Monday, April 8, 2013

Month 8 Day 8

Notebook Entry
Nine Reports given. Morning, report writing. Weigh-in, weather, meeting cancelled, Hancock.

Journal Entry
I slept in till six yesterday as it is the only day that I don’t have watch starting at 0400. I got a chance to speak to Suzan briefly as she was heading to a girl’s night out, but I got a lovely picture of her, so it made it ok. I wrote reports for the rest of the morning.

I sent Maj Valquist one of the reports. I highlighted in yellow all of the times that I had to go to meetings/duty, it was about 40% of my usable time with my Afghans. I was hoping that he would make the sane decision and say “deuce” why don’t you cut back on this meeting or that meeting so you can go mentor your four sections. Instead, I happened to be in the room, and he got an E-mail from LtCol Paul Shinkman so he said ‘hey deuce, the S-1 [administration] is going to go the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] working group, so why don’t you go there too?’ It wasn’t really a question, it was an order. Aye, sir. I got another E-mail later that night confirming the order.

In the afternoon we lost 28 man-hours because of a required urinalysis and weigh in.

All this leads me to the question. Do people even think about the cost-benefit of meetings in terms of lost productivity. Capt Arthur, as he so often does, brought up the most poignant piece of info. He said, of course not, the reason why every section has an Alpha [assistants] is so that they can do the work, everyone else spends their days in an unending string of meetings. I’m glad the RCT [Regimental Combat Team] is taking a greater interest in ANA [Afghan National Army] training, but these guys only really work from about 0930-1100 and 1400-1600. I can’t be in two places at once. Do you want me to have a meeting about why things aren’t progressing, or do you actually want me to progress them. The function of ANSF is to deal with the reporting requirements and meetings, pulling the teachers (us) into every meeting is counterproductive.

No one bothers to think about these things though.

On the bright side, Maj Valquist took off last night, so Capt Brawny, being the senior man, did what has not been done in almost 8 months. He cancelled the evening meeting. Good call. We went to the good chow hall and had our Friday night surf-and turf. We talked about how we all still think this is hopeless. Capt Brawny said “you can’t dwell on it, or it takes you to a bad place” Capt Arthur said “yah, its hopeless but you’ve got to act like it will actually work, you still draw a paycheck, after all. That is what I hate about the Gunny, he said it was hopeless in month two and just gave up.”

I tried to watch Hancock, but was interrupted by NCIS [Naval Criminal Ivestigative Services] and one other phone call. Can’t a brother get a little peace?

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