12 February, 2007

Once Helluva Month

This last month has been absolutely crazy! I didn't really believe it myself when I looked, but it's true. In the last 34 days I've enlisted 6 new people into the National Guard! How crazy is that? Very crazy indeed.

It's crazy how much work enlisting 6 people in a month's time is - it seemed like time just flew by.

You want to know what all that hard work got me? A lot really. It got me back at missing for the month of January. It finished my mission for February (We go off a calendar month, not that crazy USAREC "month") in only 9 days. And best of all - it got me bronchitis!

Man! Am I a lucky guy or what?!

Since my last post there have been some things to change when it comes to drill. Back in December my NCOIC told me that I would be at least a Squad Leader in a platoon of the Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP). I thought "this is interesting - they usually don't like us to become part of a drilling unit" so I asked what brought this on. Turned out it was being command directed because they believed that it would make the RSP more successful as well as provide great leadership opportunities for the recruiters. Sounded like a win-win so I was all for it. January drill was fast approaching when I was told by my NCOIC that I would not be a Squad Leader - I was now going to be a Platoon Sergeant for the white phase soldiers! This should be fun..... an E-5 thrown into this position. I knew I'd make it work though.

January drill came up and I apparently did a good job - my NCOIC and the Commander and 1SG for the supporting unit had nothing but good things to say about my performance. In the end they told me I would be the PLT SGT for white phase for the remainder of the training year. Sounded great to me - I love training troops and I appreciated the opportunity. Little did I know things would soon change again.

As January was coming to an end I received another phone call from my NCOIC telling me that February would be the last month I would be the white phase PLT SGT. I was very surprised by this and asked why. It seemed that many recruiters who were behind mission were blaming RSP on their mission failure so the command took away the scapegoat because it "was not beneficial to either RSP or the recruiters." That sucked so I decided to do something about it. I worked my way up the chain to fight to stay with RSP. Eventually I won the battle just before February drill.

While I was working my ass off to enlist 6 people I also had a lot of prep work to do before drill. I suffered a nasty cold the week before drill, so I suffered through 3 days of Career Direction at one of my high schools, taught 3 other classes at 3 other of my high schools, went to MEPS with 2 new recruits all while being sick as a dog. Then after getting back from MEPS real late Friday night, staying up till 0230 working on stuff for drill I had to be at the Armory at 0630 to start drill. What at start!

Drill was AWESOME. Lots of good training for the soldiers and lots of fun. I finished Saturday exhausted but happy and went to spend some time with the family (my parents live in the town we travel to drill for). I enjoyed my time with my family and went to bed early, excited to get the next day started.

When I woke up Sunday morning I felt a little funny but didn't think anything of it. I started coughing and hawked up a bunch of flem but when I spit it into the sink I saw it was filled with bright red blood! Exciting. I didn't have time to dilly dally so I continued getting ready while coughing up blood so I could get to drill on time. I got to the armory and figured I'd see if the state surgeon would be in this weekend (he lives in the area), at which he wasn't. The medic asked me why but I really didn't want to talk to him about it - but he kept pressing on. Eventually I said "I've been coughing up bloody mucus all morning, it's no big deal, don't worry about it." The medic told me I should go to the hospital and I told him I would after drill - I've got to much to do for drill. If I was gone there would be no NCO to train my soldiers so I could not miss. He insisted that I go to the hospital and I said something to the order of "Look private, I'm a big boy and I'll go after drill when I get back to my home unit. I've got too much shit going on to leave drill." I figured it would be over with that, but apparently not.

The little bastard had to brief the commander on medical issues, which includes how many people had come to see the medics and why. As I was the only one who had seen the medics he told them that I was coughing up blood. When asked what was done he told them he told me to go to the hospital - at which I "refused" because I had to much going on at drill to leave. Apparently the commander thought coughing up blood was a bad thing.

Next thing I know, another recruiter is taking my platoon for me and I'm on the way to the hospital. I didn't exactly have a choice in the matter. The doctor told me I have bronchitis, gave me my prescription, told me to take a couple of days off, and sent me on the way.

When I got to drill I was told to go home - which would be great if I didn't have to drive all my enlistees back home an hour and a half away. So stay at drill I did - which was great even though I felt like walking death by the end of the day.

The funniest thing that happened at drill? I asked my plt to figure out a plt name. There were many different suggestions, some appropriate, some not, some funny, some not, and some just plain weird. The winning name? The Jump Suit Jockeys!

You're probably wondering why we'd choose such a weird name, but anybody who has seen the "RSP Uniform" would understand.

Seems some months back, somebody at the National Guard Bureau had this great idea to create a special uniform for the RSP soldiers - you know, to give RSP that "espri de corps" feeling. I'm sure that somebody worked long and hard to design such an impressive uniform. Needless to say I have my reservations about this - these kids joined the Army National Guard, not the RSP - give them a set of ACUs for Pete's sake! As we were issuing the uniforms out nobody really knew what to call them. Some people started to call them the RSP PT uniform. That didn't work since they weren't just for PT. Some people started to call them the RSP Track Suit. That still didn't work since the soldiers are doing more than just running in them. At one point the 1SG heard me call it the "RSP Jump Suit" and he picked up the phrase - after that point it stuck. Everybody hates them, seems like a waste of money to most of us when the kids should have been issued ACUs.
Anyway, when we were trying to figure out the PLT name somebody suggested "The Jump Suit Jockeys" and we all loved it. You should have heard the supporting unit laugh when I stood in front of the PLT and screamed "Jump Suit Jockeys.... Attention!"


Anonymous said...

Keep it up, looks like the year is looking up. Working the RSP's is a great way to help the Recruiting effort. I did it for years, I guess I never had anyone tell me that I couldn't. I just chose to take on that additional task. We called them REPs. I would even have them come in the evenings sometimes for extra training. All volunteer of course, I am sure that due to liability, nothing like that could happen this day and age. I had a buddie that was a USMC DI that I come in and work them over on a few ocassions for a couple hours. He was awesome and as hard as it was, my REPs would come back for more, and bring their friends. (I would stand in the wings and have a great chuckle over the goings on) Heaven for bid anyone would try something like that now, you wouldn't have any shippers. We are talking 20 plus years ago. I rarely lost anyone from BCT after my buddie DI had shown them the ropes. Again, congrates on the enlistments, we need those boy and girls to defend this great Country.

"Ole Sarge"

yankeemom said...

That's so great! I love the pic of them in the Impressive Uniform!
Now up your intake of Vit.C!!! ;o)