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.”
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.
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.)