Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Team building is one hell of an experience. Being on the high school football team is one thing, preparing to go to war with a group of guys are two completely different monsters. Knowing that the receiver, running back and tight end are going to run the play correctly and knowing that your buddy is going to stand his ground and put rounds down range when the time comes is like comparing a Ford Focus and a Lamborghini.

Our team has been coming together quite well in terms of camaraderie but we still are having issues with maturity and the decision making process. I see the guys growing up but it is difficult to know what is going on inside their heads and why it is taking so much time to realize that there is no reset button to the game that is about to commence.

A few of us have begun to babysit the guys that need it. I hate doing it but sometimes it is the only way. The issue in these types of environments is the ego. The ego either wants to stand its ground or it submits to the will and some of the guys do not have the will power to understand that their ego is detrimental to what we are here to accomplish.

Let visit about the term babysitting for a minute. I hate being on the business end of a babysitter and I hate being the babysitter. For example, our unit policy is that everyone moves around Camp McGregor in pairs. I get it, I understand it, but I do not like. I hate waiting on someone when I am ready to head to chow and why do I need someone holding my hand when I need to run to the PX to pick up a Gatorade? I understand the concept and how it keeps soldiers safe in a combat zone but it is driving me insane. I hate it so much I have stocked up a stash of foil packed tuna and chicken to munch on when I don’t feel like waiting on someone to head to chow.

Now when I have to stand over someone and ask them to clean their sleeping area several times I know they hate is just as much as I hate taking a buddy with me everywhere I go. However, a man can only be told to fix a problem so many times before he is either micro managed or fired, and in the Army, being fired is not an option.

The downside to having to babysitting these guys is that they will never grow up and if they are left to their own devices they will never change. The process is one vicious never ending cycle. If they have not gotten their heads in the game by now, it is not going to happen until the first bullet flies by their heads.

The issue then becomes one of trust. Can I trust this guy to maintain his sector of fire and not shoot at friendly forces (that means me)? Can I trust him to do what is necessary to keep himself and everyone else safe?

OK so you may be asking yourself, how does keeping a sleeping area cleans equates to trust ? I mentioned in a previous blog entry that a soldier is judged by his peers based on his level of professionalism and the decisions he makes. That concept holds true in the civilian world as well, just think of the coworker you dislike because of his questionable behavior either because he hates his job or he is stabbing everyone in the back in order to climb the corporate ladder. Would you trust him to lend a hand and help meet a deadline? The concept is the same but live rounds are a big part of the equation in our line of work and, the last time I checked, live rounds do a lot more than tickle when they come in contact with the human body.

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