Catching up

Nov. 9th, 2005 09:17 pm
pecunium: (Default)
[personal profile] pecunium
This weekend was drill. In it's way drill is one of those things which never change, and are never the same. Sadly I am moving up in the world, which means more paperwork. As a middle manager I have to do annual reviews of some of the NCOs junior to me. In the active side of the house this isn't too hard. I'd get to see them every day. Once a year we'd sit down and go over expectations and how to achieve them. Once a quarter we'd review them, and see how much progress was, or wasn't, being made. Once a year I'd write it all up.

Some of it would reflect on me. If my expectations were out of line the senior rater can talk to me, and the reviewer can backstop him.

On the Reserve Component it's a little different. We only see each other once a month (and in my unit I don't have the advantage of a two-week Annual Training to try and squeeze some observational time in, because we do our ATs one at a time).

Last week I got told I had two to do. One of them on someone who has been away for ten months, and I've been away for the two he wasn't. Great. When I got to drill it turned out I had to do one more, and that one on someone whose in his fifties, and used to outrank me. Fun.

That wasn't the high point of the weekend. I suppose the high point might have been the fellow who stopped me to ask a metaphorical question about coercive interrogation (no he didn't know I was an interrogator, he just saw PFC Jones and I in uniform; on a coffee run. One of the perks of rank is being able to draft help. I didn't want to drive, and needed two more hands to carry things, so I grabbed the nearest private. I had practical motives as well, since I needed to teach him how to run a guidon, so there was a justification for choosing him, but the power is there. Ah, what abuses I could practice!).

He probably got more than he bargained for, what with illustrations running from Vietnam, to Louis XIV and all sorts of points in between. Had we not been in uniform, and such a situation come up, it might have been a shorter catechism on my part, but I wanted him to have this in his mind the next time the subject came up.

Or perhaps it was the Army Physical Fitness Test I took Sunday morning.

I hate PT tests. Even when I don't have questions about passing the damned thing, it hurts. Two minutes each of push-ups and sit-ups, followed by a two-mile run. All of these done to muscle failure. One (at least this one) hurts for three to four days after.

To make it more fun, I've not been in training. Seriously, between my general dislike of exercise for the sake of exercise, and the Reiter's, I've done damn all. Used to be I had a notable fraction of an acre I was gardening. I walked the dogs a couple of miles, at least every couple of days. I rode the horses more. No longer.

The closest I come to real exercise is baking bread.

To pass I needed to do 38 push-ups. I had to do the same for sit-ups, but so what. Push ups are my bête noire. If I can pass them the rest is a done deal. Given my slight frame, long arms and lack of upper body mass, push-ups kill me. The most I've ever done was 44, and that was when I was in the best shape of my life. A regular workout 4 times a week, followed by 3-8 miles of running.

I more than half expected to fail.

Push-ups: 44
Sit-ups: 61
Run: 14:23

The only thing I can credit for the push-ups is the baking. I've been kneading a lot of bread, and when I had Maia checking my kokyu (because I was trying to incorporate one of the most important aspects of my aikido into some of my regular routine) I noticed my lats are more developed than I tend to think them.

Before I cut this off, and get to the food porn, some quizzy-goodness.

You scored 17 in Malice and 27 in Chaos!
You are the Kitsune, or "Fox demon," the ultimate doer of mischief. Kitsune belong to a class of demons known as "Henge," or animal shape-shifters, along with the Tanuki, or badger-demon. They are uncanny creatures who are notorious as much for their malevolence as for their wild and unpredictable behavior; a fox demon may help a human, only to betray him in deepest consequence at a later date. Kitsune are known to frequently possess women or pose as humans, causing chaos and catastrophe where ever they go. They are mischievous creatures who take great pleasure in playing terrible tricks on unsuspecting mortals; however, this behavior indicates that they are more perversely playful and apathetic to human suffering than genuinely evil and desirous of harm.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 44% on Malice

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 57% on Chaos
Link: The Japanese Demon Profile Test written by Maharbal on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

It seems appropriate, mostly.

hit counter

Date: 2005-11-10 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He probably got more than he bargained for, what with illustrations running from Vietnam, to Louis XIV and all sorts of points in between. Had we not been in uniform, and such a situation come up, it might have been a shorter catechism on my part, but I wanted him to have this in his mind the next time the subject came up

You rock. That is all.

Date: 2005-11-10 01:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd have given him a practical demonstration of coercive interrogation, except I find a kick in the bollocks usually offends.

They asy RHIP, personially I find it doesn't. What it has is this frustration that I *should* be able to do something but finding for whatever beurocratic nonesense reason from the "chain" that I can't. As a Lt I could have dispatched someone to grab me a brew, as a Maj I'd be looked on as daft for even trying. The best power I have though is to be able to select who I want under my command and RTUing people I don't. I used to have to put up with knobbers and oxygen thieves and try to make them half way decent soldiers. I have had some horrifically bad NCOs in my time as well as some brilliant ones, the difference is that where I used to have to fight to get rid of someone now I can just send a memo to MCM(Div) and have them gone in a matter of weeks. Similarly I'm also the 2nd RO now to all but my 2ic which means I get to say what I think about people in the pen picture rather than just doing the SMART objectives in the OJAR or CR for the NCOs. I'm in the same boat as you though with some NCOs as I never see them. I just tend to put that in the pen picture and then request through MCM that the OC of the Sqn/HQ they are working in to add a supplinmental comment as to performance and grade their suitability for promotion if they have had more experience of that individual than I have.

Date: 2005-11-10 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, you're right. I could no more have sent PFC Jones to get my coffee than you could send a squaddie to fetch a beer. On the other hand, as a Specialist, I'd not have been able to just strip him away for 40 minutes.

As a middling NCO (I could get a platoon to run, but there are a lot of other Staff Sergeants) I get to speak my mind a lot more than I did as a private. Having known a lot of the officers I work with for a long time helps.

I keep thinking about putting up a Warrant packet, in part because I'd get to shape doctrine more than I do now.

Date: 2005-11-10 01:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
On the Army's fitness report (efficiency report?) do you have the option of checking "Not Observed"? That's an option for Marines, because sometimes a Marine will spend all or most of a reporting period outside of the observational area of whoever writes their fitness reports. A NO fitness report provides a neutral administrative space filler. Ideally an official letter from whomever the Marine was really working for will eventually show up to be placed alongside the NO report.

Date: 2005-11-10 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I tried. The phrasing for us is, "Soldier was not present during this period and could not be rated." The problem is he was present, sort of, and so (for that period at least) we have to rate him.

But even if I'd been there, four days isn't enough time to get a solid enough impresssion. So I'll have to do a middling one; no dings, no bells, and just let it be.

Since he isn't going to be up for promotion this cycle, we can figure it all out (since there's an NCOER from his deployment out there) and get it in order when/if we get around to trying to promote him.


Date: 2005-11-10 03:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You do aikido? That is cool - one of my SOs, [ profile] lynnal does aikido, up until recently at aikido club ( at the University of Minnesota.

(a complete aside, simply due to your comment about aikido catching my eye; I would've also liked to have heard what you had to say about interrogation, but that's for another comment.)

Date: 2005-11-10 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you want the gist of it, google "Terry Karney" Interrogation, and that will hit a lot of it.

This was a lot more genteel than that, as he was (I think) being sincere, as well as polite. It isn't often I get to range so far and wide on the subject, but the causes for the Hague and Geneva Conventions came up.


Date: 2005-11-10 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. (I went and tracked down your comments, and the comments of others, and found it all to be very illuminating.)

Right now I am teaching a Honors seminar, "War and Society" - and I discovered a couple of things right away:
- the topic is simply far too big to cover in a 1-credit class (and it was unrealistic of me to think otherwise),
- my students - who are honors students - simply have no idea of what war is or has been, so they have great difficulty engaging in critical thinking about it.

We got into the deep end of the pool this past Tuesday when I brought up war and morality. Besides reading the first chapter from Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars (which barely scratches the surface of the topic), I also had them read the Melian Dialogue from Thucydides and "They Make a Desert and Call it Peace" from Tacitus' Agricola.

Discussion was slow, but they seemed to get the idea that collectively, we just might have a responsibility to each other for the things done in our name. (If I had more time with them, I'd probably bring out Hannah Arendt, but I didn't.)

We'll see.


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