry.”

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Strut On Out Of Here And Let Me Do My Job!

, , , | Working | October 6, 2021

When I was in the US Navy, I was a machinist. I operated lathes, milling machines, drill presses, etc., manufacturing parts for broken or damaged equipment. Most of the time, it was fairly stress-free. Machinists work to very exacting specifications — thousandths of an inch — but there’s usually loads of time to get the job done right. The machinist’s motto is, “Safety, Accuracy, then Speed.”

Being the Navy, emergencies of all sorts have a tendency to arise. Since I was the most experienced machinist — and the shop supervisor — I tended to handle most of the emergencies, though my apprentice machinists frequently helped.

One night while the ship was at sea, the storm we were travelling through damaged one of the control struts which stabilized and adjusted one of the ship’s critical communication antennas. That particular antenna would no longer track the satellite and compensate for the ship’s movement to stay focused on the satellite. This particular communication system belonged to the Admiral who used my ship as his flagship, so repairing the strut was a top priority. I therefore got rousted out of my bunk to make a new control strut. One of the ship’s electronics specialists met me in the machine shop with the equipment manual so I could figure out how to make the part. We started getting dimensions from the manual and comparing them to the broken strut at the workbench in my shop when someone started hammering at my door.

All Admirals have a cadre of staff officers to handle administrative issues, and these officers are often extremely senior Captains and Commanders (O-5 and O-6) who get assigned as Staff officers to train them up for possible future promotion to Admiral. In many cases, the senior officers in an Admiral’s staff out-rank the ship’s commanding officer. 

When I opened the top half of my shop door, the Admiral’s Chief Of Staff (CoS) — a very senior Captain (O-6) — started bellowing at me. He was a Flight officer, the type who looked down on anyone who wasn’t a Flight officer. He was also a graduate of the Naval Academy and was known for believing all Enlisted personnel were thieves and liars while having little to no idea how the nuts and bolts of the Navy work. He’d had run-ins with ship’s force enlisted personnel several times in the six months or so he’d been aboard. I am a Machinist First Class Petty Officer (E-6), and the Staff officers are not in my chain of command. Despite the Chief Of Staff’s rank, I do NOT work for him. 

Chief Of Staff: “The Admiral’s comms are down! You need to fix it! Now!”

Me: “Yes, sir. I’m working on it.”

Chief Of Staff: “Well, hurry it up, d*** it!”

The Chief Of Staff stormed off in a huff, which was probably his favorite mode of transportation. I closed the shop door again and got back to making a working drawing of the strut I needed to make, with help from [Electronics Specialist], also a Petty Officer First Class. We hit a snag right away, since the manual specified the strut must be made of a particular grade of stainless steel we did not have on the ship. [Electronics Specialist] and I chose a similar grade of stainless steel I did have in stock, and then he headed up to his office to start filing a “Departure From Specifications” report while I started cutting stainless bar stock to the proper length on the shop band saw.

I suddenly heard a thunderous hammering on the shop door.

I shut off the saw and opened the door, only to find the Chief Of Staff outside. Before I could say anything, he started bellowing again. 

Chief Of Staff: “What the h*** is taking you so long? The Admiral’s comms are down!”

Me: “Yes, sir. I’m working on it.”

Chief Of Staff: “You’re not working fast enough! That antenna is critical! Stop f****** around and fix it!”

Me: “I’m cutting the material right now, sir.”

He let out an incoherent bellow, followed by a foot-stomping exit.

I shook my head and left the top half of the shop door open, then went back to cutting the bar stock. I mounted the metal between centers in the lathe and got started roughing the dimensions for the strut. Suddenly, I heard more bellowing at the shop door. Note that the lathe where I was working was visible from the shop doorway, and it had only been about ten minutes since the last visit by the Chief Of Staff. I finished the cut I was making and then shut off the lathe and went back to the door to find the Chief Of Staff having a prolonged hissy-fit.

Chief Of Staff: “Aren’t you done yet? This is a critical system, and it’s completely useless until you fix it! What is taking so d*** long?”

Me: “With all due respect, sir, every time you come here and demand an update, it makes the job take that much longer because I have to stop working in order to tell you I’m working on it.”

Chief Of Staff: “You can’t talk to me like that! I’m a g**d*** captain!

Me: “Sir, every minute I spend talking to you is a minute I can’t work on manufacturing the strut. I was actually manufacturing the strut on the lathe when you arrived. I had to stop making the part in order to talk to you.”

Chief Of Staff: “Work faster! This is for the Admiral!”

The Chief Of Staff stomped off down the passageway. Instead of getting back to work, I walked down the passageway to Central and had the watch-stander get the Chief Engineer out of bed to deal with the Chief Of Staff. After explaining the problem to the Chief Engineer, I went back to my shop and got back to work.

After a bit more than an hour, I finished the part and called [Electronics Specialist] to come get it. I carried the finished piece over to the doorway to wait for him and was surprised to find the Top Snipe — the most senior Chief Petty Officer in Engineering — sitting in a chair outside my door. For those unfamiliar with Navy ranks, Chief Petty Officers are senior non-commissioned officers (E-7 to E-9). They are the institutional memory and the backbone of the Navy, just as senior Sergeants are for the other services. Even Admirals cut Chiefs a lot of slack.

Me: “Hey, Chief! What are you doing out here?”

Chief: “Running interference for you. The Chief Of Staff tried to come hassle you about the antenna strut a couple of times after you talked to [Chief Engineer], but I sent him out to the mess deck to wait.”

Me: “You’re kidding.”

I poked my head out the door and looked. Sure enough, the Chief Of Staff was pacing back and forth in the otherwise empty mess deck, glaring down the passageway toward the shop.

Me: “Cool! Thanks for the help, Chief. Job’s done, and I’ve already called [Electronics Specialist] to come get it.”

Chief: “Not a problem. Don’t worry about any blowback from the Chief Of Staff; Command Master Chief and I will have a word with the Staff Leading Chief Petty Officer before breakfast. [Chief Engineer] says you can skip Quarters in the morning. Go ahead and sleep in until you relieve the Central watch for lunch.”

Just Don’t Be A Military Brat

, , , | Right | CREDIT: ISpilledMyWine | September 30, 2021

Three girls come into the restaurant where I work.

Girl #1: “Do you have a military discount?”

Me: “Absolutely! We do, and it’s 10%.”

Girl #1: “Okay, cool. Thank you!”

I take their order and bring out the food. Later:

Me: “Before I drop off the checks, can I see the military ID so I can apply the discount?”

Girl #1: “Yeah, hold on just a second. And also, it’s actually my dad’s. Is that okay?”

Ummmm, what? No?