Monday, September 28, 2015

The Inspection

My first job as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army was serving as the S2 for a mechanized artillery battalion. This battalion's primary mission was to be able to fire tactical nukes from track mounted 155mm Howitzers.

When I had my first meeting with the Lt. Col commander and he explained all this to me, I asked, "If the effective range of a 155mm Howitzer is about 9 miles, wouldn't you be committing suicide if you ever actually fired one of those nukes?" He said, "That was something we try not to think about."

Because this was a nuclear capable outfit, the battalion had quarterly inspections from the Dept of Defense. The colonel explained that his battalion had never passed one of these inspections in the year and a half that he had been the commander. He said, "We have so much turnover that we can never keep the training records up to date and the training records are the main thing they check." He also pointed out that as battalion S2, the training records were my responsibility.

The next DOD inspection was scheduled in less than 3 weeks so I got my guys together to come up with a plan.

The night before the inspection, we spread the personnel records for the whole battalion along the hall in the headquarters. We then went through each one and forged any training records that were missing. By 3am we had the entire battalion in training compliance.

The next day the battalion passed the DOD inspection with flying colors and I was IN with the colonel.

The whole episode raised a couple of interesting questions. If this was such an important inspection, why was it so easy to pass by forging training records? Also, why was I the first person to figure this out?

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