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Archive for July 9th, 2008

Staff Sergeant Figurine

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

One day, back when I was still enlisted, I returned from leave to discover a new NCO in our office. For purposes of this site, I will call him SSG Figurine.

The first thing I noticed is about him is that he sat apart from all of the other soldiers in the room, and just kind of watched us. Is was kind of disconcerting. Occasionally, he would jot something down in a notebook. But even when he was writing, his attention would remain on us as we went about our work.

It was like he was the Jane Goodall of PSYOP troopers. Which, when you consider,the mentality of the average soldier, is a surprisingly good analogy.

So after a few days of this, I started asking questions. What’s the deal with the new guy? Does he actually do anything? Why is he taking notes on us?

Nobody had any real idea. Officially, he was a new senior illustrator for the Product Development Detachment that I worked in. But no-one ever saw him go near a computer, or draw anything. Rumors where beginning to circulate that he was a CID plant. (For non-Army that’s Criminal Investigation. Internal affairs for the Army. Speculation began to spread about who he was investigating, and for what.

If anyone attempted to speak directly with SSG Figurine he would be polite, but would pretty evade or ignore any questions about his previous units, or anything related to our job. And no one was allowed anywhere near his notebook.

After about a week of this he took to wandering around the office. He’d look over your shoulder while you were working, and ask odd questions. Sometimes he’d take notes off of what you told him.

“What are you working on today Specialist?”

“I’m making a poster for the anti-mine campaign in Mozambique.”

“I see.” scribble “And why are you using that photograph?”

“Ummm…because it’s a picture of the kind of landmine that is being used over there.”

“I see” scribble scribble “So what do you think about SGT German?”

“What? The guy in Headquarters?”

“Yeah him.” scribble

“Ummm he’s okay I guess. Why are you writing this down?”

“No reason. Just mind your own business Specialist.” scribble scribble

So as you can imagine after about a month everybody was really skitish about him. Some people were downright terrified of him.

And right when everybody was at their most paranoid, there was some kind of meeting with all of the E-5’s on up, at company headquarters. And SSG Figurines strange conduct was brought up, along the idea that he was a CID plant.

“Oh, I’m not CID” he revealed. “I was just bored, and had a notebook.”