Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Absurdities of military life- photographic evidence

I have figured out one of the reasons we're not getting much done out here. Let me rephrase that. I've figured out why it takes us so long to get ready to come out here. The photo is exhibit A. I did "soldier readiness processing" (SRP)- a multiple day exercise where all personal documents are checked and updated. This is a good thing- wills, life insurance, pay, medical records, etc- all checked out. As part of that, they make sure you have your ID tags. So we went through this process last September at Hunter-Liggett. When asked if I had my ID tags, I replied "Yes, I have mine, I don't need any more." I still have the pairs from when I went through BASIC training back in 1992. We went through the same exercise again in November at Hunter Liggett, and I gave the same response about ID tags. And in January in Camp Parks- same response. Then a week later, again the same process, this time at Ft. Riley. Then one more time at Ft. Riley before we left. 5 SRPs. Each time I told them, "don't need any more ID tags, thanks."

There was a day about a month ago where I decided to take some time to dig through the pile of official documents and papers I had accumulated during my travels from the US to my current Numaniyah location. And I found my SRP packet. I thought to myself, wow, this packet is heavy- I know it can't be heavy because I have a hefty dossier full of all my black ops and Delta force missions, because, well, you don't document black ops, and I've never done anything in the military anyway.

So I opened it up, and Exhibit A is the explanation for the heaviness of the packet. 14 tags and 4 or 5 chains. I've got so many ID tags, I've attached one to every one of the boots I have out here right now- that took care of 8 of them. I don't know what to do with the other 6 just yet, and won't appreciate any rude recommendations that I know some of you have about where to put them, related to lack of sunshine and whatnot.

If you know me, you can imagine how mature and well-behaved I was as I went through these 5 SRP sessions, all doing the same thing, all representatives I worked with ignoring whatever I told them about my pre-deployment needs. They must think in their heads, "Silly Major, he thinks he doesn't need these tags. Poor deluded fellow- all that education has left him addled. We'll fix this and get him the ID tags that he so desperately needs to bring peace and security to the troubled citizens of Iraq!"

It is always a pleasure to feel like someone is listening to you, like in these SRP sessions, when you say "I don't need x." And you get it anyway. Service with a smile.

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