12 July 2010

The Shambling Mound of Paperwork

More Annual Training notes from June 2010 ...

That "brain trust" of clear-headed thinkers who are regularly tasked with writing the elegant, intricate, no-detail-left-unturned instructions for the more than 3,000 soldiers and airmen of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (2-34 B.C.T.)? I hate to tell you this, but it's less like "rocket science" and more like "making sausage."

Welcome to the "Future Ops," folks, also known as "Plans." Watch your step, mind the ducts, and pay no attention to the men behind the curtain.

The Plans officers and NCOs get a little slap-happy sometimes. Sleep-deprivation and self-imposed isolation in their own "cooler" of a tent will do that. So will all the fumes from the midnight oil and those candles burning at both ends.

One night (or was it day? Working in well-lit windowless tents is like living in a casino) the guys figured out that the Plans team is authorized a Ghillie suit, a raggedy type of specialized camouflage more likely to be used by snipers or scouts. Wear a "Ghillie" or "Yowie" suit, and you look like part of the countryside, all leafy and earthy and stuff. It's like a Swamp Thing costume, if you're a fan of old comic books.

Needless to say, in the wee small hours of the afternoon (or was it beforenoon?), the Plans staff began work on the design for a Shambling Mound of Paperwork, a vaguely office-worker-shaped version of the mythological creatures I remember from my game-playing adolescence.

The proposed Staff Ghillie ("Staff Yowie"?) would be constructed of white vinyl, covered with coffee-stained spreadsheets and half-baked memoranda, and sprinkled with fragments of burned and useable CD-ROMs, sticky notes, and witty barbs. In addition to the basic load of darts routinely used for making complex decisions, soldiers wearing the suit would be issued a standard semi-automatic stapler for self-defense. And eye protection. And a reflective safety vest.

Can't show you pictures of it, of course, because it would just look like any other messy office. So I have substituted here a photo illustrating one of the other grave dangers faced daily by Plans staff.

To paraphrase pioneer, patriot, politician and honorary Planner (hey, remember the Alamo?) Davy Crockett:

"Sometimes you eat the Plans worm. Sometimes the Plans worm eats you."

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I finally read your blog; I've enjoyed your writing since Tabla Raza days. Perhaps your band of warrior-office staff should take a cue from this group:



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.