Friday, April 9, 2010

Leavin' On a Jet Plane

It's that time again: I'm goin' to be a ramblin' man.

I'm heading out tomorrow on that wonderful flight from Okinawa to the land of real Mexican food, Southern California. It's a two week course that I have to attend, and I get a week of leave on the back end of it.

While I'm looking forward to the trip, I'm not looking forward to the trip. Traveling is, by its very nature, a pain in the ass. Some folks love living out of a suitcase, and shuffling through airports; most don't. I'm with the majority on this one. There is certainly a part of me that loves the adventure of the journey, otherwise I wouldn't be in this line of work. Mostly, though, international business travel is a hassle.

I will, however, get to see family, and even a friend or two. That will be nice. I enjoy the scenery of coastal California, as well. I'll miss my wife and kids, but that's part of the package.

See you on the other side.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Endless Supply of WTF

Some of us have the luxury of observing things and asking, "WTF?" It's easy to overlook the fact that other folks have to actually participate in the WTF. The sheer stupidity of the WTF often overshadows the plight of those subjected to it.

Here's an example: Shortly before Christmas last year, I saw a unit running down the road in formation, with every Marine wearing a Santa hat. They were wearing typical "green on green" PT clothing, with the addition of a freakin' Santa hat. They all looked absolutely miserable, except for the CO, who was leading the parade of WTF. This was a fine example of epic WTF that I was able to observe, while others had to actually participate in it.

There are many WTF moments in the Marine Corps; that's just the nature of this line of work. I believe this is the result of a couple of factors. First, stupid people get promoted too. Some guys, and gals, get promoted for reasons other than their leadership abilities; there's no denying that. They can be complete idiots, but because they score high on the PFT, they get selected over a peer for promotion (or they excel in some other particular area other than leadership). Instant WTF generator! Imagine the dumbest kid in your high school class, and then imagine him or her in charge of 100 employees. Can you imagine the WTF moments that would ensue?

Next, some leaders, particularly in the officer ranks, don't give a flying f^ck about the Marines in their charge. They spend their entire careers trying to generate comments for their own fitness reports, and scurrying to cover their asses. When something bad happens in their unit, they implement the most idiotic and useless measures, just so they can say, "This is what I did to fix the unfixable." If they can generate enough items to put on their fitness reports, they get selected for promotion. Yet another WTF generator.

Don't get me wrong; there's no shortage of great leaders in the Corps, but there's also a growing supply of bad examples. This is saddening in the worst kind of way.