Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers' Day

When I joined the National Guard I was looking to fly helicopters.  I enlisted and became a helicopter mechanic (MOS 67N Huey Crew Chief), but after I enlisted and before I started ROTC the Army tightened the requirements for helicopter pilots so that they needed 20/20 vision to start flight school.  I needed glasses.

I quickly looked around for another military career path and decided on Signal.  I won't get into that decision now.  Dad was Signal Officer qualified, but he was also Infantry qualified, Chemical qualified, Medical Services qualified and MP qualified.  At the time of my decision I think he was with the MP Battalion.

I decided on Signal and started drilling with the Signal Battalion as a Cadet.  A few months after that I went to one AT (annual training, or summer camp) with them and was stuck in an officer position with almost no training whatsoever.  Needless to say, it was very stressful.

At the time my Dad had just come back to the Signal Battalion as the Executive Officer (XO).  One day when I was almost at my wit's end Dad happened to stop by.  He told me a funny story about the Battalion Commander.  It cheered me to think that the Old Man had troubles too, and it cheered me just to know that here was a guy I could disappoint and fail, but he would still love me.  That was enough.  He didn't actually cheer me up with a pep talk or anything like that.  He told me the story, told me he loved me and left.

Two years later I was a commissioned Second Lieutenant and a Platoon Leader in the Signal Battalion.  Dad was the commander and I was attending Signal Officer Basic Course in Fort Gordon, GA.  We were having a class on Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs) and discussing conflicts of interest.

For OERs you have a Rater, an Intermediate Rater and a Senior Rater.  The Rater is self-evident.  The Intermediate Rater just makes sure the paperwork is filled out correctly.  The Senior Rater is your commander's commander and is very important to your rating.

I asked the instructor, "What if your Senior Rater is your father?"

He never answered me.  He just slowly turned and said, "You're in the Guard, aren't you?"

Dad had it covered already.  He had the XO be my Senior Rater.  I know that could have been questionable, but she was a real hard@ss and those were some of my toughest evaluations.

Happy Fathers' Day.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, your pappa was a great Father, etc......
    Thanks for the story. Love you.... xoxoxox Auntie Char.