When I was in the National Guard, I was in a ROC unit. ROC means Rear Operations Center, and it was the rear command post for the XVIII Airborne Corps. What that means is that while the regular army guys ran the battle in the main command post, our job was to make sure that all of the supplies and replacements got up to the battle. Our secondary mission was to take over the battle if the main command post was taken out.
Every year we had to take part in a War Fighter exercise. War Fighters are exercises that help to train officers and senior sergeants how to run the headquarters. Most captains have to take a staff position to get their ticket punched and prove that they are worthy for promotion to major. Sergeants have to move to staff positions since most units don’t need a lot of master sergeants or sergeant majors.
The common thread here is that this is where they got trained for the staff jobs they had to do instead of leading soldiers in combat.
By 2000 the War Fighter exercises were old hat to us guard guys as we had been doing them for almost ten years. Unlike the regular army, our units had little turn over and the same gang had done these exercises for so long that we could do them very well and, upon completion of the exercise, would make the joke, “The exercise is over, now it’s medals for everyone.” We would get our Achievement and Commendation medals, plus certificates suitable for framing. My major would scarf up his Meritorious Service Medal oak leaf for subsequent award.
One night – I was always on night shift, heh – I received a message on the Outlook email account for our G-2 (Intel) section. It was titled the “Top Ten Reasons You Are a Jedi Redneck.” The last five were already filled in. I was bored.
I don’t know if this had ever been done before or if there was a list somewhere, but I thought about it for a few minutes. I quickly filled in the top five reasons, number one was “You sleep with Princess Leia because she IS your sister,” and clicked on “Reply to All.”
On the first day of the exercise I had had a five second course on using Outlook and did not realize that I had received a “global” email, that someone had sent it out to everyone in the address book. I was later told that it was almost everyone in the entire army, but I don’t know if that’s true or just added for drama.
I was so intent on filling out the top five reasons I was oblivious to the uproar going on around me. The brass were upset that someone had sent this out as a global email. And I had just replied to “All.”
I got some very funny and interesting replies, mostly from colonels and a few generals. Over all, they thought it was funny and most of them said that they were going to print it out and post in their office, etc.
In the morning, before I was relieved from my shift, I got to meet with my major. Privately. I am not allowed to “Reply to All” on any email ever again. Ever.