Your taxes at work

Yesterday was an excellent Marine Corps day.

Upon arrival to the shop, I knew that there wasn’t going to be anything work-related for me to do. My section (repair) didn’t have any gear to work on, so I decided to report to my Platoon Sergeant, Echo Five Bravo, and inquire as to how to complete the annual training I know I have to do (but have no idea how to get started on). At the same time, Echo Two Hotel and Echo Three Sierra arrive, and we are told that we need to go north to Camp Foster and check in with IPAC (impenetrable military acronym – they are some kind of admin office) and fix our CAC (Common Access Card, or our military IDs) cards (yes, CAC cards or Common Access Card cards) so we can log into the computer systems in our lab. Afterwards, we are to come back to Camp Kinser and go to the education center, as Hotel and Sierra have to undergo some classes in preparation for a HMMWV (highly mobile multi wheeled vehicle, aka the humvee) training course they’re enrolled in for March. I was supposed to get my annual training underway.
In case you haven’t been able to tell yet, I get a huge kick out of military acronyms on my blog. Kind of gives you a sense for how ridiculous things can get if you stop and think about them.
In any case, we hop on the bus (Marine Corps Base Smedly Butler encompasses pretty much all the bases on Okinawa; however, the bases are strewn all across the island and separated in parts by local cities. Recently the Marine Corps set up a bus system to transport Marines between bases, and the bus from Kinser to Foster takes about 40 minutes one way) and begin our glorious misadventure. The bus only lets you off in one place, towards the top of base at the PX (post exchange, aka, large retail store) and IPAC is on the lower side of base, a good fifteen minute walk (or more, we didn’t really keep track).
So we get to IPAC and explain our situation to a motivated Lance Corporal, who directs us to another IPAC (what the fuck, there’s two IPACs?) further up the hill that is better equipped to handle our particular problem. We go there, explain our situation to a demotivated Lance Corporal, who curtly informs us that he is unable to help us as it was Camp Kinser that fucked our situation up. He’s too busy to offer any assistance and has us leave. (Keep in mind that this situation has been several days in the making – phone calls to the Camp Kinser IPAC bitching and moaning, phone calls to the NMCI (Navy Marine Corps Intranet) bitching and moaning, with everybody pointing fingers at eachother but no one offering a workable solution). Laughing the whole thing off, and with an hour to kill before the next bus, we go back to the PX and I buy a video game.
Fast forward forty minutes later and Echo Five Bravo hops on the bus as we pull in front of our lab. We’re about to tell him ‘have we got a story for you,’ when he says “You guys aren’t going to believe this, but…” Sounds like something amazing is about to happen!
“So I got a call from a Gunnery Sergeant, and APPARENTLY, when you guys were back in JRC (Joint Receiving Command, if you recall from previous entries) IPAC fucked your shit ALL up and you aren’t even currently assigned to our unit in the books. In fact, as far as anyone looking at the paper trail can tell, you guys are still assigned to Camp Foster. Sooooo, what this means is, I need you to go BACK to Camp Foster and have them fix your shit.”
Outstanding.
So we take chow, eat, hop back on the bus to Camp Foster, go back to the first IPAC building with the motivated Lance Corporal, explain to him our new situation, get deflected to a less motivated Lance Corporal in the same building who “isn’t equipped to handle this situation” and shows us to a slightly more motivated Lance Corporal who looks at our orders a little more closely and decides that he, too, can’t handle the situation either. However, he directs us to the second IPAC a little further up the hill (where we were earlier this morning) to the TAD (Temporary Additional Duty) department, where we find an extremely motivated Lance Corporal, backed by a jaded Staff Sergeant, who eventually handles our problem in a matter of three minutes (for all three of us). All he needed was our social secuirty number and two numbers from us – our RUC (no idea) numbers for the units we belong to.
Fantastic.
We get back to the shop just in time to do nothing. The only thing my section had to do (my section consists of myself, my section head, and one other Marine – let’s call him Douche) was an inventory on our section’s toolbox. It didn’t even need to be finished: our section head would have liked for us to just START on it, if nothing else came in to the shop that day. Nothing did come in, and all Douche had accomplished for the day was float one piece of gear (takes forty minutes to do, tops – you take a broken piece of gear and trade it out for the same piece of gear, only this one is working, and float will fix your broken piece for you to trade out at a later date) and complete one MCI (Marine Corps Institute distance learning course – a personal growth item, which, in the opinion of this Marine, should only be done once your other duties are completed – that also only takes forty minutes to an hour). He had the whole rest of the day to touch the inventory, but he didn’t.
So, there you go: that’s how your taxes are being spent in the military. (Why the FUCK is admin so god damn worthless? Holy shit.)

Why we have battalion duty

This is a story from a few weeks ago that I intended to write but never got around to. 

The battalion has been on our asses recently about getting stupid random shit done – shit like annual training that nobody takes seriously (including Information Awareness – ie, don’t send classified information over the internet, don’t be an idiot, etc). We had to go down to the admin section at battalion one of these days to do some more pointless work (we filled out an information sheet that contained really basic stuff – name, rank, date of birth, social security number, and then made up some “security statements.” I have no idea what this for mwas used for) and it took way longer than it should (as these things always do).
We (being myself and Echo Three Sierra) were standing in line with Echo Four Papa, who has proven to be a pretty humorous guy. Sierra and I keep mostly to ourselves, eavesdropping every now and again when Echo Four says something fantastic. He is mostly speaking to Echo Four Alpha, so we have little reason to butt in. It comes up that Sierra, in the typical fashion of getting fucked for being the new guy, has to stand duty at the battalion office the next day.
Standing duty at the battalion office sucks. Really bad. You have to get dressed up in your Service Bravo uniform, which means you have to make sure you look shit hot. Your ribbons have to be just right, the creases on your shirt needs to be perfect, your trousers need to be pressed, and your shoes need to reflect the glint in your Sergeant Major’s smile, because you can bet your ass he’s going to look you head to toe to make sure your shit looks good. Did I mention that duty at the battalion is a 24 hour post, with seemingly no purpose? This becomes the focus of my discourse with Sierra – exactly why the fuck do we stand duty at the battalion?
It is common for senior personel to inquire as to either your purpose on base (going answer according to the Sergeant Major that briefed us upon arrival: to defend Japan. I would have naturally answered to be a ready response force for any conflicts in the Asian region, but whatever) or your purpose for standing duty. I jokingly tell Sierra that he should respond in classic boot Marine fashion, with POPPER – “The purpose of my duty is to preserve order, protect property and enforce regulations, Sergeant Major!” He thinks I’m being a douche, but I was kind of serious.
Again, there seems to be no reason to stand duty at battalion, but Echo Four Papa is there, and it’s his job to know more than us, and he’s kind of funny, so why not ask him. His first response is, “Well, you see…” Before he could get into his story, Sierra and I laugh. We can tell this is going to be good.
“Someone, who will remain unnamed – cough Echo Nine Papa cough – thought it would be an excellent idea to leave the battalion building completely unsecured after he left at midnight one night. Furthermore, as if leaving the building unsecured wasn’t enough, he decided it would probably be wise to leave the fence around the perimeter wide open too. So the battalion CO decided that a duty needed to be established just to ensure that the battalion was secured every night – because Echo Nine fucked up.”
Well, isn’t that a doozy? But wait, it gets better! The reason we have to stand it in our Bravos is because some junior Marine fucked it up, and the CO decided to punish everybody. Stellar! Furthermore, it is now the duty’s responsibility to field day (non military readers: clean to white-glove inspection standards) the entire battalion headquarters also. Smells like horseshit!
So that’s why we stand battalion duty.

Minor update

I’m going to try to be more of a regular updater. For those not in the know, I recenty found a lady friend with whom I am very smitten; however, as many of you may know, this is unfamiliar (and sometimes ancient) ground for me that I try to tread lightly upon. I often have no idea what I’m doing and completely wing it. Hopefully she finds that endearing. Haha. [[EDIT 13 MARCH 2009]]: Boy that ended quickly, hm? My experiment in being less discerning redoubled my belief in not lowering my standards.

Took the Myers-Brigg test again recently and read a write up that really seems to nail me, so here you go:

INTJ 
introverted-intuitive-thinking-judging

Has personal mission 
Logical 
Introspective 
Highly independent 
Innovative 
Decisive 
Critically analyzes 
Concerned with organization 
Driven by inner ideas and possibilities

INTJs are people who look at the system, critically analyze it in logical, impersonal fashion, and then become truly driven by inner ideas and possibilities to bring order to the organization, whatever its form.  Not easily discouraged, all things become possible, including what other types would consider to be impossibilities. 
 

The complex is an intriguing challenge to INTJs and their unique systemswide insight permits them to solve puzzles and to develop unique and creative solutions to problems that perplex lesser souls. 
 

INTJs are deeply reflective and meditative personalities, seeing “the patterns” within disarray and setting things “aright”. 
 

INTJs are perhaps the most misunderstood of all the types.  It is widely assumed that they are “self-confident” – or arrogant – when, in fact, they are “systems-thinkers” which demands that one think impersonally.   They are, therefore,  concerned with “the whole” and not just one facet – which, unfortunately, sometimes is the boss’s or someone else’s feelings – the personal.  They are shocked, and rightfully so, when they discover that they are assumed to be arrogant for being impersonal.  Although they are independent thinkers, they are not intentionally uncaring, nor are they uncaring in reality.

It is best to say that they appear to be “self-confident” for they are “crushed” – sometimes beyond measure – when they have analyzed incorrectly and made a mistake.  They suffer greatly on this account because – unknown to those who do not know them well – they hold themselves to an even higher standard than they do others – which is nothing less than the standard of perfection and internalize failure in a deep and hidden way.  In fact, they are eternally vigilant, scanning their “inner horizon” for any portentous flaw in thinking which could lead them into error which, for them, is absolute disaster. 
 

It is assumed that INTJs have no regard for authority when, in fact, what INTJs have is a lack of respect for authority that is not “learned” in ways that will benefit the system – a lack of respect for authority that is not “in the know”, for INTJs respect knowledge above all and want only to deal with those who “know”.  Then, they are very capable students, co-operative co-workers and faithful disciples.  They know, almost as no other type knows, that a “weak” head means a weak system and work will be in vain.  Wasted time, effort and energy are terms for failure to INTJs and INTJs do not like to fail. 
 

Being impersonal in orientation, INTJs are not naturally aware of the socially acceptable aspects of cultures but are extraordinarily capable of learning if it is not simply a veneer or “faux” way of living.  They are anything but “surface” people.  They commit many charitable acts of kindness in very quiet and unassuming ways. 
 

Although much like INFJs in many ways – only more so, INTJs are “cut no slack” due to their impersonal approach to life while INFJs appear to be more loving and caring due to their refined personal skills par excellent.  INTJs are generally extremely private – many do not even care to be touched – and so do not naturally gravitate to the social mores which require small talk and meaningless witticisms.  Their bemused and quiet demeanor can be taken for arrogance and, indeed, INTJs are capable of brutal insights into others which can be unnerving to those who feel INTJs can “see through” them.  Superficiality is not tolerated by INTJs – unless there is no other way to “advance” themselves or their ideas – but, for the INTJ, this is not admirable. 
 

This can make personal relationships difficult, particularly romantic ones that require flirtation.  Coyness and indirectness are not strong points for INTJs, innocuous play is not at all meaningful and comes across as being stilted.

INTJs can be extravagantly romantic for they are creative planners and can design tastefully grandiose “getaways”,  unique gifts and thoughtful surprises as they are particularly insightful as to the makeup of the few they care deeply about.

They may be unnatural social participants but are capable of learning to be great lovers and intensely personal when they become aware that it is required by those they love. 

INTJs do not need to be the centre of attention and, though they may be extremely critical of others’ ideas, they, nonetheless, will work to bring about the dreams and schemes of those they care about once their (the INTJs) views have been made known.  Often the point is missed that INTJs often employ debate but are quick to recognize a higher truth, though they will debate until truth arises or someone “quits”.   Still, those who know them also know that they are capable of exquisite wittiness, are insightful and possess a quirky, personal sense of humor. 

 

INTJs are born executives and are totally dependable and dedicated to any project to which they commit themselves.  They are unstinting in perseverance, intolerant of weakness and demanding of any under their authority.  While being great taskmasters, they are nonetheless unstinting in seeing that due credit is given to those who deserve it and are not grasping for honours for themselves.  They only truly appreciate praise when it is really deserved or comes from those whom they admire and are in a position to truly know that the praise is really deserved for perfection is their standard. 
 

Because of their intellects and impersonal approach to most things,  INTJs may be feared by those who are not in close relationships with them but are greatly respected and admired even if they are not liked.  They are due more regard for their impersonal approach than they receive from their personal-oriented counterparts,  for their approach is just that – impersonal – but it is not disinterest nor is it disregard for others.