Tag Archives: Army Officer

Calling it: Another One of Those Days

Whenever I have a bad day at work, I’ll tell Mrs. Horseshoe to remember days like this when the time comes for us to decide whether we should stay in the Army or leave. We’ve had more days to remember lately than I can remember in a long time.

Recently, as a result of the government shutdown and the budget issues the federal government has had, my work life has been chaos. On a Thursday afternoon I was told that an upcoming Temporary Duty (TDY) trip was cancelled. Definitely cancelled, not going to happen. So I came home and gave my wife the good news, I wouldn’t be gone for two weeks after all. We made plans for the weekend and invited some friends over for dinner on Sunday. On Friday afternoon, as I’m walking out the door, I get another call that says the TDY is scheduled again and I have to leave on Sunday. So, I get whopping 36 hours of advanced notice I’m to leave for a week. I spent my drive home trying to figure out how to apologize to her for my career. My wife and I have been fighting all weekend, and I’m sure this ihas something to do with it.

I don’t mean to complain; life could be much worse. My best friend is in Afghanistan away from his infant child. Two weeks isn’t so bad. This job is tough as it is, but if the federal government can’t get its act together and the Army can’t do the little things right, than its an organization I don’t think I can spend another decade and a half with.

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The Horseshoe Formation

Ah, I can almost feel the freedom of a four-day weekend beckoning to me. The end of the duty day is here, the floors are mopped and still wet, the police call has come to an end, and the First Sergeants and the Command Sergeant Major seem to be pleased that their little empire is presentable enough to be evacuated by its citizenry.  Of course, anyone who has spent at least a month in the Army knows there is one more task yet to be completed; the safety brief.

The safety brief, the final chance for leaders to espouse last minute advice, wisdom, threats and orders to Soldiers before they venture off into a perilous world.  Well, it really isn’t that dangerous, and come to think of it, it’s the exact same world they were in before but with ninety six hours of freedom from adult supervision. Historically, four day weekend are disastrous ventures for the Army. If one believes the safety briefs, it is entirely probable, likely even, you will die. Moreover, you will die on a motorcycle, intoxicated and committing adultery while assaulting your spouse. The only thin red line that holds these Final Destination type deaths from us is the safety brief.

Contrary to the movies, it’s damned near impossible to address a large group of people standing in a rectangle. Command Sergeants Major believe that no matter how big the formation, the secret powers of a Sergeants Major Academy Ring will allow their voice to overcome the laws of physics and project their voice even into the farthest reaches of the Milky Way.  The Romans figured out how sound waves travel a couple thousand years ago and in turn built the circular amphitheater. Army Officers learned this same lesson and invented the horseshoe formation.

“On the Command of Fall Out, fall out and form a horseshoe formation around me”.  That’s how it begins. The commander, depending on his personal style and aptitude, either gives a recollection of the events that have been accomplished recently, a philosophical treatise on safety, and a reminder that we deserve to have some fun, but to have it safely.  The horseshoe formation is a chance for a commander to impart wisdom and guidance to his masses, whether they want to hear it or not.

That’s why I have decided to name my blog the Horseshoe Formation. I don’t really know what it will become, or where it will go. However, the main point of it is for me to put my thoughts out there, maybe put a smile on your face, and perhaps even impart a shred of wisdom.  Welcome, and thank you for visiting.

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