Staff sergeant, noooooo!

Staff sergeant, noooooo!

As you can see, death awaits us at every turn here.

(This poster is likely prompted by the recent death of a 10th Mountain Division soldier from rabies.)

Last Saturday there was a widespread power outage in our part of the camp. This didn’t bother me much, since Saturday is my day off, and the weather was pleasant, so we propped the bay doors open and I sat and read and enjoyed a nice Burger King lunch over on the other side of camp. Unfortunately, the power went out at the TOC too, basically cutting the head off our entire operation here.

Eight years into the Iraq war, in a pretty established place like the rear of the rear of Kuwait, one wouldn’t think that a combat brigade headquarters could get blacked out for hours at a time, but indeed it can. This of course prompted a flurry of activity, mostly led by the S6 team – “set up the JNN!” “get the backup generator running!” “throw up the tent!” Since the weather was nice – and it’s not like it was going to rain – I suggested that they just run an open-air TOC. Set up some folding chairs and tables, plop down in the parking lot, and there you have it!

Nobody much liked my idea.

Another outage was planned for Sunday, though it was affecting some other part of the camp; naturally, everyone’s skittish about the prospect of losing power again, so the preceding week was marked by a series of debates about how best to prepare. A few of us (myself included) defended the “do nothing” position pretty strongly, mainly because a) we have a viable backup plan (drive across post to another building and operate there until power comes back on) and b) it wasn’t going to affect us anyway (per the plan). But in the face of last week’s confusion, we had to be seen as doing something – something always being better than nothing, you see – so off we went, running extension cords and positioning generators and calculating amperages.

Ultimately, nothing happened, as predicted. This stuff almost writes itself!

It’s the latest example of our reactive decision-making, where when something bad happens, we have to fix it right now, even if waiting and coming up with a better plan (or indeed, doing nothing) would be more effective.