Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Losing my temper

One summer at Fort Hood, battalion headquarters scheduled aerial recon of the next week’s training area for platoon leaders and platoon sergeants.

As sometimes happens, though, the platoon leaders were not at the same location as was the recon Huey. The helicopter landed just outside the company assembly area. Somebody (a never-known somebody) put out the word that soldiers who so desired could take a nice little flight on the Huey. Our company commander said the Huey would take platoon sergeants on recon flight – no platoon leaders, since the lieutenants had gone to the air strip at North Fort Hood, where the Huey was supposed to be. Or maybe somebody got it all wrong and the lieutenants were misdirected.

The three platoon sergeants and TOW section sergeant went to the Huey. Three soldiers were on board the helicopter, waiting for the nice little flight. I told the three that the mission had changed and that the Huey was now scheduled for recon. The three soldiers got out of the Huey and walked a short distance away. One of the soldiers began declaiming in a loud voice concerning the unfairness of it all, how sergeants had ruined his day. His language was much more direct, with a specific adjective spoken before the word “sergeant” and the same word and others of similar profanity spoken many times.

I walked to the three soldiers and said to the one who had spoken that he was mistaken in his declamation and that his use of certain words and phrases showed his lack of military courtesy and self-discipline. I then suggested that he and the other two soldiers return forthwith to the company area. At no time did I speak any words even in the neighborhood of his profane remarks.

The three soldiers left. I walked back to the Huey.

My good friend Platoon Sergeant Richard Porter said, “Bob, I’ve seen you mad and I’ve seen you real mad, but I’ve never seen you that mad before.”

I said that the soldier needed talking to.

Richard said, “Well, yeah, he did. But … He’s a pretty good-size ol’ boy.”

I said, “I knew that if he hit me, you would whip his ***.”

Richard kind of laughed and said, “Well, yeah, I would. But … Bob, he’s a pretty good-size ol’ boy.”

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