While I was in Bosnia I got to witness some truly awe inspiring disregard for appropriate conduct.
Now to preface, many of the rules and regulations the military inflicts on its soldiers are ridiculous. And a silly regulation should probably be mocked. But you should still follow it, especially if you are a leader. And if you are going to ignore it and just do what you want, you should at least have the courtesy to attempt to hide it from your soldiers.
So while I was deployed in Bosnia I got to work with Reservists for the first time. In fact, about half of the PSYOP forces in Sarajevo were deployed from the Reserves. My section lucked out, in that the most senior of the illustrators in country, a man who I will call Specialist Dart, had extensive training and experience with graphic design from his civilian job. So he taught me all about Photoshop, vector graphics, and Quark.
Unfortunately not all of the Reservists had similar amounts of applicable job experience. But most of them where willing to sit down and learn their way around the software and other job requirements.
But the video productions section had an NCO who I will call SGT Screecher. Now SGT Screecher was a very nice lady who had a few issues. The first is that she had absolutely no idea how any of the equipment in here section worked. She had transfered from some other area and received on the job training for her current assignment. Her on the job training more or less consisted of someone waving a pencil and shouting: “Abracadabra….you’re now qualified to lead video production!” And unfortunately for everyone, she didn’t want to learn. Basically, she had too much of an ego to allow a bunch of lower enlisted types to teach her how the equipment worked. So she just sat around her section being annoying until a higher ranking NCO kicked her out.
So she was now banished from being in the same office as the soldiers she was technically “leading”.
Which was no big deal to me, because I was in another section entirely.
Which leads nicely into my problem. My section leader was a man I will call SGT Horndog.
As you may guess from the name, SGT Horndog took one look at SGT Screecher and decided:
“I’m going to hit that so hard, whoever can pull me out again will be the next King of England!”
As nearly any soldier who has deployed can tell you, these “deployed romances” happen from time to time. And by “time to time”, I mean “near constantly”. In this particular case it was notable because weren’t particularly good at hiding it. But that special kind of “not hiding it” where they act like they are concealing their real actions with an almost ninja-like ability.
I named her SGT Screecher for a reason.
So besides keeping other soldiers up at odd hours, she would hang around my office making goo-goo eyes at Horndog and basically acting like an infatuated teenager. Seriously, she usually referred to him as “Honey” or by his first name while in uniform and on duty. (For purposes of this story I will say that his first name is Pookie.)
You know those people who are going through the nauseating “Yay I just started dating someone” phase? That was her. Except that she had rank and wasn’t above throwing it around if someone was mean to her “Honey”. I actually got chewed out once for trying to demonstrate a better way to make a layout to SGT Horndog. (Please note: I was an illustrator. This was my job.)
Aside from clogging up our space, and giving us a serious case of cooties induced diabetes, she also made an email account on every computer in our office.
Now this was in the mid-nineties before computers had multi-gig hard drives. We did graphic production and had itty-bitty drives to store it on. We had to use external storage media, such as Jazz and Zip disks, simply because we couldn’t fit all of the material we were working with onto our system at the same time.
So we had a special (read: crappy) computer just for email accounts, in the back.
Unfortunately for us, SGT Screecher didn’t like that computer. So she would just help herself to the workstations. She would even try to kick soldiers who were working off of the workstations so she could spend her afternoons sending emails to every person she ever knew.
And our NCOIC wouldn’t do a damn thing about it because he wanted to keep getting some.
One day SPC Dart (remember him?) had enough.
“SGT you can’t keep using these workstations for personal email. There’s no room for files we need already, plus we need the system to get the next magazine print set-up.”
She gave him a petulant pout, “Well Pookie would give me access to this system whenever I want!”
“SGT, would you like a quick rundown of all the things that SGT Horndog will give you whenever you want that I won’t? Because orgasms are pretty close to the top of that list.”
And with that she turned red, and ran away, never to bother us about email again. And my section lived happily ever after, except for SGT Horndog.