Friday, November 28, 2003

Attack of the Evil Executive Officer II: When Seasons Change 
Here’s what was on my plate over the last two days.

As I mentioned, I spent Thanksgiving with a detachment on the other side of town. I don’t get to see those guys very often, and I wanted to show the flag and let them know I hadn’t forgotten about them. I think I got a chance to get in a chat with everyone.

The chaplain asked me to play a musical interlude during his Thanksgiving services. I didn't know any Puritan songs, so I picked “Simple Gifts” and played it on an Irish tin whistle.

The weather turned very cool and rainy a few days ago. I received about 30 fleece jackets to spread out among over a hundred soldiers. The battalion executive officer says we expect to receive the rest of the order in March.

I thought he was joking, but he was serious as a heart attack. March.

Meanwhile I’ve got a bunch of Floridians and Puerto Ricans freezing their butts off up on rooftops and bridges. So we decided to issue the fleece jackets to the guys manning the observation posts and pulling guard all night long on the bridges over the Euphrates river. But we still didn’t have enough fleece jackets, so one of my missions while I was over there was to take some fleece jackets away from the NCOs so we could give them to the privates and specialists.

Further, anytime you have a change of seasons, leaders should take a hard look at maintenance. The summers in Iraq are extremely hot and dry. We went months without seeing a drop of rain. I actually don’t even remember seeing a cloud between June and August. Humidity was almost nonexistent. But occasionally you’d have a hellacious sandstorm, and vehicles were always kicking up dust.

The result is that while you want to clear the carbon out of your weapons, you don’t use a lot of oil. The weapon isn’t going to rust in the dry air, and the oil just makes the sand and grime stick to the weapon.

But now that it’s humid and raining, the moisture is getting into everything. So I wanted to take a look at all our crew-served weapons and talk to the crews about maintenance procedures. As the unit executive officer, or XO, I am paid to be the maintenance Nazi in residence, anyway.

Sure enough, several weapons had started to rust pretty badly. The summertime weapons maintenance procedures were simply not appropriate for the rainy season. So the First Sergeant and I educated the appropriate soldiers and made the appropriate adjustments.

Things should be good now.

Splash, out,


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