Man bites dog…

| March 19, 2012

The first thing you learn in a formal journalism education, is that successful news stories are the odd and the example used is always the “man bites dog” type of story. Well, here’s one of those from the Duffel Blog sent to us by StrikeFO;

Second Lieutenant Doesn’t Get Lost

“I seriously couldn’t believe it during the first few klicks [Ed note: kilometers],” said machine-gunner SPC James Owens, “and then I realized that this wasn’t your average butter bar. He must have actually paid attention during his land nav training.”

For this historic feat — in which he was the first new platoon leader to ever successfully navigate a platoon on the first try — Bailey was awarded an Army Commendation Medal.

“It feels really good to be recognized,” said [Second Lieutenant Michael Bailey], “and there were times when I wasn’t sure whether I was looking at a contour line, a road, or a river, but that’s when adrenaline and my training really kicked in.”

Yeah, “training kicked in” like in Kindergarten when he learned his colors; contour lines being brown, roads are black and rivers are blue. See how tough that is?

The hardest part of being a platoon sergeant is keeping the new El-Tee oriented. I took it particularly serious teaching land nav to cadets so no platoon sergeant got saddled with a map-illiterate louie because of my neglect. I can definitely relate to the platoon sergeant’s comments in the article, though. Go read the whole thing.

But, 2LT Bailey receiving an ARCOM for not getting lost in a five kilometer movement might be a bit extreme, though. It took me 13 years to get my first ARCOM and I never got lost.

By the way, LT, things can only get worse from here.

ADDED: OK, you got me, it’s satire and I fell for it. But shit that’s funny always rings a little true.

Category: Military issues

Comments (20)

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  1. Old Trooper says:

    Officers get AAMs and ARCOMS for being able to hit the urinal when they pee, so I’m not shocked that a butter bar got one for not getting lost.

  2. Sustainer says:

    An ARCOM? What? NO Soldier’s Medal or Silver Star was available?

  3. Sgt K says:

    That blog is akin to “The Sports Pickle” and “The Onion.” It’s satire for F@ck’s sake.

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s got to be a joke (but it was funny).

  5. Anonymous says:

    Haha, I chuckled at this story.

  6. cacti35 says:

    Geez, my ARCOM award only took 12 months of humping a ruck in Vietnam.

  7. TSO says:

    An actual quote from me to my LT once, that almost resulted in him hitting me, and he would have been justified:

    Sir, when those blue lines meet the black lines there is generally a structure there that we call a “bridge.” How about we stop crossing these blue fucking highways and try using one of those “bridges.” I’ve got mud up to my ass and am starting to get a little pissy. Sir.

  8. Bah Bodenkurk says:

    Cacti35, same here, but instead of the jungle it was the Afghan Kush.

  9. StrikeFO says:

    I totally wasn’t trying to get Jonn with this article… but it’s ok..there are many others who think it’s real as well.

  10. Just Plain Jason says:

    I wonder if he had Joes out shaking trees to see them shake on the map, so he could figure out were they were on his map.

  11. Elric says:

    As a trainer of deploying units I’m surprised that he actually had a map and compass. More often than not units have neither.

    But you are so right about officer awards. When I left my first duty assignment as an LT I had four ARCOMs for essentially not screwing my platoon up, Between that and Desert Storm I showed up at my next unit looking like Patton junior. Frankly it was embarrassing. Haven’t got one in the succeeding 20+ years so maybe I peaked early.

  12. Faith+1 says:

    There were days when I missed being a butter bar. Man, with those gold bars on your shoulder you got away with so much crap just due to the “Forgive him, he’s just a dumbass 2Lt.” Expectations were so low you had a chance.

    By the time you got the silver bars (single or pairs) you were supposed to be intelligent enough to breath without being reminded or at least fake it so you got no slack despite you not being any brighter.

    I survived out of sheer luck by being assigned to a shop with one E-8 and 4 E-7s (HQ staff weenie additional duty). They rolled their eyes when I walked in. I told them I wanted to see everything they did because I wanted to learn and was too stupid to tell my arse from a hole in the ground. They spent the first day teaching me to make coffee. 6 months later I was actually clueful.

    There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t get some kind of grief from them. Nothing blatant. they always respected the uniform and rank and I would hear them talk amongst themselves about how much of a babe in the woods I was.

    I knew it was good when an E-6 from another shop made a comment about me (they didn’t know I could hear) and they ripped him a new one. I was a dumbass Lt, but by God I was their dumbass Lt.

  13. Just Plain Jason says:

    Faith +1 that almost makes me want to cry…

  14. malclave says:

    OK, you got me, it’s satire and I fell for it.

    Look at the bright side… this post will be a great addition to your resume if you ever apply to a traditional media outlet.

  15. Oh God…if I had a dollar for everytime I had a 2ndLT get lost or screw up a soup sandwich…I’d be rich.

  16. Bubblehead Ray says:

    I never understood the Army’s obsession with Land Nav to begin with. It’s very easy, Get on the Boat, Ride the Boat, Get off the Boat.

  17. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Yeah, that’s “Not Land” Nav, Ray.

  18. Jacobite says:

    F**king hilarious!!