Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Old men

We had our unit movement test yesterday - like most things here, it was talked up to be extremely difficult, and was a piece of cake. Not only was it open note, but the multiple choice questions were organized by section so I didn't even have to flip through my 300+ pages of slides but could just turn to the appropriate heading in the book. This is the only test that we have to pass though because in addition to being a transportation officer at the end of this course, I will be qualified as a Unit Movement Officer due to this test. I've noticed that this place doesn't really seem to be geared towards learning as much as passing the test. It depends on the instructor as well, but for the most part, the emphasis is on the upcoming examination so it tends to take away from the actual instruction.

The full-bird keeps dropping by our classroom - I'm not sure if it's because we have a reputation as a class (today, a new instructor told us, "I heard this class was screwed up, but I think you did a great job"), or because he has absolutely nothing to do. I'm honestly not that impressed with him but as a few of the other prior service LTs have pointed out, that's why he's at a school rather than an operational unit. I guess I get it - we're at war, let's have the good personnel leading the troops but wouldn't you also want good soldiers/officers etc. training the leadership of tomorrow? In fact, that is one of the reasons this place is so inefficient. When the 1SG came to talk to us way back, he told us that 18 months ago he lost his TAC officers so the NCOs had to take their place; all the able-bodied transpo personnel are needed down range so he finally asked for anyone that could read and write to fill the slots. Today, one LT accurately described T-School as the recovery place for all the hurt and wounded NCOs.

Today, we had a hands-on application of some of the class room training we had last week: we had to load up rail cars, and practice tying vehicles down with chains. The rail class instructor was one of the more long-winded guys we've had so far so I wasn't excited about spending the day with him, but I survived. There was another instructor that helped him out, and served as the safety officer. He retired in 1982, so I guess that explains his behavior but I don't exactly think that it excuses it: one of the LTs gave a safety brief at the beginning, and afterwards, whenever he referred to her brief, he said, "remember what that little girl said?" He also used the term "little lady" at one point. It's bad enough to refer to grown women as girls, but it's common within society, so I would have let him slide on that. Add in the word little, and it's just patronizing and sexist. Other than that, he didn't seem like a bad guy - an ass but also a bit amusing. The "little girl" was actually flattered because she's 29 and she's always excited when people think she's younger than she is. As a result, I kept my mouth closed but if he calls me little girl when we have him again, I'm definitely saying something. Other people were saying he's from a different generation but still, it's not like he hasn't been around for the past twenty, thirty years. And he even knew that he was doing it, because he was about to correct himself once, and then just said, "screw it, the little girl." I need to figure out the best way to be diplomatic but honest here so I don't feel like I'm always biting my tongue.

In unrelated news, we actually did PT yesterday! We went for a three mile run as a platoon so it was a nice, relaxed pace - plus, people were still complaining about being sore from Lucky Dip. Of course, being TBOLC, we couldn't do PT two days in a row, so the 1SG called zonk this morning at formation (although, that might have also been due to the unexpected cold today) so we all disappeared from sight and drove back to the hotel.

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