Monday, September 28, 2015

Guard Duty

Stateside Army bases maintain the tradition of nightly guard duty even though there's nothing really to guard against. When I was at Ft. Riley Kansas, junior officers were assigned duty as Officer of the Guard on a brigade level rotation. I was about as junior as they come and it wasn't long before it was my turn to serve as Officer of the Guard.

The whole thing was something of a sham. Part of the process was to conduct an inspection of the soldiers who were assigned to guard duty. I was pretty relaxed about the whole thing, but one of the prospective soldiers fell below even MY low standards. He was sloppy, his rifle was dirty, and he had an attitude.

I went into the brigade headquarters to report that I was kicking this soldier off of guard duty. It would be the responsibility of his battalion to replace him. The Lt. Col commander of the soldier's battalion happened to be in the brigade headquarters at the time. He said, "You can't kick this soldier off of guard duty or he'll get an automatic Article 15 (the army equivalent of a misdemeanor)."

I said, "Sir, that's your rule, not mine." I turned to the Sargent of the Guard who had recently returned from Vietnam and said, "Sargent, will you please read the colonel this soldier's deficiencies?"

The sargent said, "Yes sir!", snapped to attention, took out his notes, and briskly read off the list of violations.

I turned to the colonel and said, "Sir, if you wish to take over for me as Officer of the Guard, you're welcome to have anyone in your guard duty that you wish, but as long as I'm Officer of the Guard, this soldier will not be in mine!" The colonel immediately backed down and mumbled that he would have the soldier replaced.

The story of the young 2nd Lieutenant who stood up to the Lt. Colonel quickly spread around the post and I became quite well-known.

1 comment:

  1. Another win in Dave's war against the stupidity of the US Army.