Monday, September 29, 2008

Making Changes

I had written a previous post about my time as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island. One of the commentors asked what it was like to transition back to "normal" duty after that. I thought I might delve a little bit into that.

Serving as a professional jerk has its drawbacks. It was extremely difficult to turn that behavior off when I came home at night, but it became a little easier as my tour went on. There are various jobs, or billets associated with DI duty. There's the Drill Instructors, the Senior Drill Instructor, and the Series Gunnery Sergeant, which used to be called the "Series Chief." As I moved up the food chain to SDI and Series GySgt, my role changed.

The SDI is not as much of a sadistic madman as the regular Drill Instructors, and that has a very important reason behind it. While none of us wanted to see recruits get abused, I'm not naiive enough to think that it never happens. Having an SDI that the recruits feel will solve their problems can have a positive effect if there is a DI that is stepping over the line. Recruits will come talk to the SDI about it, instead of someone at the medical clinic, the chapel, an officer, etc. This gives the SDI the opportunity to solve the problem, without officers getting involved. It also makes the evening transition at home, and the transition back to the fleet, a little easier.

Moving another notch up to Series GySgt is even better. I did one cycle as the Series GySgt (I was only a Staff Sergeant at the time), and my only real job was to run PT in the mornings, and supervise the DIs and SDIs. I wasn't the one training recruits, and I was able to ease the tension a little bit.

Both of those jobs made transitioning back to the FMF (Fleet Marine Force) a little easier. Another element that made it more practical, if not easier, is having a family. My tour as a DI was very hard on our family, and I didn't want to lose them. It was absolutely imperative that I make some serious changes, or I probably would have lost them.

There was one other factor that helped me. I, and probably every other Marine that has been around for a while, have worked for, or with, those Marines who are prior DIs, and that never seemed to take off that smokey bear. I don't particularly care for that at all, just as most subordinates don't. I knew that I would probably lose the respect of my subordinates (and peers?) if I didn't change my leadership style. You simply cannot treat Marines like recruits.

In a nutshell, it was a little difficult, but I had some help. I still can't believe that my wife put up with me through all of that, but I suppose that it made our marriage stronger. Between that and deploying, I think we could get through just about anything now.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

More Japanese Signs

So does spelling! The crime "preventic" didn't work too well, since somebody stole the 'N.'

I saw this today while out geocaching, and I couldn't pass it up.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Vacation is Over

Well, my couple of weeks of "vacation" are over. I thought that I had more stuff going on while I was off of work...until I returned to work.

Young, male Marines are dumb; there's no getting around that. Some of the young, female Marines are just as dumb. Get them together, and you've got a recipe for MP involvement. Sheesh. Was I really that dumb when I was their age?

My current battalion commander has decreed that all alcohol-related incidents will go to his level for punishment...maybe he didn't realize that this policy will simply serve to squash even more incidents. Oh well; I get to "counsel" even more young Marines now...hehehehehehe. I have a shovel, some sandbags, and an imagination.

Being back at work is strange, but silly decisions by those "above" me have made it even stranger.

I alos received a nice email from a liberal Democrat. She told me that she disagreed with my Commander in Chief, but supported me and my fellow troops. I was impressed with her email. It was very nice, and counter to anything I have ever received from any liberal. I wish she was running for office, vice Obama. Perhaps if liberals believed, or made public, what she does, they'd get a lot more traction.

Until Monday, stay safe and shoot straight.