Staff Duty Blues
By Left of the Boom
We have all felt it. If you spent any time on active duty your name got put on that DA 6 the 1SG lovingly maintained and when the fickle finger found you, well you know the drill.
The holiday season was always the worst. There was nothing like getting told the first Monday in Dec that you were screwed and had duty on Christmas Day or New Years or any other holiday when you knew that booze and sadness or rampant stupidity would be flowing.
Officers, NCOs, and enlisted we all caught it one time or the other. Single soldiers made money if they were willing to take that dreaded duty for someone who felt that 50 bucks was worth the price. Rates depended, favors might be called in, but sometimes you were just stuck and had to deal with it.
You prayed for a quiet shift. 24 hours of solitude to read—this was way before smart phones and computers—or a card game with the driver. Officers mostly were on call and they did not get the next day off unless it was already a day off but the NCO and the driver or runner were usually there for that long 24 hours and you started praying when the sun went down.
You weren’t praying for salvation. You were praying that the drunks in the tank down town would forget their unit; the MP’s would not know the unit number, or miracle of miracles, and no one hit the blotter at all. Yea right.
The phone rang promptly at 2215, just really the start of the night. SPC Whatshisname was at the MP Station. He needed a bed, was confined to the billets with a temporary restraining order placed against him by his wife and the Provost. You go pick him up and find that he has a bandage around his head and the MP’s are snickering.
Back story, he blew the Christmas money on a new pistol and got his wife some cheap crap. She got mad and when he was walking away, she picked up a big ass brass lamp and brained him with it. 12 stitches later his is in a cot in the day room waiting the Commander on the next duty day. Joy.
Or you hear the fateful sound of revelry and screaming and go upstairs. What do you find? One of the new guys got drunk and was being initiated. He was taped inside his sleeping bag and they were dragging him up and down the hall and up and down the stairs. The medic said he would not die, so you let it go.
Those are tame. There are also the stories where the wife came home and found her soldier in bed with someone else. Shots fired that time. Who was it, her sister who was in for the holidays? Talk about all in the family.
Or the time that you had to go pick up a fellow NCO who called for support before he got caught, normally that was a good thing. But when you pull into the parking lot of just about the worst dive in town and there is your fellow squad leader dressed like a hooker complete with high heels and fishnet stockings, well there are some limits, and you know damn well it was not a costume party, not that bar. You take him back to safety but your relationship just changed forever. Today that might be acceptable. Back then not so much. It depends on your unit too.
So what do you got? Keep it safe for work because we all know there are much, much worse out there. What happened to you on duty?