Sgt. Hook writes today about demonstrating courage with one of his peers with the 25th Infantry Division in Afghanistan, where they are presently deployed:
When I arrived at the hangar I found 1SG Richard supervising the moving of a mobile containerized office commonly called a SPAM. He saw me coming.
“Hey Hook, how’s it going?” he said walking towards me. 1SG Richard stands about a foot and a half taller than me, which adds to his ego as he’s always looking down to talk.
Stopping just a few inches from him, I turned and leaned against a workbench, he followed suit. Looking straight ahead I spoke first. “What the hell is going on down here Dick?” I asked using his first name for the first time.
“I had your guys move their stuff out of the way Hook, we got word that the engineers are going to pour some concrete here,” he feebly replied.
“Let me get something straight with you Dick, if you ever tell my Soldiers to do something without my prior knowledge I will take you out,” I said as calmly as I could.
Cutting him off with a raised hand but still not looking at him, “understand this Dick, my Soldiers are here to fly and maintain these aircraft and they’ve done a damned good job of it for the past six weeks and I will not allow somebody else to interrupt that mission, engineer project or not.”
“There is a right way to do things and a wrong way Dick. Make a note; we do things the right way around here Dick. I don’t give a rat’s ass about an engineering project that does not include my unit’s input or address our needs. There are combat units around this country that are depending on these aircraft and I’ll be gottdamned if you or anyone else is going to screw that up!”
Finally looking at him I asked, “understood?”
He immediately apologized and started kissing my ass, but I didn’t want to hear it. I wanted the line in the sand drawn and I think he saw that.
I turned to walk away and said over my shoulder, “I’ll see you later Dick.” A group of my Soldiers watched in amazement as I left the hangar and walked back up the hill.
The Army’s Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer states that my two greatest responsibilities are the accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers. My mission is the welfare of my Soldiers and I think I accomplished it that day. We haven’t had anything but the utmost of cooperation out of Dick since.
I will be sending his story to my team at the real job when I return from vacation tonight – it’s a great example of challenging and “self-policing” amongst a peer group.
As Sgt. Hook says, this we’ll defend.