As a Staff Officer during a deployment, it’s easy to find oneself chained to a desk, and bored. Such was the case during a recent deployment to Afghanistan. After working in close quarters with my boss, Matt, I began to pick up his sophomoric sense of humor. As a matter of fact, I embraced it. Matt had known for awhile that he was going to be leaving our unit and moving up to work at our higher headquarters. He was qualified for the newer job and we really weren’t too busy doing what we were doing. This meant that I would take over for Matt and a replacement take over my position.
About two weeks out from when Matt was to leave, he received a message from an eager young Lieutenant named Dan. Dan was just finishing his Officer Basic Course and was naturally excited to deploy to the fight and become a member of the team. Naturally, we were just as excited to have someone new to play pranks on. Dan’s email read something like this:
My name is Lieutenant Dan and I found out that I will be coming to work with you in theater. I am very excited and I was looking for some advice as to what I should be doing to prepare for the deployment…
All things considered, not a bad first introduction, right? Matt’s response was as follows:
I am moving to our higher headquarters, CPT Horseshoe will be taking over for me. He is a good guy, but he is extremely religious, so be sure to watch your language around him. (Let’s just say I’ve had a few Inspector General Inspections because of it).
Good luck to you,
Matt “bcc’d” me on this email and I waited. LT Dan emailed me shortly thereafter.
CPT Matt has informed me that he is moving so I will be working for you. I look forward to it. I just finished my officer basic course and I have in-processed at our home station, so I should be deploying to you in a few weeks. Is there anything I should do in the meantime to prepare for deploying?
Because Matt trained me, I had to follow on with the joke. Not to mention, it was pretty funny.
It is truly a blessing to have you joining our team. Don’t worry too much about getting ready for the deployment, just enjoy your time at home and take care of any last second personal business. Just to let you know, our religious services on our FOB are a bit lacking, but we do the best we can. We don’t have church services on Sundays, but Fridays because of schedule. I know it isn’t the Sabbath, but we make due. Once again, we’ll be praying for your safe arrival.
I later found out LT Dan was slightly concerned about his future boss, but he was okay with it since I seemed like a nice guy. One of my new Soldiers that met LT Dan back at home station also told me that Dan went to a small, religious college and had a Christian radio station license plate holder on his car. Shit. I’m going to get fired for pretending to be religious with a guy who actually is.
A few weeks later, LT Dan arrived in my office. He was going to be assigned to a subordinate unit and would only be on the FOB for the next day. During our conversation, I did the right thing with my prank. I pretended it never happened. Using my profanity laced Army vocabulary to describe our situation, Dan became even more puzzled. We parted ways.
Later, after the deployment ended, LT Dan and I were working in the same office; we compared notes on my supposed evangelism and had a good laugh about it. In the end, the prank was a success. We had confused a Lieutenant.