Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Journal Excerpt: The Right Amount of Authority

The above photo represents the rank insignia that I wore in my final year in the Navy (E-5 or Petty Officer Second Class). E-5 was the best rank to be in the Navy because you were considered too senior to get stuck doing "working parties" and too junior to be given the responsibility of delegating work to the lower ranks. For a guy like me who neither likes to tell others what to do nor have people tell me what to do, it was perfect. :)

During Basic Training, the Company Commanders picked recruits in which to give certain responsibilities over the rest of the company. The recruits that were given "ranks" got to wear the appropriate "rank pin" on the left collar of the uniform shirt. I remember wanting to wear one, but not one of the higher ranks. I was satisfied to get the lowest ranked one (Petty Officer Third Class, which has just one chevron below the "crow") . From today's excerpt of my Tales of Terror From Boot Camp Hell (Journal Volume XXII), you'll see that I finally got my wish, when I was given a job responsibility that was perfect for a big letter writing like me!

APRIL 19, 1991 4-2 Day Friday

I started the day with watch duty. At 0330, I assumed the watch, having been awakened by the previous watch. I actually prefer the early morning watch because there is less chance of some CC or other khaki uniformed person to pay a visit, requiring me to yell "ATTENTION ON DECK!"

Every 30 minutes, I have to walk around the barracks and check all the electrical outlets by swinging my hand in front of them to make sure its okay. Everyone is fast asleep and all is quiet.

If anyone enteres the compartment, I have to look at their ID card and record their names in the log book.

Albu took over the watch in the morning, after 0700 and I was relieved that I didn't have the watch when a female CC walked in. Albu accidentally addressed her as "sir" and she yelled back: "I have TITS, recruit!"

"Yes, ma'am," Albu replied. I felt bad for him but I was relieved I didn't have the watch then because I could have just as easily made the same mistake.

In the morning was our 2nd competition Military Drill evaluation. We marched to "Anchors Aweigh" which I never get tired of. When we finished, we thought we did pretty well until the CCs gave our score of 3600-something out of 4000 points. 250 points were for alignment hits alone. The CCs were a little disappointed, but they said: "Its over. Forget about it."

Fortunately, we weren't cycled for it.

Lunch was great! I had Pizza (the first time it was offered to us since we've been here) and spaghetti, salad, garlic bread, angel food cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, and Coca-Cola. A rare treat but I enjoyed it.

Our company got a streetmark pulled for stomping our feet on the flanks. That surprised everyone but it only goes to show that we are constantly under the watch of anyone who wears the shoulder cords of a Company Commander -- not just ours.

After lunch, we were put in push up position just for fun while waiting to do bunks. CPO Matthews taunted the company by telling us that he was going to "get bombed tonight and get some pussy."

We were supposed to show some visiting children about life at Basic Training but they didn't come today because of the weather.

Much to the relief of our company, hothead Felicilda was bagged out of our company into C100 which was on 2-2 Day all for buying a Pepsi last night! What an expensive Pepsi. It cost him 2 weeks. I hope it was worth it for him, but he won't be missed.

Recruits Frank and Duby have birthdays today. Frank was evaluated by a psychiatrist today and was permitted to stay, which surprised our company. Everyone was confident that he would be bagged out of the Navy, so it was disappointing to see that the psychiatrist disagreed.

We finished our evening details early and had an hour of free time to do whatever we wanted.

The great news of the day is that I was appointed the second mail petty officer. We only had one mail p.o. for the past week and now I'm the assistant and get to wear the coveted PO3 metal pin on my collar. I was happy, because this position of responsibility is easy and important. I will be the bearer of morale to my shipmates. SR Frank wanted to be the mail P.O. but the CC told him that he needs to concentrate on getting his folds down and other basic skills that are necessary to graduate from this place. Naturally, he was disappointed and I was happy to be the one selected for this position.

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