One of the perks of Army traveling is that you’re often provided with a GSA vehicle (a vehicle owned by the US government). This is typically a minivan or one of the large fifteen-passenger vans, but on this trip, we had a slightly different flavor. Our first vehicle was a 2006 Ford F-150 – quite posh for a GSA vehicle, really – but unfortunately, the units at Gowen Field had drill this weekend and so we only could keep the truck until Friday. We exchanged it for a Chevy Malibu of unknown vintage. This car looked suitable from the outside – it was white, and clean, and had four tires.
As soon as we opened the doors, though, it was obvious that our vehicular karma had been balanced. The interior reeked; the smell could only be described as “shitty old car.” You know the smell – everybody has at least one friend who can only afford junkers and their car always smells the same: some kind of putrid mix of congealed liquids, moldy upholstery, rancid food, old socks, and stale cigarettes. Upon further inspection we found the front tires to be almost completely bald, while the rear tires looked brand new. (Obviously tire rotations aren’t in the GSA maintenance schedule.) One of the wiper blades was peeling off, and the headlights were anemic at best.
I looked in vain for a DA Form 2404 in the car’s little data folder, but to no avail.
While driving around in the F-150 (unaware of the vehicular fate that would later befall me), I rummaged through the glove box and found a white envelope marked “Only to be opened in the event of an accident.” It was a sealed packet containing accident reporting forms. Imagine my surprise, then, when I flipped the envelope over and found this text staring me in the face.
For those of you who have a hard time seeing the text, this is what it says:
Claim, against the US. Government resulting from the operation of a Government vehicle should be directed to the director of the agency employing the driver, of the vehicle, not GSA Claim, against other, parties for damage to GSA vehicle, will be processed by GSA. Drivers are responsible for obtaining the correct insurance information for processing such claims against other responsible parties.
What…the…fuck? Did GSA subcontract their writing jobs to China? I’ve seen a lot of crappy writing in my time in the Army, but this piece takes the proverbial cake.
Oddly, the same envelope in our Malibu has text written in perfect English. Maybe the one in the F-150 is a forgery…