Hope everyone has a great weekend. My camp out was pretty good. I am extremely proud of the young guys from my shop. They had never experienced a bare base setup/camp out, but they all kicked butt. It's been about 8 or so years for me too, and I gotta tell ya that "old sarge" is quite tired, sore and looking forward to sleeping in my clean warm dry bed tonight.
So this was the first time in four years my unit has done any type of war training like this, I must say that it went pretty well. No one got hurt, and except for one generator breaking down, all equipment came back in good repair.
Basically we hauled 15 tents, all sorts of heavy equipment, water sources and porta potties out to an empty field. We set up the tents, inserted cots and sleeping bags, hung lighting and (my guys) hooked up ECU's (AC units). We then spent last night attending basic war skills classes and just getting accustomed to living in tents with others (people who snore, fart, talk in their sleep, etc).
When it was time to set the AC units, I had all my guys stand around a unit and I ran them through safe and proper setup procedures. As I was talking and demonstrating, I noticed our commander and the major were standing in the wings watching what I was doing. It's known that I don't care for either of them. My commander is a product of the "new" Air Force. He is Mr. political correctness and doesn't ever come out to see his troops on the job site. The major is just plain "out there". He did a hitch in Baghdad as a convoy commander. He got shot at and did some shooting of his own. He is stuck on that and thinks that he needs to push his aggressive beliefs on us.
So anyway, they watched me do my training. I didn't care for them making an issue out of me doing my job. My career coming to an end, and I'm not looking for their approval. They should have taken that time to openly praise my guys. These guys are the future of the AF and they are the generation that seems to need praise when they standout.
So to make matters worse, every one is sitting around eating last night and some Colonel that runs the base came out to our camp to "visit the troops". So He's walking around with his flunkie beside him, and our commander and major are escorting them around. They are doing the typical meet and greet with the troops. They come by me and my guys and I figure if I don't look up from my food, they will walk on by. Oh no... The Chief and pats me on the back and say "Hi Paul"... Now I have to look up.... My guys all look at me with shit eating grins. They know what's next. The Chief asks the Colonel if he's ever met me (I have to stand up). In his best fake smile and pleasant voice he says......."yes, I believe so".
I've never seen the man in my life... I muster my best fake smile and extend my hand. The Chief explains that I went above and beyond as an NCO because I took the time to perform an extensive training class on using these field AC units. The colonel smiles and all his cronies congratulate me. I'm trying to look appreciative and before I can throw a kudos for my young guys, the colonel is whisked away.
Our young HVAC guys really kicked ass on this training mission. I'm proud of them and I'm proud of my fellow "old sarges". There are quite a few of us who haven't "played the game" in quite a while. Except for sore backs from sleeping on cots and sun burns, we kicked ass too.