Saturday, December 27, 2014

One of the things I dealt with very briefly

 while I was in the Army was a French officer that was sent to us as an observer.

We were in a field problem one time and I was told to take my people and set up guard posts covering a pair of intersections. I did this and returned to the battery to let the powers that be know I had done this before returning to the intersection I was going to take charge of.

I had actually been briefed by the Battery Commander personally on this. He was annoyed we had been given the job. C Battery was a lot closer to the intersections. When I was looking at the map I pointed out that there was a Cav unit closer to the intersection than we were.

When I suggested we ask the Cav unit for emergency backup the BC looked at me and grinned. "They have their own field problem seperate from ours," he said. "If you want to swing by and try, go ahead but I doubt they will. Then again, maybe they will on paper if we promise not to actually call them. I'm not officially okaying it, though." 

I ran into the Battery Commander first and walked up to him where he was talking to the French officer. When he saw me he turned to me and asked me how I had made out.

"Everything's gonna be OK, Sir," I said. 

The French officer turned to me and said, "Sergeant, you seem pretty confident in yourself." It was sort of a condescending tone he used.

"That's because I'm a noncommisioned officer in the United States Army, Sir. When I say something is going to be OK, it is. If it isn't I make it OK."

The BC grinned and said to the Frenchman, who seemed taken aback somewhat. "You have just met Sergeant Piccolo."

The BC turned to me. "Presumably you have fallback positions, and escpe route for your guys if you are getting over run?"

"That too, Sir," I said, "They won't get over run. There's a cav unit about three clicks away and my people have their frequency. Their quick reaction force is keeping their ears open."

He looked at me and grinned. I think he was surprised the Cav unit had agreed to help. "I see.  How do you figure this is the way to go  and how did you arrange all of this? This officer is an observer and would probably like to know."

"We both know that C Battery should have logically gotten the responsibility for the intersection. They're closest.  We got screwed. What's new? They it dumped on us for whatever reason. The Cav unit is actually closer than we are. I drove over to the unit and spoke personally with their S-3 and he agreed," I answered.

"And how did you convince the major there to add your two guardposts to their list of responsibilities?"he asked.

"I pleaded to his sense of history, Sir," I replied. "I told him I preferred the cav looking over our people to our battalion QRF because the United States Cavalry has an unbroken record of never being too late to save the day."

 "God! You said that to him? How cliche," He laughed. "That's pretty good. Who gave you permission to go over to the cav unit?" 

"You sorta did, Sir," I replied. "You told me to insure the safety of the position and I did."

"And, of course, you figured it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission," he said, dryly.

"Sir, I don't believe I have to ask for permission to insure the safety of my men," I replied. "We discussed this."

"No. That you don't," he answered. "Hey, how did you get past their guards, anyway? You didn't have a password."

"When they challenged me I told them to quit the dopey  GI crap and take me to S-3. I'm from another outfit and I don't give a rat's ass about your stupid password. They took me to S-3."

He turned to the French officer who looked totally confused with what he had just heard. "That is what Sergeant Piccolo meant when he said that if something isn't OK, he'll make it OK. I generally try and push responsibilities down the chain. Most of my guys are pretty good. Some are astounding. I have to keep an eye on Piccolo, though. Sometimes he does things a little too well." He turned to me and gave me a look of approval  and smiled.

"Go get something to eat and then draw chow for your people. Real food this time. I'm tired of hearing about your hillbilly squad eating rattlesnakes, raccoons and porcupines," he said. 

"Yes, Sir. Real food," I replied, grinning.

I took my leave and tried to figure out why the BC had acted the way he just had. Then it occured to me. The French Officer was with him. He was putting on a show.

A couple of days later when we had returned we were cleaning up the vehicles and the BC sauntered over. He pulled me aside.

Good job on handling the guard post detail," he said. "That French officer was a little on the arrogant side. You floored him when you told him you contacted the Cav S-3 without orders to do so. Apparently France doesn't trust their people as much as we do."

"I didn't do anything unusual," I said.

"No, you really didn't," he said. "That was what I thought was interesting about it. I gave you a basic job and you did it. Then again, I guess France doesn't trust their people as much as we do."

"Did you really have him believing we ate porcupines on field problems?" I asked. The BC laughed outright.

"Yeah, I did," he confessed. "I couldn't resist. I told him your squad would eat anything that walked or crawled."

"A couple of hours later PFC Gashion almost stepped on a rattler," continued the BC. "He pulled his blank adapter off his rifle and blew the snake's head off. Top was nearby and said, 'Don't eat that! Take it to the mess hall and tell Sergeant Waffing to save it for Piccolo's squad'!"

"Top said that?" I asked.

"Yeah," said the BC. "I don't think Top has a whole lot of use for the French, either. He said to just let them keep thinking we're a bunch of cowboys."

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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