If you recognized the above title of today’s post, you’re in my age bracket. For the rest of you young’uns: the next time you’ve got two hours to spare, go to your local Blockbuster (oh, excuse me) DOWNLOAD the movie Stripes, starring Bill Murray. Then you’ll get it.
Anyway, I’m still at Camp Atterbury, preparing for my deployment. The Army isn’t used to having so many Air Force folks invading their space. We’re experiencing some growing pains as the two extreme cultures are learning to merge to form teams that will serve overseas together.
For example, the Army is hell-bent on reminding “us people” (they often refer to Airmen as “you people,”) that this is an ARMY base, and we must do things the Army way. In fact, it’s not uncommon for an enlisted soldier to just randomly stop an Airman and question him about some trivial matter, like the proper wear of a reflective safety belt, or the necessity of walking in a formation (instead of a “gaggle.”) Likewise, although we’re here to form a joint team, the Army insists that all prior training Airmen receive is somehow invalid, and they insist that we retake training we’ve already taken just so the class can be given by an Army Instructor (instead of an Air Force one.) I can’t knock all Soldiers of course … the ones on our team have come to terms with the fact that most Airmen don’t know what “fire for effect” means, or how to identify terrain features on a military map. They just keep smiling and offer to train us on anything we need to know. (Of course, we Airmen reciprocate by teaching them how to make a good latte and improve their golf swing.)
Most of the Airmen here don’t mind the hassle. Besides, we LOVE making fun of Soldiers’ antics. We know that as difficult as Soldiers can be sometimes, they know how to fight … and since we’re going to be dependent on each other while in the ‘stan, we need all the friends we can get. However, it does bother me that the Army can’t seem to get over the “my-branch-of-service-is-better-than-your-branch”-mentality …. the rest of the military branches in the Department of Defense already understand the meaning of joint effort. Camp Atterbury? Not so much
On a separate subject, yesterday marks the birth of Tristan Phy, born to a Senior Airman I’ve had the pleasure of working with back at McGuire AFB. One of the bad things about deploying is that you miss all of the cool stuff. Of course, I miss my own family (especially my little man, Taj.) But, I also miss being around my co-workers, who always keep pressing on no matter how much things occasionally sucked around us. I had hoped I would be in my office for the birth of Tristan, but the Air Force had different plans.
Tristan: Welcome to the world. It’s not exactly the best place to be right now, but your Mom is working on it. And, out of all of the places you could be, you got pretty lucky … you were born in the best place available. Likewise, out of all the parents giving birth to children, you were special enough to be born into a family with a hard-working mother and loving father that cares about making the place you live in the best place possible for you to enjoy this little diversion they call life. When you’re old enough to thank them, you should. You should also thank them for naming you “Tristan” … You don’t know how close you came to being named “Phee.”